How Flexible is Your Nervous System?

With the holidays just around the corner, we here at Treehive Chiropractic want you to be able to handle the daily stresses of all that comes your way during this season with just a little more flexibility and a lot more grace. 

Did you know that regular chiropractic care can help you regulate your nervous system? And that this in turn, can help your body deal with all the various stressors that life (and especially life around the holidays) throws at you? 

First, let’s talk a bit about your nervous system. Most people think of their nerves as relating to their senses, and they do! Your five senses help you perceive the world around you for maximum safety and enjoyment of all that life has to offer. But did you know that your nervous system also plays a huge part in relaying information from your inner world to your brain and then back again? Your Vagus Nerve, the one that runs down from the stem of your brain, all the way down to the end of your spine, is your internal highway, responsible for conveying information from all of your bodily systems to your brain, and back again. It is how our brain gets information about our inside world. It is the nerve that helps you mobilize into fight or flight, at any sign of danger (or perceived danger). It is also responsible for helping you sink into a lovely relaxed state where you can rest and digest at the end of a long day.

When your nervous system is optimally healthy, you and your body can move fully through the various nervous system states (Sympathetic, Parasympathetic, etc) as needed. Your nervous system remains flexible, and you remain able to rise to the challenge of life’s stressors, both physical and emotional, and then return to a calm and restful state once the stressful situation has passed. 

But lack of movement in the body caused by subluxations actually lead a heightened perception of the world around you which can lead to sensory overload. This in turn can overwhelmed your nervous system to the point that you get stuck in a dissociated shut down state—disconnected from the world around you and from your own experience. And being stuck in any one nervous system state is the opposite of health. 

Here at Treehive Chiropractic, we want our clients to be able to remain flexible—to be able to move smoothly and easily throughout all the various nervous system states required by life in a world that inevitably stresses us. (And I’m not just talking about Uncle Billy Bob talking politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table.) 

What forms do these stressors come in you might ask? Here at Treehive, we call them the Three T’s. 

  1. Trauma– Minor and major traumas that add physical force to the body. Think of sitting with poor posture over a long period of time or getting into a major car accident. (Physical)
  2. Toxins– Chemical accumulation from the foods we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, as well as the products we put in and on our bodies. (Environmental) 
  3. Thoughts– The most common stress that leads to subluxations today are the mental and emotional stress that occur in our minds and bodies. (Mental/Emotional) 

The goal is not to completely avoid these stresses because, you guessed it, we are human and stress is actually necessary for us to grow and evolve. However, when our stress load becomes greater than our body’s ability to adapt, this is when subluxations occur. This is why it’s our number one priority at Treehive to increase your body’s ability to adapt as well as educate our community on ways to decrease physical, mental, and chemical stress.

When your child is about to knock over a Christmas Tree at the local department store, we want you to be able to mobilize into the Fight or Flight response so that you can move quickly to protect your child (and anyone in the vicinity) from the danger of that tree falling over. When you are sitting around the wood stove drinking cocoa with your loved ones, we want you to be able to breathe a deep breath into your belly and relax, turning your full attention to connecting with others because you know in your heart, mind, and body, that all is well. 

But if you are a person who has become stuck in a sympathetic response, you might have a hard time relaxing by the fire because you are still stressed and anxious about what happened at the department store. Or if you are one that is stuck in a state of shutdown, you will be so disconnected that you might be slow to respond in the case of an emergency. Neither of these things are good.

Chiropractic care has been scientifically shown to improve the function of your nervous system; and nowadays we can even show you how well your system is functioning!  With our specialize tools for testing Heart Rate Variability, taking muscular readings, and thermal scans, we are more easily able to pinpoint areas that need our chiropractic attention. These tools allow us to have a broader understanding of how your particular nervous system is functioning as a whole, which allows us to fine tune our assessments of where an adjustment is needed to increase your nervous system’s ability to be flexible with all that life is throwing at you. 

The adjustment itself is what allows the body to release that tension that is being held in your body. More often than not, you’ll notice us adjusting the Atlas bone at the top of your neck—this one adjustment point alone has massive positive impacts on the functioning of that Vagus Nerve, so that you can move through life as beautifully flexible as possible. That is why chiropractic can even help to treat mental health disorders such as anxiety, and depression—because many times these disorders can be severely improved by improving nervous system functioning. Anxiety can be the result of a nervous system that is stuck in the fight or flight response (sympathetic), and depression correlates to a nervous system stuck in parasympathetic freeze response. 

The holidays are certainly a stressful time for everyone, but we know that some of our practice members struggle more than others—if this is you, hear us say both that it is totally normal to struggle more at this time of year, and also that we are here to help! Don’t let your adjustments take the back burner during this busy time. We here at Treehive want to help you and your body be flexible and adaptive, so you can have the healthiest and happiest holiday yet—even if you were just 1% happier this year than the year before, wouldn’t that be an incredible win?

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