Dr Andrew Richards has been a practicing chiropractor for 22 years with a Bachelor of Medical Science and a Master’s Degree in Chiropractic. Dr Andrew loves incorporating a focus on the spine and nervous system for holistic wellness.
To Flight or Fight
Being in ‘Flight or Fight’ mode is that primal stress response that enables us to deal with perceived attacks or threats to our survival. It’s all about getting you physically prepared to literally run or fight for your life, and the response is hardwired into our brains and can be difficult for many to control.
When we face real dangers to our survival, the fight or flight response is essential. However, most of the stresses we are exposed to these days are not life threatening, but they initiate the same response.
Stressors like rush hour traffic, deadlines, arguments or conflict, raising children, rushing around and financial troubles to name just a few.
Just to make things a little more interesting, your body does not distinguish so differently between emotional, chemical or physical stressors.
While we all tend to think of stress in an emotional context such as the events in life that we find overwhelming, the flight or fight response can also be wound up by physical and chemical stressors such as bad posture, physical injuries, high sugar and processed food diets.
Common stressors for men
For us men, some of these stressors can tend to hit us harder.
Being the archetypal hunters we are, things like being out of work and financial hardship are top of the list. We also tend to speak out less and instead we internalise, driving these stressors deep into our physical/structural being.
At this level our muscles get tight and short, we clench and grind, our breathing behaviour and posture changes, and our joints stiffen up. Then to make matters worse in an attempt to dissipate stress, hopefully through something productive like exercise, we start to see a rise in injuries often taking away that release we relied upon so much to maintain our health and well-being during tough times. And the cycle begins again…
Signs that you may be stuck in ‘Flight or Fight’ mode
Are you experiencing any of these?
- Increasing levels of fatigue and leaving you feeling exhausted even after a good night’s rest leading to burn-out
- Excessive coffee consumption just to get through the day
- Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
- Poor posture
- Insomnia as it gets harder to get to and then stay asleep
- Increasing levels of anxiety, general irritability and extended periods of depression
- Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
- Reduced sex drive
- Sugar cravings
- Teeth grinding and clenching
- Digestive complaints such as IBS
- High blood pressure
- Auto-immune conditions and recurrent infections
- Weight gain
Chiropractors can help alleviate some of these outcomes caused by the flight or flight response. They study the unique relationship between the spine and nervous system whilst accounting for the effects these systems have on your health as a whole. Chiropractic adjustments work by unlocking and helping to restore normal motion and alignment to affected joints which releases muscular and neural tension. In this way chiropractic adjustments help to reduce and manage the cumulative effects of prolonged stress and tension on the body in a natural and drug free way.
Once stress has been prolonged – even once it’s left the body – the body can stay stuck in the stressed state it has held onto for so long.
Chiropractic care along with other types of body work should be on the top of your list for the Ctrl-Alt-Delete re-boot you need. Give it a try at least – you could be surprised!