Australian Chiropractors Urge Reduction in Emotional Stress to Help Spine

From the Australian news service “F2 Network” comes an article that informs people that emotional stress can have a negative effect on the spine. The article, dated January 6, 2003 quotes Dr. Anthony Coxon, President of the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia (Victoria) who says, “While most people understood that physical stress can cause back pain, emotional pressure can also affect the spine. Many people think of back problems as being the result of physical knocks, bad posture and lifting things the wrong way. But all emotions will trigger a response in the nervous system. In particular, emotional stress can result in back and neck pain caused by vertebral subluxations (partial dislocations).”

The article notes that vertebral subluxations happen when the bones of your spine are locked in an abnormal position and interfere with the correct functioning of the nervous system. Dr Coxon said a recent study showed a direct link between psychological stress and increased loading on the spine, but that the effects vary from person to person with “introverts” being affected the most.

Dr Coxon explained how the study was conducted. “Participants in the study were hooked up to a lumbar motion monitor and automatic blood pressure and heart rate monitors, then asked to lift an object five times.” Dr Coxon continued, “Participants were also required to fill out personality profiles. Before each experiment was completed, the session was interrupted and the tester left the room.” He then explained that during the first stage the tester was friendly and encouraging, but on return they became agitated and highly critical of the participant.

“The introduction of stress into the activity had significant detrimental effects on the spine and surrounding muscles. There was an immediate increase in muscle activity and load on the spine.” Dr Coxon said the study showed that the effects of stress varied according to gender and that ‘introverts’, ‘intuitors’ and ‘thinkers’ bore the brunt of the pressure.