Over the last 28 years, we have seen patients who are going through all kinds of stresses- the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, accidents, separations, births…the list goes on. Some of these stresses can be exciting, some very difficult to deal with. But not all stress is alike. Different kinds of stress have different effects on the body. Read on to learn about the 3 major types of stress and how to deal with them:
Acute stress is the most common type of stress. It’s the type of stress you typically feel on any given day. Anxiety regarding an upcoming test at school, short-term worry about a recent disagreement, or frustration while stuck in a traffic jam are all examples of acute stress.
This type of stress can even be exciting in small doses. The surge of fear before doing something new (such as rock climbing or skydiving) can turn into exhilaration and then tremendous relief and joy when it’s over and you’ve conquered a fear.
The good thing about acute stress is that it’s recognizable and doesn’t typically cause any sort of permanent damage. Short-term effects of acute stress include:
- Rapid heartbeat and pulse, sweaty palms, elevated blood pressure, cold hands or feet, migraine headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sleep problems, and chest pain
- Temporary stomach, gut, and bowel problems like heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation
- Anxiety or depression, short-term
Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic acute stress happens when acute stress begins to become repetitive without any way of integrating it into the body, such as with regular chiropractic adjustments, yoga practice or exercise, and meditation. Several months of not being able to pay bills, a relationship ending followed by the loss of a job or a death, and prolonged overloads at work are examples of episodic acute stress.
Episodic acute stress also occurs more frequently in people with Type A personalities. People considered Type A are typically more competetive, aggressive, and impatient. Having this personality type can lead to experiencing more stress, more often.
Although this type of stress is similar to acute stress, the prolonged stressors that come with episodic acute stress have lasting effects such as:
- Muscle issues: tension in neck and head, headaches, back and jaw pain, pulled muscles and tendons
- Compromised attention, more difficulty processing thoughts, and mental fatigue
- Anxiety and depression; insomnia and irritability; feeling short-tempered, tense, and angry
- A compromised immune system leading to frequent and prolonged periods of illness
- Difficulty maintaining relationships within the workplace, home, or family
Of the different types of stress, chronic stress is the type of stress we see causing long-term or permanent damage to the body and mind, if left untreated.
Chronic stress occurs when one feels they’re trapped in a situation. Living in poverty, a dysfunctional marriage, a crumbling business, dealing with long-term diseases, and/or suffering from addictions are examples of living with chronic stress. Chronic stress can also originate with a traumatic event (such as PTSD in war veterans and survivors of childhood abuse).
While chronic stress can be overcome with proper treatment, it’s often a long and slow road to recovery that may require medical attention. Some effects of chronic stress include:
- Long-term depression and feelings of hopelessness, chrinic insomnia
- Permanent damage to parts of brain such as the prefrontal cortex and limbic system
- Neurological disorders
- Development of cancer, diabetes, autoimmune syndromes and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders, cardiovascular dysfunctions
- Death through suicide, stroke, and heart attack
When dealing with chronic stress, the beginning of healing is recognizing that one is experiencing it. Small changes, such as getting regular chiropractic adjustments, beginning a meditation practice, doing daily yoga or walking/jogging, getting outside in nature by birding or gardening, eating a healthier diet and staying hydrated, might be just what you need to integrate your stress and begin to find ways to alleviate it.
Contact Chiropractic Family Wellness Center
The health crisis the world has been in these last few months has caused stress for all of us. By getting regular chiropractic adjustments, your body can integrate the stress and your nervous system, and health, will not have to suffer as a result. Give Chiropractic Family Wellness Center a call at our Scarborough, Maine office today to set up your appointment: (207) 883-5549.