I know every commercial you have seen on television has given you a different message, but physiological adaptions to stress in our environment is normal and healthy. No one would put you in the hospital because you were making more red blood cells to adapt to life after you moved to Denver, the mile high city. You needed more hemoglobin to transport less oxygen available. If your body couldn’t adapt to that, you would be in trouble. Our disease care system looks at our ability to adapt as a disease process. Chiropractors utilize our power to adapt to stress to enhance our health. Adapting to stress is not pathological, having so much of it is. It is the stressful environment that causes disease. Our response to stress, getting high blood pressure, high levels of fat in our blood stream, high levels of sugar, is actually an intelligent response to the stress. By interfering with these processes with drugs, we stop our body’s ability to cope with the stress, but worse, we never correct what is causing the problem.
How does chiropractic affect our hostile biochemistry? The way to improve homeostasis/health is to decrease the chronic stress response by either getting rid of all the things on Earth that can create stress, (not likely) or increase our ability to adapt to stress. Drugs do not improve our ability to adapt to stress, they merely cover up the warning bells and then we wonder why we suddenly drop dead. It was anything but sudden.
Chiropractic directly affects the central nervous system and particularly the sympathetic nervous system, which is where the stress response is initiated. Your organs are controlled by this part of the nervous system and coincidentally, these nerves are what chiropractors adjust. When we are under stress our heart rate and blood pressure increase because of signals from the sympathetic nervous system. It is like the gas pedal. Your other functions such as digestion and immune response are not vital to getting you out of danger so they decrease. Judging by sales of Prilosec for indigestion and flu vaccinations, it seems safe to say that people get problems that they don’t associate from stress weakening their nervous system. You don’t need good digestion and a good immune system when running away from a saber tooth tiger, so you could say this response to stress is very intelligent. Your body knows what it needs to do, but then that commercial comes on begging you to buy some drug that will interfere with vital functioning organs and make you very sick. How do I know this? Because at the end of the ad they speak at 180 miles per hour about how bad this drug is for you. How it can cause a problem in every system in your body, not just your digestive system or immune system. It can impact vision, hearing, smell, balance, skin, etc.
The stress gland aka the adrenal gland does not even have an intermediary connection to the sympathetic nervous system like all other organs in the body. They have a direct connection because it is important to produce the stress hormones quickly. Known in medicine as, Catecholamines, they increase cardiac output and constrict blood vessels to increase blood pressure so your leg muscles can get you running away from whatever it is stressing you out. The same hormones inhibit learning, memory, and the ability to focus. You don’t need to do those things while running for your life. On the other hand, most of the time we are not running for our life, we are just biochemically reacting like we are. No surprise why they have drugs on T.V. for adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Additionally, this same response changes the part of our nervous system that transmits pain signals. The stress hormone makes the pain nerves more sensitive. Do people buy lots of Aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Excedrin?
Worse, all these stress chemicals are known to shrink a certain part of the brain that is connected to these adaptive responses called the hippocampus. You would think that some crazy chiropractor such as myself would tell you that his treatment is known to actually increase that portion of the brain via stimulation of gravity receptor type nerves found in the spinal joints that then relay signals to the cerebellum and end up stimulating that portion of the brain. It turns out, that is actually true. Better yet, stimulation of those nerves in your spine ends up increasing the function of the entire nervous system with beneficial results to all the end organs. So there is scientific basis for all those stories about some blind people seeing again and some deaf people hearing again after going to a chiropractor. More typically and less exciting, the chiropractor usually has stories of less significance such as people able to digest their food again and that usually results in them pooping again. People’s blood pressure often comes down, their ability to concentrate improves, things like that happen all the time in a chiropractor’s office. Sadly, our government and insurance companies want to limit chiropractic treatment for a pain that localizes in your low back.
Sure we are good at that, but since we have a health care crisis for decades, spend trillions on it and get sicker, I’m telling you, there is a different way, a better way, and it is called Chiropractic.