How Stress Weakens the Immune System

There are several forms of stress. In the chiropractic world we call them the three Ts. You’ve got traumas, which can manifest as a big trauma like getting in a car accident or it can be a microtrauma like being pinned to your desk 50 hours a week. You’ve got traumas that come through thought such as deadlines, weddings, and family grievances. Then you have toxins which can come from diets that are high in inflammatory foods or medications, things of that nature.

When you are in a stressed state, whether it is from poor posture, poor dietary habits, or poor lifestyle decisions, it puts you in the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is essentially our flight and fight response. So, for trauma situations like being rear ended on the freeway, while we’re consistently in the flight or fight nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, it increases our cortisol levels.

When we’ve got increased cortisol levels, it affects the body’s ability to process hormones, particularly insulin sugar. So, if cortisol is blocking insulin, then that raises our blood sugar and it’s what I call a hamster wheel, just that consistent negative effect. If you are consistently stressed out from poor posture or poor dietary habits, it increases our cortisol which puts us in the sympathetic nervous system, it doesn’t allow us to absorb our blood sugar as well, then that increases blood sugar, and then that creates inflammation. It puts us in that negative pattern. We call stress the silent killer, absolutely the underlying cause of sickness and disease.

By having a nervous system less stressed, it is going to allow us to enter that parasympathetic nervous system, which is where we sleep, enter rapid eye movement, and the body cleans the cells of inflammation. It is how we rest and digest. If we are in that parasympathetic nervous system, we are going to clean out the inflammation, and we are going to handle and work with a less stressed nervous system. That is going to allow us to feel good, function good, and fight sickness and disease including all these colds and flus that we get this wintertime.

Chiropractic care can take stress off the nervous system. There is a lot of research out there, including specific studies done in and around the immune system, inflammation, and how it affects how we feel and function. They all essentially state that chiropractic care can take stress out of the nervous system, which relays into better immune system function.

Regular chiropractic adjustments are key to us feeling and functioning as well as we can optimally. If the spine spine’s moving, it stimulates the brain and 80% of stimulation in the brain is going to relay back into the nervous system. You want to supplement chiropractic adjustments with good habits such as good spinal mobility, and good postural education or posture work throughout the day. Make sure to engage all those key posture muscles in the core and the front of the neck between our shoulder blades. Because if we’re in poor posture, we’re chronically stressed. Being chronically stressed has a negative effect on our ability to function at a high level.

Practice good lifestyle habits such as eating a good balanced diet that is low in inflammatory foods, high in antioxidants, protein, carbohydrates, lots of dark green, leafy vegetables, and dark fruits that help the antioxidants deal with inflammation in the body. And getting regular exercise is a great way for us to continue to feel and function good and give the immune system a boost.

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