Stress, health, energy, Powerhouse Chiropractic, Vancouver Chiropractor

Stress, Energy and Your Health

I wanted to start with a story about my own resilience to stress and my experience at the gym a few weeks ago… watch this video…

Was my injury caused by performing a routine movement (one I’ve done thousands of times in the past)? Or was my body giving me a gentle reminder to slow down because my  stress response out of balance in other areas of my life?

Many other lifestyle stressors at the time had reduced my resiliency to stress…my shoulder just happened to be the “weakest link” at the time.

The stress response is addictive…we begin to crave it… whether this is through thrill seeking, caffeine jolts, extended training sessions… or manufacturing it in our relationships by constantly quarrelling with our loved ones and friends.

After slowing down for a few minutes, I was able to continue on with my workout. I was checked by my chiropractor to improve my nervous system recovery, and I took some time to reflect on why this happened when it did.

I recognize I lead a busy life, so this reflection brought up the following questions…

  • What stress reducing behaviours have I been doing on a regular basis?
  • How can I increase my resiliency to stress?
  • How do I prepare my body and mind for the stress I will face?

I know what you may be thinking… Stress is a normal part of life, we just need to deal with it any way we can.

What I want you to know is this…

Stress has a definite physiological impact on health, which can lead to reduced resiliency, brain fog, immune disruption, lack of energy and over time may lead to depression, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

This constant breakdown of the body, without rejuvenation and strengthening, can quietly erode quality of life… until reaching a point where you can no longer do the things that used to be easy.

Define Stress, Energy & Health

Stress in itself is not a problem. Stress appears in two forms (eu-stress and dis-stress)… the difference between the two is our perception.

What’s stressful for me may not be stressful to you and visa versa.

Stress is hard to define… so much so, this is what The American Institute of Stress has this to say about it…

“stress is difficult to define because it is so different for each of us. A good example is afforded by observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar. They can’t wait for the ride in the torture chamber to end so they can get back on solid ground and scamper away. But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge who race to get on the very next ride. And in between you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful?

The roller coaster analogy is useful in explaining why the same stressor can differ so much for each of us. What distinguished the passengers in the back from those up front was the sense of control they had over the event. While neither group had any more or less control their perceptions and expectations were quite different. Many times we create our own stress because of faulty perceptions you can learn to correct. You can teach people to move from the back of the roller coaster to the front, and, as Eleanor Roosevelt noted, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. While everyone can’t agree on a definition of stress, all of our experimental and clinical research confirms that the sense of having little or no control is always distressful – and that’s what stress is all about.”

Futhermore, the Human Function Curve, developed by PG Nixon in 1982 looks like this…

Stress, Energy, Health, Powerhouse Chiropractic

The ASI describes Nixon’s curve like this…

“increased stress results in increased productivity – up to a point, after which things go rapidly downhill. However, that point or peak differs for each of us, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over the hump. Such signals also differ for each of us and can be so subtle that they are often ignored until it is too late. Not infrequently, others are aware that you may be headed for trouble before you are.”

As with my personal example above, we have to be mindful of how we’re managing our stress loads… both the amount of eu-stress (productivity) and dis-stress (things outside of our control  ie, others actions,family, governmens ) we subject ourselves to.

Stress & Chiropractic

(excerted from The Stress Series: Part 1 – Stress Physiology – A Central Theme In Chiropractic?)

According to work done by Dr James Chestnut, his hypothesis states the physical stress generated by vertebral subluxation complex (nervous system interference) that is communicated to the brain may trigger the amygdala, the primary stress centre of the brain.

The amygdala, the “lizard brain,” does not distinguish between chemical, physical, or emotional stressors – it simply detects “Threat!” and responds accordingly.

This is why an emotional stress like public speaking can absolutely create a physical, physiological stress response – the amygdala doesn’t know the difference between a physical and an emotional stress, and doesn’t care!

Its job is to simply respond in a way that defends the body from the perceived “threat,” whatever that may be, via a classic sympathetic, fight-or-flight “stress response.”

