Fight or Flight

It seems like every Spring, patients come flooding in with more stress and tension than the holidays! Instead of repeating the same lecture over and over I will attempt to explain what’s going on here.
The nervous system is made up of many different parts. One of the parts is known as the Autonomic Nervous System or ANS. The autonomic nervous system controls many of the automatic functions within the body. The two major portions of the ANS are the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic. The sympathetic function is what controls the fight or flight response, and the parasympathetic controls the rest and digest portion of the nervous system.
When we are in a stressful or potentially dangerous situation our bodies goes into defense mode where we have to decide to either stand and fight or flee the situation. A good example for this is being chased by a bear. Our bodies go into a sympathetic dominance mode and the blood is shunted away from our digestive system and pushed towards our extremities and brain so we are able to make the decision to run or deal with the situation. The response causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, and increases the production of adrenaline (epinephrine). Fortunately we don’t have to deal with bear attacks on a regular basis, but this ancient response allows us to deal with other stressful or hazardous situations.
In a perfect world our automatic nervous system lives in a balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic dominance where we have the ability to jump into either state given the different situations we encounter on a daily basis. Living in either sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance for long periods of time can cause a decrease in health and function.
Chiropractic care deals with the detection and removal of subluxations. Subluxations within the spine cause a decrease in nervous system function which causes the body to go into a sympathetic dominant situation, which causes the body to live in the fight or flight state. When a chiropractic adjustment is delivered to remove a subluxation it causes a reset within the ANS and allows the nervous system to be restored to a balanced state.
By allowing the body and nervous system to live in a balanced state our bodies are able to adapt and function at a higher level. This in turn leads to improved health and overall function.
Next newsletter will discuss the parasympathetic nervous system and how to better support it.
Until then, make it a healthy day!

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