by Dr. Michelle Irwin

Chiropractic Care for Stress in Kirkland WA

I know we talk about it a lot, but stress is the root cause of all disease. I know there are viruses, bacteria, and other outside invaders to our system but when we are under stress that is when they take their opportunity to grow and overtake the normal balance of our body’s internal environment.

Physical, chemical, and emotional stress all have the same cascade effect within the body with the same result, which, when allowed to run its course to completion leads to a safer and healthier body. However, many cases of chemical or emotional stress are a part of our daily life and so we stay in a state of Sympathetic Dominance allowing the Stress Response to stay on a continuous loop and we don’t get the recovery time needed for us to build a stronger defense to future stress.

Emotional stresses are the hardest to overcome because they create memories that involve all the senses and are meant to stay with us to avoid future threats of the same kind. This means that we can experience emotional stresses with just a reminder of the initial incident even when we are safe and sound. For example, take the smoke in the air right now. We are having chemical stress from the small particles in the air, physical stress from the irritation of those particles and breathing issues; emotional stress from our own personal experiences as well as those of our ancestors who had to run away from the smoke in order to survive and be consumed by the fire that it foretold. Now we know where the fires are and so we stay in the thick of the smoke because we know that we are safer here yet we still have the flight response that has been engrained in us since we came to be as a species. That is how strong emotional stresses are, they last through generations if they mean we can survive and be stronger for it.

So, what is the Adaptive Physiology cascade that happens. We have mentioned it over and over but never in proper detail.

How does it relate to our immune system? Well, let me show you...

  • Blood pressure increases to get the blood to tissues for fight or flight
  • Heart Rate increases to get the blood pumping faster
  • Cholesterol goes up to help with wound repair
  • Clotting factors raise to stop blood loss if we get swiped by the bear we are running from
  • Fear and Anxiety increase to keep us alert and focused
  • Insulin Sensitivity down regulates
  • Blood Sugar goes up because we need sugar in the system to feed our brain and give our tissues a quick fuel to burn
  • IMMUNE RESPONSE GOES DOWN, we have bigger baddies to get away from than microscopic ones right now
  • Ability to learn and focus decreases because we don’t need new information just get away from danger
  • Digestion slows down because who has time to eat and we don’t want to be weighed down when running away or fighting
  • Reproduction system slows or is shut down because it isn’t safe for a little one right now and momma needs to run away not be giving birth
  • Decreased Serotonin which is the happy hormone and right now we don’t want to be happy about this danger

This puts many aspects of today’s world into perspective, I mean how many commercials do you see that are meant to treat any one of these natural processes in a state of stress. They are meant to happen acutely, but we live a world of chronic stress. Sympathetic Dominance doesn’t get shut off and we don’t go into Parasympathetic Dominance with the reverse cascade of Rest, Repair, and Reproduce. Parasympathetic Dominance kicks the immune system into high gear to reverse the negative effects of the stress response and attack the small, microscopic invaders that have taken the opportunity to proliferate. We sleep deeper so the body can focus on healing instead of looking for what is coming around the corner next. And we eat because we would be hungry after all that running, wouldn’t we?!

Stress can be good in small doses but when it is a constant state of being, we are opening ourselves up to be taken down by the smallest invaders and insults this world has to offer. Taking time to do something you love and enjoy every day is important to getting out of the stress response. Diet, exercise, meditation, and Chiropractic adjustment to remove neurologic stress all help to break the Sympathetic Dominance cycle and jump start the Parasympathetic Dominance cycle so we can all get a little R&R.

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9:00am - 6:30pm

8:00am - 1:00pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm

8:00am - 1:00pm
2:00pm - 6:30pm



Energize Chiropractic and Wellness
13325 100th Avenue NE Suite D
Kirkland, WA 98034
Phone: (425) 814-9644
Fax: (425) 814-7395

The Best of Kirkland 2016 Winner

2014 Best of Western Washington Award