Pain Hurts, Stress Kills
“The Silent Killer”
The impact that stress – “The Silent Killer” - has on us is huge and it goes way beyond our sensory perception; our ability to sense what is amiss. Its long-term effects are the underpinning of the three leading causes of death in the United States according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control); Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke. In this paper we will explore the three types of stress and the constant threat they impose on our lives. We will also explore what you can do to effectively reverse its effects and what you can do to prevent it from becoming – in your life – what experts are now referring to as
“The Plague of the 21st Century.”
Why Stress Is Called the “Silent” Killer
Those in the Health Sciences have known about the role that stress plays in negatively affecting the multitude of functions that the body performs but not until recently has it been understood just how great its impact has been and the long term effects – until now.
Research data collected by the World Health Organization lists the three greatest causes of death in the United States to be, in order of their impact: Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke. And the numbers, despite the trillions of dollars spent on research and drug manufacturing to deal with them, are on the rise. Because these three silent killers show up without noticeable, detectible symptoms, not even pain, researchers discovered that when people are under a chronic state of stress, the body responds by production of massive inflammation. This then leads to cellular damage and dysfunction.
The kicker is, a chronic state of stress is – you guessed it – silent as well. Our ability to adapt to stress (like taking the battery out of the smoke detector) further complicates the picture and damage proceeds until an event occurs.
Why Symptoms & Early Detection Are Not Enough
I think it worthwhile to take a moment to understand the problem that expecting the presence of symptoms alerts us to the problem and why even early detection is like waiting until the horse is streaking towards the hills having already gotten out of the gate.
In the case of Heart Disease, in 50% of all heart attacks, the very first symptom is sudden death. Clearly not symptom one would want to wait for to know there’s a problem. When it comes to cancer, you can have it for ten years before it is detectible (early detection??) and then even after it has been detected, you may not feel anything unusual. In the case of stroke, the symptoms may be a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that shows symptoms similar to a stroke, typically lasts less than five minutes, and does not injure the brain. That’s some warning!
Add to this the role that poor lifestyle choices make and we begin to see the beginnings of a perfect storm that manifests in ill health and disease. So the question had to be asked; how does stress affect us in such a way as to be the underlying cause of heart disease, cancer and stroke, type II diabetes, obesity. Here is the formula:
CHRONIC STRESS + POOR LIFESTYLE CHOICES = DIS-EASE
Three Types of “Silent” Stress
Typically when we hear people say, or we have ourselves said - “I’m so stressed out!” - we are likely talking about Mental/Emotional Stress; that feeling of being so emotionally overwhelmed with too much stuff-on-our-plate; work, kids, responsibility, the unknown, being asked to do more than we might feel we are able to accomplish and then dealing with disappointment, failure, the “not-good-enough” feelings that can further crank-up our mental/emotional stress. While this type of stress is a big player, it’s not the only type of stress that causes major problems.
There is the problem of Physical Stress at play here as well. Sure, it makes sense that if you are out in the hot sun all day long, digging a trench with a shovel, or moving heavy boxes in a warehouse, or maybe standing at the check-out counter repetitively grabbing goods off the conveyor belt to swipe the code bar that these actions could cause physical stress – but did you know that sitting at a desk on your computer can be just as physically stressful as overexertion?
The problem is humans are designed for movement. Too little and we suffer. Conversely, if we move too much, we can suffer as well. So where’s the sweet spot? Where is that fine line between too little and too much?
Well the truth is that trying to escape physical stress is like trying to escape the force of gravity because gravity itself is the stressor. This is where it gets a little more complicated because there is good physical stress as well, right? Exercise - be it a regimen of specific routines or just getting outside and playing - requires that we stress the body through physical exertion, muscle resistance and endurance. What makes a twenty-five pound weight weigh twenty-five pounds? Answer:
So since we cannot remove ourselves from its constant influence, it is a stressor that both helps and hinders us depending on our physical state or the lack thereof. That is the factor that we can, in most cases, control through lifestyle choices, correction of postural insult and regular evaluation of physical structure/function. More about how that later.
This brings us to the third and according to some authorities; the most insidious of all the stressors – Chemical Stress – because we often cannot taste it or see it, yet it permeates everything we use in today’s modern world. You have probably heard about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Food? No taste – No smell!
Here is an example of an environmental chemical stress you may have heard of; Agent Orange. If you are a Vietnam era veteran or have a family member that served in that part of the world, you probably know that it was a chemical produced to defoliate jungle vegetation, leaving nothing behind except the tainted ground itself. It was used to clear the ground for every base used by the military – everyone was exposed to it. It did its job extremely well, but for many vets, it also unleashed a cascade of physical complications that expressed itself in many ways including cancer.
