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What lifestyle changes do you make, or keep the same, when your stress level goes up? What happens when you have a fever because you’re healing from an infection? Or when you have a fight with your spouse or kids? Or when you’re healing from cancer? Or when a family member passes away? Or when you’re healing from a car accident or fall? Or when you ate some junk food?

Our autonomic nerve system is responsible for regulating how our organs function in certain environments. By this point, you’ve probably heard us talk about sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity – these are the two branches of the autonomic nerve system that are responsible for many functions including: heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tone, immune function and digestion.

Let’s say you were sitting, quietly waiting for your adjustment today, and three big dudes with all kinds of weapons blasted in the door and call out your name. What happens? PANIC! Sympathetic nerves take over – increased heart rate, breathing rate, increased muscle tension, decreased digestion and decreased immune function. Why does this happen? Your body recognizes the need to use its resources where they’re needed most – for fight or flight. Your skeletal muscles will need lots of blood flow and oxygen and your digestion and immune functions are a waste of time/resources in the next few moments. You’re designed to be able to flee from the high stress environment and return to resting/digesting parasympathetic activity efficiently.

When subluxation occurs near the top of your neck, or down in your lower back, it decreases the ability of the parasympathetic nerves to work properly. That means there will be relatively higher sympathetic nerve function, compared to parasympathetic nerve function. That means if there is subluxation in those areas, your body will function as if the environment was highly stressful, even if it’s not!

Now, what about those times when your environment, is actually stressful? Since your default level of nerve activity is already on the sympathetic (fight/flight) side, there is no where to go but up even higher – high blood pressure, high heart rate, poor digestion, muscle aches and poor immune function. Sound like anyone you know? It’s always important to stay on a regular adjustment schedule to maintain healing momentum, but if there was ever a time to not miss or reschedule an adjustment – it’s when you’re under higher levels of stress.

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