Contributed by Dr. Todd Wendell of Ruby Mountain Chiropractic
When we explain that physical, chemical and emotional stress is the underlying cause of spinal problems, many wonder how emotions can cause spinal misalignments. Yet, our language reveals some common connections.
“I just can’t stand it.”
“He’s a real pain in the neck.”
“She’s cramping my style.”
“My feet are killing me.”
Our emotions are linked to the meaning we give to situations or circumstances. For example, for some of us, just the sight of a snake produces fear or aversion. But for others, the same snake is a beautiful reptile to be picked up and held—two very different emotional responses to the same thing!
The Fight or Flight Response
The relationship is complex, but simply put, when we become stressed, our body releases a “fight or flight” hormone called cortisol, influencing muscle tension throughout the body.
When muscles supporting the spine tighten, they can misalign spinal bones, affecting the spinal cord and adjacent nerve roots exiting the spine. After all, bones don’t move unless acted on by muscles, and muscles don’t contract unless commanded by the nervous system.
Our emotional health affects our immune system, increasing our susceptibility to colds and infections during or following emotionally difficult times. And while regular chiropractic care won’t eliminate stress, it may help you to better accommodate it.