Stress in the modern world.

April 10, 2014

Ever have sweaty palms, dry mouth, upset stomach, shakiness?  Blame the vagus nerve, or as we used to say in Chiropractic School “going Vagal.”

The vagus nerve is a large cranial nerve in control of autonomic function and the command center nerve for the function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and the “fight or flight response” that many people have heard of.

Most people don’t know that it controls resting and digestion as well and the body is in constant balance between enough parasympathetic and sympathetic balance and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol will drive it toward sympathetic response.

What that means in our current stressful modern world is that we are in constant adrenaline upregulation and more in a sympathetic state.

Other hormones such as neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and GABA literally lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help your heart and organs slow down.

This is the resting and digesting phase.

All a fine balance.

Imagine you are not a human but a Baboon out in the African wilderness digesting some food or prey, you feel pretty relaxed and happy, heart rate and blood pressure low, organs slow down as blood is shunted from periphery for digestion…life is good.

Suddenly, a larger Baboon approaches with menacing fangs, and loud shriek toward you.  He clearly wants what you have and is challenging you.

Your adrenaline goes up, cortisol spikes, blood is shunted from organs to muscles to prepare to “fight”.

Instinct and stress on Alert!

Do you fight or do you run?

Whatever the decision, this is the stress response that we undergo daily.

Whether its traffic and a car turns onto our right of way, or a boss who wants more of our time, or the taxes that are due, or the many dozens of stressors that happen daily, our sympathetic response in on all the time.

No wonder we are fatigued, stressed, and immunosuppressed.

So what is a solution? Winning the lottery is a nice fantasy, but there are more practical applications to help reduce stress and improve vagal parasymphathetic response.

Exercise, Rest, Sleep, Nutrition are the pillars of stress management.

In addition, at, Massage and Chiropractic care are excellent for relaxing the muscles, decompressing joints, and reducing vagal responses as a result of cortisol hormone over response from daily stress.

At A Spinal Health and Movement Center we try to do our part to help our clients and patients reduce the stressors of life.

Call us at 505-247-2373 to schedule a massage or Chiropractic adjustment today.


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