Ron is a friend of mine.  My daughter and I ran into Ron at the grocery store on Sunday.  The usual pleasantries were exchanged.

“How’s it going?  Haven’t seen you for a while.”  

“The wife and kids are doing great!  My son just bought a house!”

Then, Ron said something that stopped me a little short.  He told me that he had a story to tell me, that he’d meet me at my house in a few minutes, but that he had to go purchase something from the store, first.  Very curious, my daughter and I completed our shopping and headed home.

Ron showed up a few minutes after we got home and brought a package of sandwich cookies in the house.  MINT sandwich cookies. The kind my wife won’t buy because they rarely last a full 24 hours from the time they’re purchased until the time they’re all gone!

He dropped the cookies on the kitchen counter and announced that he hadn’t had one of “those” for two months.  Turns out, he had a heart attack two months ago. Standing in our kitchen, Ron looked fantastic! Several pounds slimmer than the last time we had seen him, good color in his cheeks and his natural, bubbly self just filling up our home with light.  We were shocked!

He went on to explain that he had been under so much stress running his two very successful businesses, and saying his usual “yes” to everyone who wanted him to do work for them, that he was “stress eating”.  He admitted to me that the tip of his “stress eating” iceberg ended up being a package of mint sandwich cookies every day and sometimes, a package of snack cakes between the grocery store and his house (six minutes from door to door).  He was working from early in the morning to late at night, fulfilling every “yes” he promised his customers.

The extreme sugar intake coupled with stress hormones is a deadly concoction in the human body.  Add in exhaustion and worry and top that off with poor nutrition and a driving desire to please people, and Ron ended up in the hospital fighting for his life.  The constant stress turned on the fight-or-flight response in Ron’s nervous system which then became a chronic condition. Our fight-or-flight response is designed to help us in an emergency, on an as-needed basis.  However, so many of us live in such a chronic state of stress that a U.S. News & World Report  article stated that stress plays a role in so many modern diseases that some experts estimate it accounts for half the nation’s healthcare-related expenses.  

How does chiropractic care factor into this equation?  Chiropractic adjustments release muscle tension, soothe irritated spinal nerves and improve blood circulation—changes that can often alert the brain to switch off the fight-or-flight response so the body can return to a more relaxed state. A chiropractor can also recommend nutritional supplementation, rehabilitative exercises, massage therapy, relaxation techniques and postural changes to help patients manage stress.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress, regular chiropractic care can help negate some of its effects and prevent long-term damage to the body.  And, keep your friend out of the hospital!