Stress, Anxiety & PTSD


Do you struggle with stress?
Do you know someone who suffers with PTSD or anxiety?


We’ve talked before about how people who are considered sensitive or have ‘sensory processing sensitivity’ show increased reaction within the brain when exposed to certain stimulus.

Research shows that those who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder demonstrate increased activity within their brain when exposed to a trigger.  Increased brain activity was also found in those who are considered sensitive when exposed to a stimulus.  While the area’s that show increased activity are different between being sensitive and suffering from PTSD the brain and body’s reaction is remarkably similar.


Stress & Your Nervous System

People who are more reactive to stress, or more affected by stress tend to be chronically stressed and their body perceives even simple stress as more threatening than the average person might.
Stress response is a healthy and natural occurrence.  Your body is designed to recognize life threatening or dangerous situations and respond immediately to protect you from harm.  When a threat is perceived your physiology responds to either help you fight or run away.  This means that your heart rate will increase, your blood pressure will increase, your breathing will become more rapid, and you will have increased brain function and concentration.  Your body will send blood and oxygen to your muscles, heart, lungs and brain-the organs that you need to fight or run to the best of your ability.  
When the brain perceives stress, especially extreme stress it will produce cortisol as well as epinephrine (adreniline) and nor-epinephrine.  These hormones and neurotransmitters are consistently found in higher quantity than normal within those who suffer with PTSD or other stress disorders.

In the short term this stress response is absolutely healthy.  What happens though if you continue to have a stress response day in and day out?  It can become a huge problem…you might see high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, indigestion, increased anxiety or even in more extreme cases, disorders such as PTSD.
So, how can you change the degree to which your physiology responds to stress or stressful triggers?

You have to change how the brain perceives things and the neurology surrounding your hyper-sensitivity and hyper-reaction.
In the book ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg he talks about the neurology of forming habits.  Basically, each time you have a certain reaction or thought, there is a neural impulse sent or a pathway in your brain that gets created.  The more often you react this way the stronger this neural pathway becomes.
When you create a new habit the old pathway doesn’t disappear, however, it will light up less and less until the new neural pathway that you’re creating will be the first to react and be the stronger impulse. 
Your brain controls everything in your body via your nervous system.  When you change the neural pathways in your brain, you automatically change your entire body because every organ, tissue and cell is controlled by your nervous system.
Chiropractic has been shown to be effective in helping reduce the symptoms of those who suffer with PTSD or other stress or anxiety disorders because of its effect on your nervous system.  
There are 2 parts of your autonomic nervous system: your sympathetic nervous system (your stress response) and your parasympathetic nervous system.
During the Chiropractic Adjustment your parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated.  This means that your brain begins to tell your body that it’s time to relax, sleep, digest food and rest.  Your blood pressure may lower, you will usually start to breathe deeper and you begin to de-stress. 
By 'distracting' your brain from your normal and unhealthy chronic stress response, or shifting the ‘matrix’ of this response, your brain can begin to create new pathways and you can become less reactive and more adaptive to your environment (inside and outside of yourself). 
The adjustment acts as a sort of reset button for your nervous system, bringing more calm and allowing your brain the chance to create new habits and new pathways which in turn changes the physiological response of your body, and allows you to express more health.  Research has shown that children under care experience less anxiety, are less prone to depression and report an overall higher quality of life.
You might ask; what results can I expect from Chiropractic Care?  The answer is, I don’t know.  Each person gets slightly different results from Chiropractic Care, and it will depend on you and your body.  
What I do know is that under care you and your child will be healthier!  When your spine is aligned and your nervous system is functioning properly you have greater potential to create health!  I invite you to come and discover how Chiropractic may be able to help you and your family be healthy.  
I’d love to hear from you!  Please email me your questions, requests or share your story.  You can also follow Gentle Hands Healing Centre on Facebook or share this message with your friends and family!
Until next time,
ps — While you might not be a parent, if you suffer from stress and its effects, let’s have a conversation.  And if you know someone with a sensitive child, please share this message with them!