Cortisol is your brain’s enemy.
When cortisol rises in your body it damages both your body AND brain.
To your body even a mild increase in cortisol will:
- increase the production of fat
- slow down your digestive system
- increase your heart rate
- pull blood away from your arms and legs
As horrible and damaging as that is to your body, there is an even greater damage to your brain when cortisol rises.
To your brain the effects of cortisol include:
- damage to the hippocampus decreasing memory and learning
- decrease in the production of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin (your HAPPY HORMONES)
- damage to the amygdala increasing the sensation of fear and worry
- increase in the production of vasopressin (blood pressure hormone)
Minimizing the release of cortisol in your body is KEY to living a happy and healthy life.
So how do you do that?
Well, we have both external and internal stressors that cause cortisol to surge in our bodies. We all know about the power of external stress, but did you know there are many internal stressors that can cause as great of a stress response as external.
Today I want to about a MAJOR INTERNAL STRESSOR that is causing a surge in CORTISOL to your brain and you may not even be aware of it.
It’s damage to your spine.
So many of you are sitting all day causing lasting damage to your spine. We see it all the time in my office. Changes in spinal curves, rotation of individual bones, and degeneration that has been happening for years.
The problem is that most people don’t even think about their spine until they have pain, but your spine has one of the most important jobs in your body.
- Your spines job is to protect your spinal cord.
- Your spinal cords job is to communicate information from the body to the brain and vice versa.
- Anything that damages the spine damages the spinal cord.
- Any damage to the spinal cord sends a stress response to the brain.
- The brain responds by increasing cortisol.
- An increase in cortisol causes all the effects I wrote about above.
And all of this can happen without you having any back or neck pain.
This is why a chiropractic adjustment is so powerful to your brain. When you remove the damage to spine the spinal cord stops sending signals to the brain and the brain stops secreting cortisol.
And we are seeing this result on brain scans!
A 2011 study done in Japan showed that after receiving one chiropractic neck adjustment, patients had altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. They also had significantly reduced cortisol levels, indicating decreased stress.
A 2014 study done out of New Zealand put electrodes on the brains of patients to see what part of the brain a chiropractic adjustment stimulated. What researchers found is that the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) of the brain had increased activity after an adjustment. The PFC is the boss of your brain and is responsible for dopamine production (your happy hormone) and your brains ability to perceive possibility. The PFC is the goal setter and dreamer.
I did a FB Live on the science behind your brain and stress. You can see it below.
So go see your chiropractor today and get a surge of happy hormones!
Have an awesome day!