(My article in the Oct. 1, 2013 Citizen)
I was in the car the other day when I heard an interesting news
story on the radio about Oprah Winfrey. She publicly disclosed she
had acute stress disorder last year. A psychologist commented that it
is a serious disorder made worse by our hyper-stimulated society.
It is more likely seen in someone with a severe trauma such as a
physical attack or after experiencing a natural disaster, but she
blamed it on an exhausting work schedule.
Stress is the invisible monster that most of us tend to ignore
until some type of health warning startles us. Stress is not an
obvious disease like a heart attack, ulcer, or flu. It is only a
priority if you make it a priority.
Things can happen to us unexpectedly. We can experience stress
that we have no control over such as bad weather, although we can
plan for it. We also tend to put up with a great deal of self made
stress because it's not inconvenient enough to change.
That's one thing I have no control over. I can't compete with
other people's stress as I try to help them discover vibrant health.
As it gradually chips away at health, stress is not recognized as a
problem that needs intervention. It is this gray area of possible
disease but not real enough to need treatment where chiropractic is
the unsung hero.
Chiropractic deals with stress management by looking at the spine
as a barometer or sort of measuring stick. The spine absorbs stress.
Stress comes in three forms: physical or mechanical, chemical
including diet, and emotional. Over time, the spine eventually
becomes the stress. This in turn leads the nervous system to backfire
A backfiring nervous system creates pain syndromes and places a
strain on the rest of the body. Once rewired, the body's resistance
becomes weakened and recurrent illnesses are more difficult to shake
off. These complaints fall into the realm of the gray area of
unspecific sickness. We tolerate these complaints and give them
permission to fester.
With chiropractic care, adjustments to the spine release tension
so healthier patterns can resume. Chiropractors also help people
identify people's sources of stress so they can implement positive
There are complicating factors each one of us has to become honest
about and that brings us back to Oprah Winfrey's personal story. How
much stress will each of us ignore? In what areas of our lives are we
going to let ourselves be run into the ground?
What we call stress today may be a minor annoyance, but it becomes
physically imprinted on the spine in a way that cannot be reversed if
it eventually breaks down bone, causing discs to leak and the brain
I've heard too many people voice regret that they didn't
understand this broader view of chiropractic's influence on health.
You can now start looking at your spine as a health barometer and
pick up on important clues that will help you get to the chiropractor