What is Your Range of Adaptability to Stress?:
Stresses are changes in your internal or external environment that require changes in your body in order for your body to adapt successfully. What makes adaptation to stress possible? Gray's Anatomy says that "it is the purpose of the brain and nerve system to control and coordinate the function of all the tissues and organs of the body and to adapt them to the environment." Adaptation is possible because you have a nerve system.
Let's use a simple example of a change in your environment. Imagine walking
into a very cold room. How does your brain become aware that the temperature is suddenly very cold? Sensory nerves signal the brain of the temperature change. Your brain analyzes and processes that
information. Is the cold temperature a potential danger to your health and survival? Of course, we all know about hypothermia. The brain then sends signals through your autonomic nerves to the glands
of the skin to produce "goose bumps" which insulate your body from heat loss. The brain also sends signals through your motor nerves to your muscles to produce "shivering" which produces heat. The
nerve system responded to the stress of cold and adapted by providing mechanisms that would ensure the health and survival of your body.
Dr. Hans Selye, a pioneer of modern stress research, explained that we each
have a range of adaptability to stress. Our ability to adapt to stress is managed by our nerve system. Even though we may be born with an inherently wide range of adaptability, that range can become
narrowed. If our nerve system is disturbed by a subluxation, our ability and potential to adapt to stress is diminished progressively.
Note the diagrams below. The "squiggly" line that looks like the Dow Jones
Average represents the stress in a normal life over time. The time could be a day, a month, a year, or a whole lifetime. The peaks are events or times of high stress; the valleys are times of lower
stress. The parallel lines in each diagram represent three different ranges of adaptability to stress.
In Range 1 you will see that stress greatly exceeds that person's ability to
cope most of the time. What kind of health problems do these people develop? Hypothetically, they can most likely develop serious, debilitating health problems like cancer, heart disease, and
In Range 2 the stress levels occasionally exceed, for a short time, their
ability to adapt or cope. What kind of health problems do people in Range 2 develop? They can probably develop annoying, chronic health problems like back pain, neck pain, headaches, digestive
problems, breathing problems, allergies, and numbness and tingling.
The people in Range 3 experience the same stress as the other two
people, but their range of adaptability is so wide that stress has little or no effect on their health.
Which range are you? Are you widening your range of adaptability or narrowing it? Since regular chiropractic care helps the nerve system function at its best, you can help to keep your range as high as possible, allowing you to better deal with stress. In the crazy times we live in now, that's a pretty good thing. Don't you think?