While some of its effects were cited early on, the rate of cancer was slow and its detection for many came too late and as a result, those who survived combat, ultimately succumbed to the vagaries of that combat because of their exposure to this chemical “weed” killer. Shockingly this chemical is still “Rounding Up” weeds in our backyards, our drive and walkways and line the shelves of many garden shops around the country.
While it is beyond the scope of this report to discuss in depth the problem a growing number of scientists world wide have with both the growth in genetic modification of food sources and the overuse of pesticide on food and at home, I encourage you to further investigate for yourself these forms of genetic engineering and the potential for magnifying chemical insult to our bodies as a result of chemical stress.
All Three Stress Vectors Create A Perfect Storm
Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were all ready ahead of me here, but let me just say it anyway… Mental/Emotional, Physical and Chemical Stress, while we can talk about them as individual entities in order to understand their makeup and sources, the reality is that when it comes to their affect I and on our lives, we have to state without reservation, that they happen all at the same time and further, they profoundly affect each other which means that in the body, they magnify each other and negatively affect our health as well as the lives of those who depend on us.
The three vectors of stress can act very much like the convergence of atmospheric anomalies. When weather patterns converge to creating a perfect storm, it results in the destruction of communities, disrupted communications, obliteration of food and water supply, waste removal and so on. So what does the perfect storm look like when it happens in the body? Very much the same, but on a scaled-down version but the results are eerily the same; disruption, destruction, dysfunction.
The biggest, most glaring difference is, you can see the clouds gathering, you can feel a change in the atmosphere, you might even hear a change in the sound of the wind when the storm is approaching but when it comes to the perfect gathering storm of Mental/Emotional, Chemical and Physical Stress, we are very much left in the dark for the most part.
And if we are attuned to our body to sense something, we often don’t know how to interpret what we sense or, as if often the case, we are too distracted by the immediate needs of the moment to heed the warning signs, thinking them just a random ache or pain that given time, will go away – it did before.
The Five Most Dangerous Words Ever
You may have used them yourself at sometime but just in case you haven’t, here are the five most dangerous words you can say; “Maybe It Will Go Away.”
The underlying cause of anything that is damaging to the body doesn’t simply go away – oh sure, the symptoms might – but the Cause of those symptoms simply (and quietly) get turned down in their volume because our body is the most highly efficient adaptational organism on the planet! Think not? We can live along the equator, darn near at the top and bottom of the planet’s poles and everywhere in between. We adapt on an unconscious, unfeeling level of nerve system function and never get the message.
We are however, not the strongest, fastest, we constantly need food, air, water, warmth, cooling, our sight isn’t nearly as acute as many of our four-legged partners and yet, we dominate the planet with our species (barring bugs and stuff like that, of course, but really… who wants to be a bug other than my little grand nephew and his friends?)
Here’s the point – we adapt so well to our situation that we attain a false sense of okay-ness manifested by the attitude that, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But trusting that our bodies can deal with an infinite amount of those three vectors of stress without it having a damaging effect over time is just as bad as the ostrich which sticks his (or her) head in the sand thinking the lion no longer can see its dinner ready for plucking!
Frustration About To Set In?
If you are feeling confused and frustrated by the revelation that we can’t really depend on how we Feel to inform us of how we Are especially when it comes to the effects of Stress and especially when it comes to your State of Health, then you’re probably ready to hear about how you can know if stress is taking its toll on you (and frankly, everyone else in the family). But before I tell you that, I think it’s important to talk very briefly about what exactly Health is and what actually constitutes Health.
So stay with me, because the reward of knowing the answer to this is worth its weight in gold because knowing what I am about to tell you can save you thousands of dollars – not because I’m going to sell you some pill, potion or lotion, but because the knowledge that I am giving to you without asking you for a dime, WILL save you a ton of money. So either get a pencil out, or use a highlighter, because this is critical –
According to the World Health Organization, they define Health as the following:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
(Emphasis is mine)
Here is another useful definition provided by Dorland’s Medical Dictionary:
“Optimal health requires having 100% body parts, functioning at 100%,
100% of the time.”
Taken together you can readily see that HEALTH is more than just how we feel. Think about it – would you want to feel everything that your body does on a cellular level? Feel every process that your organs do as a normal function?
Frankly, I don’t believe I want to actually feel functional processes like my pituitary gland sitting there in the base of my brain dripping hormones or my eye muscles changing their tension so I can focus or the bazillion other bodily functions doing their job. All kidding aside, if we had to be in conscious control of any of the body’s functions, we would probably still be floundering just outside the primordial soup kitchen at the shores of the ancient sea!
