Supporting Our Inborn Resilience
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or experiencing frequent illness and chronic fatigue, it doesn’t necessarily mean your body is doing something wrong. There’s a chance it’s your body’s intelligent adaptive sympathetic response.
Commonly known as the “fight-or-flight response”, this response occurs when your brain responds with an entire symphony of physiological changes to help you survive a stressful situation. It is the body’s mechanism for adapting to anxiety using the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which shunts blood from our organs and pushes it to our extremities.
Our bodies weren’t designed to stay in fight-or-flight mode for more than a few hours or days, at most. But today, we are constantly being bombarded with physical, chemical and emotional stress.
The brain doesn’t know the difference between social anxiety at school and work, a grizzly bear attack, that fight you had with your siblings, the fact that you ate too much sugar, sat still in a chair all day, or had too much screen time. It’s no wonder there are increasing trends in chronic illness.
Although avoiding negative stressors ideal, it is sadly unrealistic. We need to be able to balance the teeter-totter between the two systems so our sympathetic response is quicker to return to a more parasympathetic rhythm of rest-and-digest.
That is what helps create our resilience. A chronically elevated fight-or-flight response is probably the most common challenge we see in our patients and community. Luckily, it’s also a fairly simple one to change.
Our bodies are made up of an amazingly integrated system that relies on movement for a healthy brain and nervous system. The spine itself has around a hundred joints. While moving, these joints activate special receptors known as proprioceptors.
These receptors send signals to the brain and can help create a downshift of fight-or-flight back toward a rest-and-digest baseline.
We know movement can decrease depression, help kids perform better on tests, and is why you feel better after a walk versus sitting at your desk all day.
Joints that lack adequate motion not only starve the brain of normal proprioceptive input, but they also amplify the stress response by sending alarm signals to the brain saying, “Help, something is wrong!”
Without fluid motion, the brain is vulnerable to a continuous stress loop. The best way to interrupt this loop is to maintain frequent, fluid motion in the body, especially in the spine.
Chiropractic care is a gift designed to help detect and remove any “stuck spots” (subluxations) that may be stressing your system. A chiropractor can identify where your spine and body are stuck and then deliver a series of specific gentle adjustments to enhance motion regardless of age. Adjustments are safe even for babies, as the force is less than the pressure used for checking the ripeness of a tomato.
It is easy to think our bodies are failing us, when they are actually trying to protect us the best way they can. Sometimes, they just need a little help.
Imagine what our world could be like if we all carved out just a little time to unwind and soften old tension patterns, received more outside help from chiropractors and other body workers, and moved our bodies more to turn down the stress response and feed our brains with healthy signals.
It is time to start utilizing your inborn resilience! Get moving and make sure you get a spinal wellness check from your local chiropractor.
3-510 Canatara Crt., Kingston | 14 York Rd., Shannonville
613.507.5007 (Kingston) 613.966.5855 (Shannonville)