Stress and osteopathy

The month of December, the frantic race for gifts, the tumultuous organization of festivities, the setting up of decorations … If Christmas and the end of year celebrations are in principle synonymous with joy, they also often rhyme with stress and anxiety. Do not wait to let them settle, them and their consequences on your body, consult your osteopath.

What exactly is stress?

Stress is certainly the evil of the century in our Western societies. It is the direct consequence on the body of one or more external aggressions: overwork, pressure, conflicts, physical or psychological trauma … It is divided into three different phases.

First comes the alarm reaction, just after the disturbing element. A wave of the hormone, adrenaline, flows through the vascular system. It will lead to an acceleration of most of the vital functions, in order to allow the escape: increase in heart rate, acceleration of breathing, increase in blood pressure and finally, increase in muscle tone …

After the moment of shock, what is called the resistance phase sets in. The body will come to fight against its own defense mechanisms: it will want to fight and inhibit the stress generated by secreting a second hormone with an anti-inflammatory role, cortisone. This step is crucial because it determines whether the stress is resolved or not. Either the processes put in place prove to be effective and everything is back to normal, or they prove ineffective and / or the attacks are repeated and thus, the stress sets in for a long time. We then enter a chronic phase: the stage of exhaustion.

The entire nervous system turns primarily to one goal: “to survive under stress”. This is in principle when patients come to consult for osteopathy. Without knowing that stress is the cause, they want to relieve digestive disorders, back pain (low back pain, back pain, neck pain) or even sleep and mood disorders. Indeed, at this stage, the body expends a phenomenal amount of energy every day to fight against stress, which gradually leads to an exhausting vicious circle.

What are the consequences of stress?

  • The cardiovascular system has an abnormally increased activity to increase blood circulation to the muscles. In the long term, symptoms of palpitation or cardiovascular problems may appear.
  • The digestive system will work with difficulty. During stress, the body will put its priority on the cardiac and musculoskeletal system and thus, digestion becomes poorer. Functional digestive disorders will thus begin to appear: intestinal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gastritis, etc.
  • The musculoskeletal system will also undergo changes: muscular tensions are entered by the nervous system which floods the muscle with information, leading to hyperactivity and therefore to spasms, contractures and other muscular pains which would explain back pain or thoracic.
  • The immune system is also modified, due to the anti-inflammatory action of cortisol. The defenses become less effective and the terrain becomes conducive to infections, especially ENT.
  • The urogynecological system can also be disturbed, due to the change in the tone of the muscles of the bladder and perineum. The individual may then experience disturbances such as delayed menstruation, dysmenorrhea (pain during periods), fertility disorders, urgent urges to urinate …

What can osteopathy do?

The osteopath can thus intervene as much during the first two phases of stress as when the stress has set in more chronically. It is obviously more interesting to prevent the onset of the consequences and symptoms of stress, to return to the eternal “prevention is better than cure”. It is thus advantageous for the patient to come and consult, upstream, at the time of stressful events, such as examination sessions, conflict situations or even during festive periods as we know them these days. -Here … This with the aim of coming to regulate the neuro-endocrine system, by osteopathy, so that the first two stages of stress take place without hindrance and that the hormonal mechanisms of stress do not enter a vicious circle leading to stage of exhaustion.

However, don’t worry, it’s never too late! If, like many patients, you are already in the chronicity stage and already have some of the symptoms listed above, all is not lost, of course. The osteopath will be able to come and act on the symptoms that you present, by regulating the muscular hyperactivity and the hypersensitivity of the organs, by working on the affected structures and their environment. Likewise, the balancing of the neuro-endocrine system and in particular of the neuro-vegetative system which controls the so-called “stress” and “calm” states, will be an important aim of the treatment by the osteopath in order to allow you to get out of this state of chronicity.

Thus, coupled with the practice of a sport, breathing or relaxation exercises and overall a better hygiene of life, osteopathy is a real contribution to prevent the undesirable effects of stress or, at the very least, to manage the consequences. to return to a state of well-being. Don’t wait any longer to get hurt.

Text: Camille Bondil Osteopath