The Most Important Takeaways From This Book Thus Far:
- Pain Hurts, Stress Kills
- Stress is aka “The Silent Killer”
- Stress Manifests In 3 Vectors; Mental/Emotional – Physical – Chemical
- These Stressors Happen All At The Same Time and Magnify Each Other
- Health Is More Than The Absence of (Pain), Disease or Infirmity
- How We Feel Does Not Equal How We Function
Admittedly, this all sounds a bit scary, but my purpose in sharing this information with you is not to scare you, but to inform you. Because I believe that you can’t make decisions about health issues for yourself or family without having good, science-based, clinically proven information to draw your own conclusions and make plans accordingly.
So Let’s Get To It… How Can You Tell?
Bottom line is – YOU CAN’T TELL! Here’s why – We live our life through our five senses; Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste and Smell – all of them can and often do inform us of an immediate danger/threat so we can avoid it - we see the car swerving over the line into our lane, we might hear the rumble of the earthquake seconds before it strikes. We feel the thorn beneath our foot and quickly lift it before too much damage is done. We smell the smoke (if we are awake) and we can taste (hopefully) that the milk has gone bad after three days in the sun.
THE ROLL OF PAIN
Most people consider pain to be a terrible thing, but consider the following before completely dismissing the positive aspects of pain. Consider having congenital analgesia (born without the ability to feel pain) and what would happen if you broke your ankle? Without feeling pain, you would continue to walk on it, damaging the nerves, cutting blood supply, infection would set in, tissue would die, the infection would spread and you would die! Admittedly, this is a rare condition, but you can see that pain sometimes is our only notification that something is wrong.
A toothache, a sunburn, eating tainted food… all of these give us painful warning signs so pain, although something that none of us look forward to every having to deal with, is really about the only way our body has of grabbing our full attention!
But unfortunately, none of our senses alert us to our day-to-day internal dysfunctions and by the time we get the message (PAIN), that dysfunction is at a critical, often times irreversible point in time, ie; cancer, heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, liver disease, etc.
Even with today’s sophisticated medical diagnostic technology, the best it can do is give us a chance to detect how far a disease or process has already advanced. So in all respects, we cannot tell how we ARE by how we FEEL.
A Shift To A Healthier Reality
Sickness care V.S. Health care
Realizing that the approach used in Western Medicine (medical) is one of “Early Detection”, the inevitably choices doctors of medicine have are one of three choices in dealing with a person’s problem; 1) wait until it gets worse; 2) use an escalating regimen of drugs to suppress the symptoms; or 3) perform some sort of invasive procedure (surgery, radiation, chemo, etc.).
Clearly, if we think about it for a moment, we cannot really call what we experience in the U.S., under this type of care regimen, as Health care – It is by definition and its application – Sickness care.
Here then is where the shift happens. It is in the understanding how the body functions as opposed to simply how it feels (experiences itself). It may seem odd, given that we are exposed to so many drug related stories and commercials telling us how NOT to suffer the vagaries of sickness with the use of their products, but the reality of life, my life, your life is we are not designed to be sick. We are designed to be healthy!
How We Get Seduced Away From Thinking Health
We are now exposed to a greater amount of drug related commercials per hour of television viewing today than every before. Our children, from ages 8 to 11, watch on average, 28 hours of television per week. How many drug related commercials do you think they are being exposed to?
Babies are now a major target for drug companies such as Nyquil™ and the tag line infers that by giving babies Nyquil ™mommy and daddy can sleep better – no joke!
According to the publication Bloomberg Business, “…As many Americans enter rehabilitation centers for prescription drug abuse as for ecstasy, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, and heroin addictions, according to a recent study from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America”.
According to an ABC News report, “Medications lead to stress response by the body. We refer to this [chemical stress] as side effects -- makes your stomach upset, or makes your heart beat too fast. Whatever the physiological experience of these side effects can be, stress is the underlying response. There are [other] medications designed to help manage stress -- or help to reduce stress levels that some people [who take these] that have a paradoxical response and actually become more stressed when they take those medications”.
There is a different way of doing things to ensure as much as possible, the continuation of our inborn (innate) health and that is, to refocus attention on how they body’s systems. This is the unique approach that the profession of Chiropractic has taken since its inception in 1895. It may interest you to know, that Chiropractic is a health discipline created here in the United States. Chiropractic is “Home-Grown” and has never faltered from it original position that states, “The Power To Made The Body, Heals The Body.” In otherwords, we all have the ability to heal as a natural consequence of our being here!
