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Lower Your Stress

Take a Mini-Break! 

As you're reading this... how long have you been sitting in that chair? Has it been an hour? Two hours? Even longer?!!!

How long do you tend to work at the same task without taking a break?

If you're like most people these days, the answer is probably "way too long!"

We all have the same predicament - so much to do and so little time to accomplish it. That may not be the true reality of the situation, but more likely than not that's the way it feels to us. And so we catapult ourselves forward, forcing ourselves to keep going, and forgetting to "stop and smell the roses".

But stopping to "smell the roses" is of vital importance for our health and well-being.

So take a relaxation break, for just five minutes every hour.  It can make all the difference in the world

Most people would agree that we live in unusually stressful times. Between the job (if you're lucky enough to have one), the home, the kids, the extended family, and the economy - all these stresses accumulate, and yet we wonder why we have so many aches and pains.

Many chronic ailments are either caused by or made worse with stress.  A large percentage of Americans are overweight. Stress often causes a person to overeat1, and additionally, the elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can also increase the storage of body fat (especially in the belly area.)  Back pain and headaches are often the result of increased stress. There are also strong correlations between stress and hypertension, ulcers, and even cancer.

For most of us, the external stressors in our lives aren't going to disappear - our lives will continue to be busy and complex, and perhaps we wouldn't want it any other way.  But if we can't remove all the stress from our lives, it is imperative that we endeavor to at least minimize its physical effects. Interestingly, chiropractic treatment can be very helpful in lessening the negative effects of stress on the body.

Generally speaking, stress creates muscle tension. This happens unconsciously without us even being aware of the cause and effect reaction. These tense muscles cause a cascade of further muscle tightening,  and the shortening of ligaments and muscles, resulting in decreased mobility in various joints - particularly the hip joints, shoulder joints, and the joints of the spine.2,3

This mechanical effect of stress has a number of additional consequences. All of this ongoing muscle activity that you're not even consciously aware of wastes precious nutritional resources, using up much of the energy your body needs for more critical functions. This is one of the primary reasons tension and stress makes us feel so utterly exhausted. Stress and tension also causes lactic acid to accumulate in the tissues, irritating nerve endings and further increasing muscle tension. Also, the reduction in spinal joint mobility also causes increased levels of pain.  Unfortunately, all of this ends up creating even more stress.

Fortunately, this vicious cycle of stress, muscular tension, and pain can be reduced and relieved with the proper chiropractic treatment.4 Chiropractic treatment improves the joint mobility of the spine, pelvis and other joints. Chiropractic care is an effective yet gentle treatment that gradually restores normal spinal motion, alleviating muscle tension, normalizing metabolic processes, and allowing nutrients to become more available to help maintain healthy functioning. Chiropractic care helps to reduce pain, and also helps us to be better able to withstand the physical effects of stress.

Your Millar chiropractor will explain the many benefits of treatment, and can provide instruction in specific exercises and stretching techniques that can help you maintain the positive results of treatment.

We will always have some level of stress in our lives.  The good news is that we can learn how to minimize the negative effects of stress on our bodies, and become healthier, more resilient, and happier in the process.

Reduce Stress by Taking a Mini-Break!

  • Get up from your chair or workbench and walk over to an open window. Breathe in some nice, fresh air for a few minutes while you change your viewpoint.
  • Go for a five or ten minute walk outside if you're able.  If not, walk around your home or building, or climb a few flights of stairs if that's an option.
  • Call a friend who tends to be positive and uplifting, and enjoy a short chat.
  • Close your eyes, quiet your mind, and take an "imagination vacation".  Visualize yourself relaxing on a beautiful beach, fishing on an idyllic lake, or anything else that helps you feel most relaxed and at peace.  Really get into it, involving all of your senses as you imagine yourself in the middle of this restful and revitalizing scene.

These short, focused mini-breaks will help reduce muscle tension and physical stress, while at the same time helping your brain to recharge so you can be more creative and productive!

1Marchesini G, et al: Psychiatric distress and health-related quality of life in obesity. Diabetes Nutr Metab 16(3):145-154, 2003
2Weickgenant AL, et al: Coping activities in chronic low back pain: relationship with depression. Pain 53(1):95-103, 1993
3Burns JW: Arousal of negative emotions and symptom-specific reactivity in chronic low back pain patients. Emotion 6(2):309-319, 2006
4Hurwitz EL, et al. A randomized trial of chiropractic and medical care for patients with low back pain. Spine 31(6):611-621, 2006