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What leads to stress & what you can do about it?

Tony O'Brien registered osteopath with 10yrs plus experience talks about stress & what you can do about it.

Stiff shoulders, aching back, sore neck and tension headaches are not the only consequences of too much stress. It can also lead to digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn, cardiovascular disease, migraine, joint pain and low energy.

The nervous system can be divided into two parts, the voluntary and involuntary. The voluntary part of the nervous system is the conscious part. So, if you decide to pick up a newspaper and turn the pages you have consciously used the voluntary part of the nervous system. The involuntary nervous system controls your heart, lungs, digestive system, eye movements and a whole host of other functions. When you are reading the newspaper you don't have to think about what your heart is doing or about digesting the last meal. Fortunately this is done automatically.

This involuntary part is divided again into two parts, the sympathetic and para-sympathetic. The para-sympathetic works when the body is resting and digesting. It allows food to digest and be assimilated. It works to help the body repair, grow and repair. The sympathetic part is responsible for the fight or flight reaction. Suddenly being chased by a wild animal your sympathetic nervous system kicks in to get your body out of trouble. Your heart rate increases, you are more alert, you breath harder and deeper and blood is diverted away from your digestive system to your muscles.

Chemicals are released that liberate sugar stores so they can be used as immediate fuel. While the sympathetic part works, the parasympathetic shuts down, diverting energy to help you cope with the crisis.
So the sympathetic nervous system helps you get out of trouble, so what's the problem? The problem occurs when stress is continuous. Chemicals released by the adrenal glands start breaking down protein sources within the body to release energy and prevent the formation of new tissue. The immune system is also suppressed leading to poor control of infections and colds. With the sympathetic system dominating, the rest and digest part cannot function to help the body grow and repair. If this continues the stress becomes chronic and the body goes into a state of exhaustion leading to symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, asthma, migraines, recurring colds and fatigue.

Stressful situations also cause muscle tension. If your muscles are continually tense then this starts to deplete the bodies energy. Tense muscles reduce local blood and fluid flow leading to sore muscles. These muscles then become painful which in turns leads to more stress and a viscious cycle ensues.

In order to treat stress you need to relax. Relaxation of both the mind and body is needed. An overactive mind will find it difficult to relax the body. If your muscles are sore and painful then it would difficult to relax the mind. I can offer a treatment program that helps you address the physical side of stress. Helping the body to relearn a more relaxed state, allows the body's nervous system to harmonise and reduce muscle tension. This allows less strain on the heart, improved digestive function, better control of infections, less aches and pains and more energy.

For an appointment with Tony contact the Littlejohn centre on 01-4560300 or for more information see Tony's website


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