What is Stress

Stress is a demand placed on our mind and body resulting in an adaptation mechanism response. Think a fire alarm going off in the building, your body tenses, blood rushes to your legs to run out of the building, your heart races and breathing accelerates. The demand can come from a physical, chemical or emotional event, either real or perceived.

Stress, especially chronic / repeated bouts of stress, pull the body out of its natural balance resulting in weaknesses within the systems of the body. Think immune system getting run down, muscular system not keeping up with a demand and you pull or strain a muscle(s).

Today we are a world under chronic stress, from physical stress to chemical stress (processed food, medications, environmental exposures), electromagnetic fields (from cell phones, cell towers, computers etc.) and of course the most impactful is mental / emotional stress. Which currently is at an all-time high from our fast paced, got to get it done, high strung, post pandemic world.

A stress response is the neurophysiological reaction to the event(s), such as a rise in inflammation, tensing of muscles, rapid heart rate etc.  The 4 main types of stressors our body reacts to are mental/emotional, physical, chemical and electromagnetic. Events can have multiple components, such as an automobile accident, which would include emotional, physical and possibly chemical components to it. Stress responses also compound over time creating a layering effect.

The Oxford Dictionary states – Stress is a state of affairs involving demand on physical or mental energy. A condition or circumstance (not always adverse) which can disturb the normal physiological and psychological functioning of an individual.

In a 2009 Johns Hopkins Study P.J. Fitzgerald stated Stress (and the stress hormones) are directly linked to cancer, glaucoma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal disorders, weight gain and obesity, anxiety, weakened immune system, autoimmune conditions, poor sleep, poor memory and learning difficulties, and depression.

In 2009 Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize recipient for her work on anti-aging, discovered that Telomeres were an indicator for aging. Her studies revealed the #1 cause of Telomeres shrinking accelerating the aging process is to have the sympathetic nervous system tone elevated / over-aroused. In other words, if you are exposed to chronic stress, causing a frequent or constant fight or flight response, you will age more rapidly.

While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives there are things that you can do which will allow your body to adapt to it better and process it appropriately.


Chiropractic care and stress

2011, in a landmark study by Ogura et al revealed Chiropractic adjustments created Cerebral metabolic changes and decreased sympathetic tone.

Post Chiropractic adjustment PET scans revealed a decreased stress response, decreased muscle tone, decreased salivary amylase (a marker for sympathetic tone). The conclusion was all the neurophysiological responses were related and initiated by the Chiropractic adjustment.

March 2011 Journal of Osteopathic Association: clearly revealed adjustments increase immunity, decrease the risk of infection, increase circulation, cardiac output and lymphatic flow. All these processes occur with DECREASING Sympathetic tone!

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the most widely used health marker today. In a 2015 article from the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology stated the better the HRV the less there was Cancer.

2005 the Zang study concluded whenever the spine is adjusted it results in a change in the parasympathetic / sympathetic balance and improved HRV.

Did you know that chronic stress turns off the effectiveness of your immune system?

There are multiple studies that reference this fact from Wiley – Liss in 1999, Natures Review of Immunology in 2006 and Pharmacological Reviews 2000 by Elenkov.

According to Stanford University Medical School in research released in 1998 by Dr. Bruce Lipton, a highly renowned and respected cell biologist and author, stress is the cause of at least 95% of all illness and disease. Dr. Lipton reports that the remaining 5 percent is genetic and was caused, you guessed it, by stress somewhere in the ancestry of that person.

Dr. Lipton also stated a cell can defend itself or grow….it cannot do both at the same time. The same goes for the body…if it is in defense (fight or flight) NO healing can occur!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), says on their website that 90 percent of all illness and disease is related to stress.

Just about any authoritative source you can name agrees – Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, The Mayo Clinic, and the list goes on.

Harvard Medical School states on their website. “Too much stress for too long creates what is known as ‘chronic stress’ which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and may also influence cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

There are now ways of measuring how your body handles stress.

If you would like to see how stress is affecting your health, find out more, improve you or loved ones health outcomes by improving the ability of adapting to stress better.

I am here to help you feel better, move better, function better and live more enjoyable lives.

If you like this blog post, please click “like” and “share” it with friends!


Thank You

Dr. Steven Komsky


Comments are closed.