The magnitude of response depends on the magnitude of the perceived threat:  for instance, your body will have a different magnitude of stress response to a pouncing tiger than to an approaching thunderstorm.

This interesting glitch in the lizard-brain amygdala, by which multiple kinds of stressors can evoke the same response, has an unfortunate by-product.

Low-level, chronic stressors from emotional, chemical, or physical sources may instigate a low-level, chronic physiological stress response, which has been shown by decades of research to be deleterious to human health.

How We Measure Stress

At The Powerhouse, we use a state of the art tool called the NeuroPulse. This technology allows us to measure how stress is affecting Heart Rate Variability (HRV), combined with other neurological indicators of stress.

Measuring HRV in this way reveals your level of adaptability and capacity to handle more stress. Greater adaptability means better nervous system health.

Better nervous system health means better overall health, as your entire body (including your vital organs and immune system) is regulated by the nervous system.

Pre and post testing allows us to track your HRV over time and monitor how your lifestyle may be affecting nervous system function.

HRV & Chiropractic

HRV testing is a game changer for chiropractic. This technology was developed and introduced nearly 15 years ago by the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance (CLA).

We can now measure the effects chiropractic care has on your adaptability and energy reserves over time. We can track progress and actually see our practice members building greater resiliency, increasing their capacity to handle stress over time.

Chiropractors have postulated that neurological interference in the spine, or subluxation, will limit the body’s self-healing and self-regulating efficiency. What this technology shows us is that this theory is true, measureable and repeatable.

Here is an example of the testing being done. Data collection takes 3 mins and is a standard test in our comprehensive Bio-Structural Examination.

Below is an example of a before and after test.

HRV, Heart Rate Variability, Stress, Chiropractic, Vancouver Chiropractor, Powerhouse Chiropractic

In a recent interview with the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, the CEO of CLA, Dr David Fletcher had this to say about the technology…

“Here’s the cool thing that Amy [Haas] found, and so did Zhang and a whole bunch of other researchers, when you get the subluxation under control, not only do you get a better balanced parasympathetic/sympathetic tone, but you recharge the autonomic nervous system. You actually build the amplitude back in it. You get higher HRV, which means the person has less inflammatory responses, greater senescence, greater resiliency, and greater immune response. This is all published. But what we know is that our data shows if you engage chiropractic, you will be not only able to hold better balance, but you will have greater charge within your autonomic nervous system than any normal person. You actually have a greater reserve than anyone else.”
Dr David Fletcher

When we pair this technology with all of our other indicators for spinal health, we can actually start building a clearer picture about the stress you face and how it may be affecting different systems in your body… contributing to increased stress and possible ill health.

Ways To Combat Stress and Balance HRV

  1. Chiropractic Care
    • Our process begins with a complimentary consultation to determine if we can help with your health problem.

      Through our comprehensive Bio-Structural Examination we detect shifts in the spinal column and measure the effects this may be having on your overall health and function.

      We develop a plan of care individualized to you, which will begin to correct the underlying core problems with your spine and nervous system. This process allows your body the opportunity to heal and your health and quality of life typically improve.

    • To schedule your initial consultation with one of our chiropractors click here
  2. Eat By Design
    • The goal of Eat By Design is to deliver your body the best nutrients with the least amount of toxicity. Eat By Design starts with food quality, choosing whole foods first before supplementing or processed foods.
    • To attend our next Eat By Design workshop click here.
  3. Move By Design
    • Move By Design is broken down into 4 steps: Be Mobile, Move Fast, Lift Heavy & Move Slow.

      Mobility is absolutely essential before you can perform complex movements. You must be able to move your joints through their entire range of motion without any soft tissue limitations.

      Grab our MBD video course here.

  4. Think By Design
    • Think By Design focuses on building healthy self-esteem, determining your purpose and building your vision.

The Practical Guide To Mindfulness

In this FREE Guide you'll learn:
  • 10 practical steps to increase mindfulness in your day-to-day life.
  • 5 daily tasks made mindful
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Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.