The content of this article is taken from an in-depth interview with Dr. Steve Hoffman. These are Dr. Hoffman’s words.
#1 Physical Stress: Damaging Movement
Damaging movement occurs when you use your body inefficiently and cause unnecessary stress and strain on your musculoskeletal system. Simply reaching to get a glass out of a cabinet incorrectly eventually causes overload in your neck and shoulder muscles that lead to pain, headaches, and more. Pain is stress and the stress message equals body breakdown. The stress response related to pain is well documented and even affects your ability to think clearly.
But interestingly, you don’t have to have pain to have physical stress. A blocked or stuck joint can do the same thing, as well as any joint that is not in good alignment with it’s neighbour.
The central nervous system (CNS) likes it when your joints are in their most balanced and congruent positions. And as a bonus when you have good alignment, you experience much less damage if an unexpected load hits your system (like a fender bender or a trip and fall).
With good alignment and muscle balance, you can more easily dissipate that force so you don’t get injured, or at least not as severely.
#2 Nutritional Stress: Sugar, Refined Carbs And Omega 6 Fatty Acids
When it comes to the nutritional stress piece,probably the biggest source is too much sugar and refined carbs. These “fast carbs” cause your blood sugar to spike and fall. And when it falls hard and fast, your adrenal glands kick into action to release the stress hormone cortisol to get your sugar levels back up.
And if the sugar falls after you’ve gone to bed and your adrenals fire up at 3am, there you sit… wide awake and wondering why.
As a side note, if you find yourself heading to the kitchen a bowl of cereal when this happens, you’re in carbohydrate hell and you must break the cycle.
The other 800 pound gorilla for nutritional stress is too much omega 6 fatty acid intake, usually from grains. These get easily converted into arachidonic acid (AA) in your body and too much AA tells your brain to tell your adrenals to release more cortisol. That’s another example of nutrition induced stress.
#3 Psychological Stress: The Physiology Of Breakdown
Stress physiology is the physiology of breakdown. It’s when your brain senses danger (or any type of potentially damaging situation) and, as a result, it “flips the switch” and changes your metabolism over to a state where energy is diverted to making bullets for the war instead of attending to repair and rejuvenation.
The stress response is great for saving your life is survival situations but when you experience chronic stress and live in “protection mode” all the time. You get sick. You get tired. And life is no longer any fun.
So your main goal has to be to reduce stress from all angles. With our coaching programs we empower you to adopt a new thought system that create the belief that you’re “breaking down” and “getting old”, like you’re often told by your doctors. “It’s just your age, Mrs. Jones!”. Instead, you are constantly reminded that your body is renewing every moment and your cells are paying very close attention to what you’re saying to yourself! Thoughts of stress and replaying painful experiences of the past put you breakdown mode, remember! We offer self-talk affirmations to help you “write over” some of the stressful self talk. It makes a HUGE difference when you become aware of the power of belief and how self talk influences it.
The Effects Of Stress On Posture
Any kind of stress creates a very predictable pattern of muscle imbalance. Dr. Vladimir Janda, of the Czech Republic, who I had the unique experience of working with before he died, was the first person to recognize these patterns in people with neurological lesions like cerebral palsy and stroke. He also had polio as a child so these neurological issues where near and dear to him.
If you look at a child with cerebral palsy, you’ll notice classic spasticity patterns in the muscular system. The thing is, these muscles are the exact same muscles that become tight and tense when your brain and central nervous system perceives any kind of stress!
Dr. Janda identified the “upper crossed posture” and the “lower crossed posture” as classic conditions that occur as a result of these patterns. I simply combined the two together and called it “Crossed Posture Syndrome” or CPS for short.
Crossed Posture Syndrome (CPS)
The upper cross syndrome is associated with tightness in the short muscles at the base of your skull (the ones you use to poke your head at the computer screen) and tightness in the pectoral or chest muscles in the front. When those muscles tighten, their opposite muscles (the shoulder blade depressors and the deep neck flexors) have no choice but to weaken.
This creates the unattractive, slouched forward, head forward posture that lies at the root of most headaches, neck pain, back pain, and even carpal tunnel (along with other arm and hand problems).
The lower crossed syndrome creates a forward tilted pelvis and jams the low back joints together because the hip flexors (the muscles in front of your hip) shorten along with the big muscles in your low back called the erector spinae. This massive compression and tightness pattern then causes a weakness in your abdominals and the gluteals.
This syndrome is classic for back pain, knee pain, hip pain, and even plantar fascitis.
Why Preventing CPS Is Extremely Important
You prevent it to keep from curling up into a little old shriveled heap when you’re 70 or 80 years old! The longer you have your youthful, efficient, pain free posture, the more you can evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to serve your greatest purpose to humankind!
You prevent it so you can have more FUN in you life! To PLAY with more enthusiasm and share joy! That’s why we’re here. At least that’s what I believe.
The great thing about the free “Reverse CPS Now!” series is that you can have immediate changes in the way you feel. You should immediately feel taller, more centered, and less stressed.
The “reprogramming” of your nervous system can take place fairly quickly. It can take as little as 3 weeks to “rewire” a posture program in your brain but it usually takes longer because inevitably, you tend to slip into old patterns as life “triggers” you here and there. The getting “on and off track” means it may take a few months to actually change the neural circuits between your ears.
But as far as actually “remodelling” your tissues to make permanent changes in the architecture of your fascia, muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bones it can take up to a year or more. And the thing is, it’s not like you can ever just quit paying attention to your posture.
You ALWAYS have to keep the intention of growth, renewal, and expansion or else “the matrix” of the world will suck you back in to its stress and protection agenda!
IMPORTANT: Know The Difference Between Active Care Vs. Passive Care
Passive care is what most people think about when they hear or talk about chiropractic. In the passive care model of chiropractic, you come in, get adjusted, maybe get some ultrasound and an ice pack. You really had no “active” participation in that experience. You had something done TO you instead of you doing something for yourself.
It’s the same model as the current conventional medical system. If you hurt your back, you get a pain reliever and a muscle relaxer. That’s passive. (Of course the natural methods of adjusting and therapies are leaps and bounds better than putting toxic drugs into your system!)
BUT… with ACTIVE care, you are taught what you can do for yourself so you don’t become dependent on passive care! It’s interesting that not everybody wants this responsibility. Some would rather just get the adjustment and go on their way without learning a thing. And that’s fine. That’s their choice. We usually refer them out if that’s the case.
Like what you just learned and feeling empowered to restore your mind and body to its natural, stress-free state? Check out this awesome video introducing Dr. Hoffman’s