How DO I Know If Stress Is Killing Me?
The truth is you don’t. I don’t either. I can’t just look at you and tell if your stress is negatively affecting your ability to lead a healthy life or not. Nobody can. It takes specialized technology – designed originally by NASA to monitor astronauts in space – in order to do this type of evaluation. We have this technology here in our office.
We evaluate the health of your nerve system and your ability to adapt to those three vectors of stress discussed above (Mental/Emotional – Chemical – Physical) by using state-of-the-art Surface EMG, Infrared Thermal Scanning and Heart Rate Variability. The results provide us with a “Core Score” which reflects your present state of overall health. It’s simple, non-invasive and we follow that up with a one-on-one Report of Our Findings to you and your family. We find that when everyone is aware of these results, the outcome of how to change or support those results is critical.
What Do These Tests Tell Us?
As with any “testing”, it boils down to the question, “what does this mean to me, the person with the problem?”
All of the results – this Core Score - shows and tells us where your nerve system is being interfered with, how bad it’s being interfered with, and at what level of your spinal column this interference is occurring. It further shows us which organs, cells and tissues of the body are at risk of faltering in their roll of keeping you healthy!
Once we know what the problem(s) is/are we then create a step-by-step plan to correct it. The length of time it will take is dependent on:
1.How long this nerve interference (the cause) has been present
2. How structurally sound (alignment) the segments of the spine are that have been compromised (subluxated)
3. How frequently you will be required to be adjusted (subluxation correction) until you are showing nerve system improvement
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Quite Frankly – Everything
That’s a big statement but think about it. We live our lives through our nerve system. Anything that interferes with that perfect system leads to a diminishing ability for us to adapt to our environment; Internal as well as External.
Therefore, chronic interference over days, weeks, months or years can only result in a dysfunctional response as a result of the misinterpretation of those five senses. You’ve heard this before: “GIGO” – Garbage In, Garbage Out. And frankly, humans are way more complicated than a computer so the input and output is a more critical factor when it comes to how we perceive the world inside us and out “there”.
I wish to thank you for your time and consideration of what I have written here and trust that this information will help you in making more informed decisions when it comes to making health choices for you and your family members.
I leave you with the following “THOTS” as expressed by one of Chiropractic’s most visionary developers of the profession, Dr. B.J. Palmer who coined the word; “THOTS”. For me, we understand what the word means despite the unusual spelling, and it struck me that another famous visionary, Albert Einstein, expressed the same idea in how we think about life and all its manifestations. Einstein said, “We cannot solve today’s problems using the same level of thinking that created them.” And so here are the words of Dr. B. J. Palmer, Chiropractor, in his thinking different THOTS…
“THE BIG IDEA”
DR. B.J. PALMER, D.C. - 1944
A slip on the snowy sidewalk in winter is a small thing. It happens to millions.
A fall from a ladder in the summer is a small thing. It also happens to millions.
The slip or fall produces a subluxation. The subluxation is a small thing.
The subluxation produces pressure on a nerve. That pressure is a small thing.
That decreased flowing produces a dis-eased body and brain. That is a big thing to that man(woman/child).
Multiply that sick man (woman/child) by a thousand, and you control the physical and mental welfare of a city.
Multiply that man (woman/child) by one hundred thirty million, and you forecast and can prophesy the physical and mental status of a nation.
So the slip or fall, the subluxation, pressure, flow of mental images and dis-ease are big enough to control the thoughts and actions of a nation.
Now comes a man (woman). And one man (woman) is a small thing.
This man (woman) gives an adjustment. The adjustment is a small thing.
The adjustment replaces the subluxation. That is a small thing.
The adjusted subluxation releases pressure upon nerves. That is a small thing.
The released pressure restores health to a man (woman/child). This is a big thing to that man (woman or child).
Multiply that well man (woman/child) by a thousand, and you step up the physical and mental welfare of a city.
Multiply that well man (woman or child) by a million, and you increase the efficiency of a state.
Multiply that well man (woman/child) by a hundred thirty million, and you have produced a healthy, wealthy, and better race for posterity.
So, the adjustment of the subluxation to release pressure upon nerves, to restore mental impulse flow, to restore health, is big enough to rebuild the thoughts and actions of the world.
The idea that knows the cause, that can correct the cause of dis-ease, is one of the biggest ideas known. Without it, nations fall; with it, nations rise. This idea is the biggest I know of.
And now that you know, feel free to give us YOUR “THOTS"?