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Chronic Stress and Fatigue

Posted Aug 20 2010 7:25am

We started a little tour into the fight or flight mechanism of the body.  We are going to take things a step further today and discuss how chronic long term stress can play a role in fatigue, etc.

Stress always does the same things to the body.  The reason being is we respond to stress in the same way.  When a stressful situation happens our body initiates the fight or flight mechanism, known as the sympathetic nervous system.  We will call this mechanism “sympathetic dominance” because the sympathetic system is “dominating” the parasympathetic system.

So if the sympathetic system is “dominating” the parasympathetic wouldn’t it be nice to know what the sympathetic system does?  Ok, so here is a little list of things the sympathetic system does. :

thank you to: for the excellent picture showing what we are taking about.  This picture is great because it also shows what the parasympathetic system does as a balance.  As you can see the sympathetic nervous system dilates pupils and restricts saliva production.  That sounds like a “chronic dry eye” to me.  How about stimulates glucose production from the liver, hmmmm sounds like an elevated blood glucose level typically seen in type 2 diabetics.

This chart just may contain some vital information here.  What if the body was put under prolonged stress, say a job or not having a job.  Maybe the stress is the loss of a loved one.  Name whatever stress you may have and your body is going to react by activating the sympathetic nervous system.  When the body does this you activate the right side of the above chart and inactivate the left side.  You see digestion is on the left.  Chronic long term stress inhibits digestion and if you are not eating good quality foods with enzymes present in them now you just added gasoline to the fire!

This is why diet is so vitally important.  But even beyond diet is adjusting.  If you have a subluxation at your first cervical vertebra, the atlas, nerve impulses will be altered in the vagus nerve.  The Vagus goes to your heart, lungs, digestive organs, adrenals, etc.  So a simple adjustment may be all you need to get out of a sympathetic dominate mode.

Now imagine that long term stress without a chiropratic adjustment and a poor diet.  Glucose levels are running high and your body is using more energy just to “fight” through the day.  When you get home at night you are tired from a long day of “fighting” but you cannot fall asleep because your body is stuck in a sympathetic dominate mode!  Until the stress is relieved symptoms persist and often times through drug intervention.  The reason being is the body will always respond to stress by activating the sympathetic nervous system regardless of what is put in front of it.  Trying to shut does this process with drugs, or worse the symptoms, only covers the problem.  The only true solution lies is the root of the stress and eliminating it, or managing it if it cannot be eliminated.

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