Stress affects everyone at one point or another in their lives. At any one time, millions of people are dealing with stressful situations. Common causes of stress include finances and issues to do with family or work. Some sources of stress have no external causes and might be caused entirely by an individual’s poor mental health; for example, they may suffer from an anxiety disorder. The ways that a person’s stress affects their life differs from individual to individual. For some people, stress becomes so much a part of their daily lives that they never seek treatment for it; they live their lives unaware that stress is a treatable condition. Whatever the source of your stress, one thing is clear: it affects your physical health in the short and long term. The worse the stress is, the greater its negative effects on your health are likely to be. Among the negative health effects that stress can cause are diminished immune function, poor digestive health and rapid heartbeat also known as heart palpitations.
Treatments for Stress
Different kinds of psychotherapy including talk therapy can be effective for treating your stress. Prescription medications may also be useful in some cases, including instances of extreme anxiety; however, these methods may not always be effective for managing the physical manifestations of stress. What is clear is that the stress cannot be left untreated. Massage therapy and chiropractic care can help to deal with the body’s response to stress. Classic physical symptoms of stress include:
- Mood swings
- General aches
- Tense muscles
- Diarrhea and other digestive issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
The list above enumerates some of the many health problems that can result from stress. Untreated stress over too long a time will grow worse until it becomes a chronic problem. As a result of being left untreated, the symptoms above tend to grow worse over time like many other kinds of health problems. They might also contribute to more serious problems; for example, increased blood pressure will raise your risk of potentially fatal health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
When stress becomes chronic, your body’s response to it can affect your immune system by making it less effective. The effects of chronic stress can cause problems with your reproductive system so that it stops working. Long-term stress can even lead to the development of eating disorders. The pain and general aches that the stress produces can become chronic pain. As the symptoms increase in their severity, your stress will also intensify and you can find yourself in a loop where your stress and health problems contribute to each other and seem to grow worse over time.
It is essential to practical steps to manage your stress levels before they get to the chronic stage.
How Massage Can Help With Stress
If you are dealing with stress, it is a good idea to seek treatments for the physical symptoms as soon as possible. Massage is a viable treatment for the physical problems that come from stress. With massage therapy, your tightened muscle fibers are loosened when your therapist stretches them. The loosening allows fresh blood to flow into the tissue. Once considered a luxury service offered by spas or a form of alternative medicine, the mainstream healthcare industry has come to recognize the therapeutic benefits of massage therapy. It is now widely recommended as a tool to help deal with stress and one that has physical therapy benefits as well.
Massage can relieve the physical tension that stress causes and is especially effective for relaxing stiff muscles. It also improves circulation so that oxygen-rich blood can better reach injured tissues and help them heal. Sore muscles and cramping are sometimes caused by the buildup of lactic acid, which massage therapy can release.
Massage therapy is effective for treating markers of stress like high blood pressure and heart rate and it can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol by almost a third. Less cortisol in your system will result in improved energy and emotional health. Massage may also be beneficial for treating the headaches commonly associated with stress.
Massage therapy can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that your body produces to relieve pain and that help you to deal with stress by promoting pleasure. The endorphin release can improve your mood and make you more positive, which can have benefits for your nervous system and help you manage stressful periods.
How Chiropractic Can Help with Stress
The connection between chiropractic care and stress might not seem to be immediately obvious; however, there is a direct link between the two. Chiropractors treat their patients primarily with spinal manipulations. The spine is the nervous system’s central communication hub — it has the channels that the brain uses to communicate with the body. Chiropractic treatment ensures that the spine functions as it should by sending its messages out to the body unimpeded. A chiropractor may use spinal manipulations to treat headaches and insomnia as well as bad posture. Because of chiropractic care, signals from the brain may be better able to travel to other parts of the body without being obstructed by tense muscles. Chiropractic can reduce or eliminate the symptoms caused by stress and its related health problems.
Being worried and stressed out for extended periods affects your posture and can result in your spine becoming misaligned. For example, people experiencing high levels of stress will often habitually hunch themselves over. Even though it is a natural human instinct to assume a stooped and self-protective posture when stressed, the hunched posture can eventually cause severe back and spine problems. A chiropractor can help you to counteract the effects that stress might have on your posture and that it will have on your spine over time.
Chiropractic care is good for improving your general health as well as being effective against stress. Not only can chiropractic lessen musculoskeletal pain, but it can also make you more flexible and increase your range of motion. There are potential cognitive benefits too since chiropractic care can also help to improve your concentration.
Along with the benefits that come with applying chiropractic techniques, a chiropractor can offer education on methods for relaxing. Tips that they might provide to their patients include methods of managing stress such as deep breathing and meditation. A chiropractor may also suggest ways that you can improve your diet and make the professional and personal areas of your life less stressful. When implemented properly, these methods may help to lessen your stress over the long term.
The Combination of Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care
Massage techniques like deep tissue massage may be used in conjunction with chiropractic spinal manipulation. The value of chiropractic treatments is often enhanced by having your muscles relaxed by massage. Together, Massage therapy and chiropractic treatments help to remedy the problems that stress causes. The two treatments can ease tension and loosen muscles and thus help your body heal faster.
By combining massage and chiropractic treatment, you get to benefit from two therapies that treat your whole body. Because you are addressing multiple causes at the same time, you should see the symptoms of your stress improve. The pairing of massage therapy and chiropractic care can get your nervous system functioning at a higher level, which should result in less pain and an improved mental outlook. The benefits for your blood pressure, cortisol levels and circulation from massage therapy and the reduction of problems caused by spinal misalignment should also boost your immunity. Regular and consistent care from a chiropractor should return your stress to a normal level.
When the impediments that stress can cause to your nervous system are corrected by massage therapy and chiropractic treatment, your mood should improve. You will be experiencing less stress, which should alleviate its physical and emotional symptoms.