Have you ever had someone tell you that the body is an extension of your mind? The truth is that our mind and body are deeply connected. Many have experienced a tight jaw or stiff shoulders after a stressful meeting, or an argument with a loved one. Maybe we have even had an acute onset of a back ache or shoulder pain that seems to have come out of "nowhere" yet shows up right after a difficult conversation.
In Chiropractic we know that the vertebral subluxation complex is a central component of this experience. A subluxation is a nerve interference that is caused by a misalignment and fixation in the joints of the spine. This interference changes the way the brain functions and how it communicates with the body. This often results in muscle spasms, soreness, dysfunctional movement, pain, and even illness. Subluxation happens as a result of stress. This stress can be physical stress like falls or injuries, chemical stress such as medications or bad foods, or emotional stress caused by traumatic events in our personal lives.
Emotional stress plays a much larger role in our overall health than we often realize. When we have a balanced, healthy spine, we have a healthy brain. Because of this simple truth, chiropractic offers powerful support during emotionally challenging times, and when we are dealing with depression and anxiety.
Studies have shown that forward head posture - when our head is sitting forward of our torso instead of directly on top of our shoulders - has been correlated with increased anxiety and depression and other stress related disorders. This is because of how subluxations in the neck impact something called the sympathetic nucleus. The sympathetic nucleus is the headquarters for where our bodies regulate sympathetic tone, or what is known as the fight or flight response. When our neck is not in proper alignment, it means we are more likely to be in a stress response with higher cortisol levels.
Posture also plays a significant role in the amount of oxygen that gets to our brain. Forward head posture, and what is known as a hyperkyphyosis of the thoracic spine, cause a decrease in something called vital lung capacity (VLC). This decrease in VLC can be by as much as 30% . This means that due to subluxation and poor posture, we may have 30% less oxygen uptake, which means less oxygen to the brain. Brain fog, anyone?!
What does this all mean? Simply put, it means that a healthy spine makes for a healthy mind. The function of our brain and our sense of well-being is very much connected to the health of our spinal column. Posture matters. Movement matters. If we have poor posture, or limited mobility, we simply cannot have optimal health. Make sure to get your spine regularly checked for vertebral subluxation by your chiropractor. One of the most commonly reported benefits of chiropractic care is a greater sense of emotional well-being. If you want to multiply the effects of it, bring your family in as well so that you and your loved ones can be in optimal health, together.