Are you stressed out? Stress or pressure will burst pipes but also create diamonds. We all deal with it on some level. The current thought is that we now deal with more stress than at any other time in history. But do we really? Every generation seems to have their own unique brand of stress. If you think about it at this time in history we (meaning those of us living here in the U.S.) for the most part live in relatively non stressful times. Compared to say our pre-historic ancestors who were constantly foraging for food and were actually on the dinner menu, or being sent to a Nazi concentration camp, I don't know. I think I'd take being yelled at by that jerk boss or wonder how I'm going to manage getting the kids to soccer practice and make the dinner party any time. Not to say that we don't at times face truly adversarial situations. Being diagnosed with cancer would definitely qualify as real stress. I think as do many top researchers that what may be the bigger problem is how we physiologically manage stress. Again, stress is how we grow and adapt. You get stronger by stressing the muscular system. It's when the body can't handle the stress that we break down. A very real and interesting component of this has to do with joint integrity. We know that the joints in our bodies need to move. Actually they need to move around what's called the X,Y,Z axis (which is an engineering term) and axial longitudinally. When a joint is restricted in any of these movements problems arise. Let's use the small bones in your feet as an example. You can't consciously move these bones in all the directions they need to move but if they for what ever reason become "stuck", they will alter your gate pattern and create potential foot, knee and even low back pain. In the area of the lower cervical and upper thoracic spine you have a series of nerve bundles called the sympathetic chain ganglion that run adjacent to that area of the spine. This is part of the sympathetic nervous system or The Fight or Flight system. Joint dysfunction in this area cause irritation to this system. Basically causing over secretion of various stress transmitters such as adrenalin, and cortisol. Meaning that your living in a stress response. Your constantly running from the Saber Tooth tiger that's not really there. One of the most common culprits contributing to joint restrictions is sitting. Any muscle contracted longer than 20 minutes starts to stay contracted in that position. This dose not happen over night but day in day out it takes it's toll, and we all sit too much. Even those who don't have desk jobs suffer from this condition. We drive, we sit in front of computers, we all went to school. The result is that the front of our bodies are to tight and the back of our bodies, (the posterior chain) become neurologically inhibited). Meaning the muscles are not firing in the right sequential order. As a result the joints tend to become fixated. The solution, quit your job and move to a tropical island where you can move around all day and play.......Aside from that there are several things you need to do. First, try to avoid sitting any longer than 20 min. Get up and stretch for a few seconds. Second, do strength building exercises to address the posterior chain of the body. The most important thing you can do is to be evaluated by a chiropractor to determine if those areas of the spine are indeed stuck and get them unstuck. ( I just happen to know a good one). This will allow your body to process the inevitable stress we all deal with much more effectively. This is huge! Every study done on this subject shows that quality of life is reported as much higher in those people who regularly see a chiropractor.