How Does Stress Affect the Body?

We all get stressed from time to time.  It’s the body’s natural response to threatening situations, telling us to fight or flee.  When this stress in controlled and only released during appropriate times, it can be helpful.  However, there are many who experience unhealthy levels of high, unremitting stress.  When this occurs, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can become elevated to toxic levels, disrupting some of the body’s functionality.

Digestive System

Under stress, the liver produces additional glucose that is later reabsorbed by the body.  When this stress is chronic, the body may eventually be unable to keep up with all of the additional glucose, contributing to conditions such as type 2 diabetes.  Furthermore, stress can contribute to heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.

Immune System

In short bursts, stress can actually heighten immunity.  However, chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels will eventually inhibit the immune system from performing optimally.  Inflammatory responses and histamine secretion can both be negatively impacted by long-term stress.  Those who suffer from it are more likely to contract influenza or to come down with a cold.  Additionally, recovery time is lengthened when stress is exacerbated.

Muscular System

Muscles naturally tense in response to stressful situations and relax again once the threat has passed.  For those with chronic stress, full relaxation of the muscular system never takes place.  Over time, this can lead to a number of uncomfortable conditions including headaches,back pain, shoulder pain, and all over body aches. 

Cardiovascular System

We all know that our heartrate increases in response to anxious or stressful situations.  When these situations quickly pass, it’s not a problem.  But recurrent or long-term stress can begin to be problematic for the heart.  Over time, risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack may all increase. 

If you have been experiencing long-term stress or anxiety, you have likely felt its physical toll in one way or another.  Pain is among the most common complaints reported by those suffering from anxiety or depression.  Chiropractic care can help.  If you are in the Greater Charlotte area contact SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers to request an initial consultation at our Denver, Gastonia, or Belmontlocation.  Simply click here.