Are you STRESSED?
Read on to find out how it might be affecting you and your kids…
Have you ever wondered why people who suffer from chronic back pain are 250x more likely to also suffer from depressive disorders?
Chronic exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline, whether it occur during the prenatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood or aging has an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health .
The effects of chronic pain can have a compounding stressful effect on us throughout our life and affect the brain, behaviour and cognition. During times of stress, activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stimulates excess production of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids which can influence the brain and behaviour.
Even exposure to prenatal stress can increase reactivity in the brain of an infant post-birth initiating the retention of different primitive reflexes including the Moro reflex, which has been associated with hyper-activity, difficulty with new sensory experiences, impulsive behaviour and anxiety in children .
The effects on the brain, behaviour and cognition emerge as a result of the timing and duration of adverse stressors in relation to our epigenetics and previous exposure to adverse stressors.
If you feel as though stress may be affecting yourself, one of your loved ones or someone you know, have a chat to one of our Chiropractors to see if we can help manage your stress with some of our many available techniques.
1. NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. Management of people with acute low back pain: model of care. Chatswood; NSW Health; 2016. 39 p
2.Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience, 10(6), 434.
3. Blythe, S.G., Beuret, L.J. and Blythe, P., 2009. Attention, Balance and Coordination. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Recent findings suggest that nervous system development and brain growth may be linked with movement and sensory input. The findings suggest that “mobility restrictions or insufficient sensory stimuli impact the production of new brain cells and brain development… “
Two recent studies (1, 2), exploring neurogenesis in the presence and absence of either movement restriction or visual restriction, were performed in zebrafish – a popular and well-known choice for modeling human biology in a controlled research setting. While these findings have not yet been tested in humans, they clearly suggest the possibility that movement restrictions in the postnatal stage may be critical to brain development in vertebrates including humans.
These two new papers suggest that should motor and sensory input be suboptimal in the early developmental stage, then the process of neurodevelopment as a whole is diminished and the authors show evidence that if nerve and brain development is compromised, the resultant deficit may never be overcome (1, 2).
Let’s consider a study by Keil and Fludder that described reduced range of motion present at birth (3). In this study, reduced range of motion was found in:
76.1% of infants born vaginally without intervention
75% of infants delivered with forceps
88.9% of vacuum-assisted deliveries
82.3% of infants born via caesarean section
While the sample may be slightly skewed given it was taken from a paediatric chiropractic clinic, it certainly shows that there is a population that suffers from reduced range of motion immediately following birth. Further, plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is found in up to 46.6% of infants (according to a 2013 estimate) and this itself may result in motion restriction or motion asymmetry (4).
Research conducted by Dr. Heidi Haavik, Dr. Kelly Holt and the New Zealand College of Chiropractic has illustrated over and over again that sensorimotor integration (brain processing of movement) is clearly and positively impacted by the chiropractic adjustment (5).
If you or especially your Child has reduced movement it is worth getting checked out.