I was recently at a conference where a colleague, Dr Wayne Todd, gave an inspiring talk about stress and the role that it plays in our health. He has written a brilliant book about the subject, which I would like to share with you, including some brilliant self-help tips at the end. I spent the entire time during Dr Todd’s talk nodding and realising that there are many similarities in the way that we help people, mainly because we are both chiropractors! In his book, Dr Todd talks about a patient who had been getting various symptoms including numbness and blurred vision, which initially led to tests for MS. Once this had been ruled out, he started to realise that her symptoms were characteristic of an imbalance in her nervous system that was having far reaching consequences to her health. The many, seemingly unrelated symptoms that occur include:
- Shoulder and neck aches, pains and tightness
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Headaches that get worse as the day goes on
- Light sleep and vivid dreams
- Digestive upset/IBS
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder issues
- Thyroid issues
- Hormone imbalances and often excessive sweating
- Infertility or PCOS, and sometimes uterine fibroids
Normally, especially for our ancestors, the Sympathetic Nervous System worked to react to life-threatening stress. However, the level of stress we encounter nowadays is both incessant and exaggerated by such things as job and home life demands, caring for loved ones and a 24 hour screen lifestyle (think tablets, smartphones, social media). The body needs to have a balance between:
What can you do today?
- Control light input: Wear sunglasses during the day when it’s sunny. Set your tablet, laptop and phone to Night Setting, or use Twilight app to do this, to change the light you are seeing from blue to red in the evenings.
- Dampen sounds: wear ear plugs or avoid noisy environments
- Supplements: ask your health professional for advice on relevant dietary changes (including less sugar, more gut healing foods)
- Correct and support your posture with chiropractic care, and exercise to help your spine. Lying on a small foam roller (placed along the spine, between your shoulder blades for up to 15 minutes twice a day)
- Calm down: meditate or use relaxation techniques. Make a choice to decrease your emotional stress levels.
If you are thinking, I know someone like that, please feel free to contact us at the Centre to discuss how we might be able to help you. By all means try the above measures, and certainly don’t ignore or disregard the advice of your current health professional. Just ask yourself, are you are covering up the effects (symptoms) without fully exploring the cause?