How is Stress Affecting Your Spine?

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Your stress response is controlled by your brain through your master controlling system, known as you nervous system. Your nervous system controls and coordinate all aspects of your physiology. This fundamental principle is the reason that chiropractic is so effective for promoting health and vitality.

Mental Stress Can Damage Your Spine and Nervous System (subluxation)

When you experience mental and emotional stress, your brain will cause the release of adrenaline in your blood stream and it is very common to adopt stress posture. Think of stress posture as the body position you would adopt if you had to defend yourself from an attack. Your muscles would tense, you would lower your chin, and you would hunch forward to protect your vital organs.


It is the classic fighter’s stance, and it a protective posture. Stress leads to tension in your muscles. Stress can become stored in various areas of your body — most commonly your upper back muscles, jaw, and upper neck. This tension may cause your spinal bones to shift out of alignment, irritating the vital nerves that sit in a space between your spinal bones.

Remember your nerves are very delicate; small distortions in your spine’s alignment are very serious because spine dysfunction can damage your nervous system, and weaken the function of your brain. Throughout the 3 blog post and this website, we have discussed in detail the detrimental effects that spine misalignments can have on your health. Spinal misalignments are known as subluxations.

The key point is: mental stress is a major cause of spinal subluxations. 

Subluxation can lead to a whole host of body signals and health breakdowns like neck painheadaches,shoulder stiffnesslow back pain, numbness and tingling, muscle stiffness. As well as seemingly unrelated conditions like tiredness, fatigue, low energy, suppressed immune system, breathing conditions, allergies, sinus problems, gastric dysfunction, and many other health challenges.

Have you ever noticed that when you are under mental or emotional stress, you tend to have more pain or possibly you “fall sick” more often?


I’ll discuss the connection between stress and your immune system in my next post, but mental stress can physically distort the alignment of your spine and dramatically weaken your nervous system. Stress is not a small issue.

Spine Problems can Make Your Stress Worse

It is very common for people to have spinal subluxations and nervous systems functioning at a less than optimal state. If you already have a spinal misalignment, (subluxation) it is likely that it is difficult for you to deal with the stress(es) in your life. When someone is experiencing tension, achiness, discomfort, or maybe outright pain associated with spinal problems (and nerve interference) they often are emotionally irritable. They may feel tired, unfocused, and less productive at work. Stress will take an even larger toll on their life, and they may be quick to lash out at their family and friends.

Subluxations weaken the performance of your nervous system, and cause your stressful environment to have an even larger effect on your health.

Wrapping up & key points

We covered a lot of ground here. We laid the foundation for a larger understanding of this critical topic. Let me briefly summarize the key points:

  • Mental stress is fundamentally a thought.
  • Thoughts have a profound and real effect on your life. They produce real change to your physiology (your body function).
  • Your sympathetic nervous system, aided by hormones secreted by your adrenal glands, facilitate your innate stress response.
  • Certain body functions will increase and certain functions decrease as your brain releases specific hormones inside of you.
  • These changes are very important and beneficial — in the short-term.
  • The problem is that modern life continually triggers your stress response. It is like we are constantly being chased by a wild animal.
  • Mental stress can cause your spine to misalign, and weaken your nervous system.
  • If you are already subluxated then your ability to cope with stress is likely impaired.

Long-term stress can also alter the internal chemistry of your body, and cause more challenges than just pain. This is known as inflammation.

If you are experiencing pain in any form, simply concerned about your health and wellbeing, or if you are curious to learn more about how chiropractic can help you feel better and function better, schedule a no-obligation spinal checkup.

The road to optimal health and vitality all starts with a checkup.

Click here to learn more about the chiropractic spinal checkup.

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