The Emotion-Body Connection
Science has been making some HUGE strides in the last while, in linking emotions to neurochemicals in the nervous system. The same neurochemicals that send messages from nerve to nerve around the body.
And without going into the nerdy science details and minutia, what you do need to know is this: there are chemicals in your nervous system that spread emotion! YES!! There have now been dozens of neuro-chemicals discovered, which are known as Neuropeptides, and they are small protein chemicals that act in the Nervous System as transmitters of information. (you may know them as neurotransmitters) We are not just talking about knowledge or info transmitted, we are talking about feelings.
So imagine this.... you are walking about doing your daily thing, and BAM you stub your toe! And because you weren't looking and slammed it into a wall and it hurts, you get angry at yourself for not paying attention. And the first few seconds you are angry about the toe..... and so your body sends out angry pain neuro transmitters in your toe, which spread through out your body. This pain and anger magnifies as it spreads and soon you are simply feeling angry. The toe pain is gone, yet anger remains. Because your body has now been doused in "anger" neurotransmitters, signalling around the body. This “soup” of tiny hormones or neurochemicals spreading inside of you right now pretty much reflects what you are feeling emotionally.
Most of us would guess that these neuropeptides (things like endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, opiates to name a few) “live” in our brain. Our culture has restricted the concept of emotions to never venture south of the skull. Now here’s the really fascinating thing. Heaps of these chemicals actually live in your spinal cord, and some even can be found around the tiny cells all over and inside your body. What this effectively means is that when you “feel” an emotion, your entire body is feeling it!
In terms of chiropractic, the spinal cord is the switchboard for the transmission of these chemicals and hence the communication-centre of emotion and feeling.
This has three important implications:
1) Your emotions can play havoc with what is happening in your spine. Next time your back goes out and you can’t think of a single thing you did “physically” that could have caused you to tie up in knots: Think about what has been happening emotionally in your life and therein may lay your cause. It's possible that you may be worrying too much about things at the time. It could be a moment in your life when you're bothered by work-related problems, overdue credit card payments, a bad relationship - anything that can cause emotional stress.
2) Your spine can play havoc with your emotions. Over the years we have seen lots of people suffering with what are loosely termed, “chronic pain syndromes”. Some of these people initially suffered a physical injury. Before that point/period of time they were emotionally “well-adjusted”. Now they are depressed or emotionally volatile, plus suffering with any number of other “mental” problems. They are shunted from doctor to doctor and put on antidepressants (and stronger pills), and told that their pain and depression is “all in their mind”. Nonsense! Their physical malfunction has damaged their “brain reward cascade” and is limiting their ability to have any normal emotional ”chemical reactions”. Until their “therapy” includes the spine, they will not see long-term improvements. On a less dramatic level, if your spine is “out of whack”, there is a chance your emotions will be “out of whack” too. If you’re grumpy, ask yourself how long has it been since you had an adjustment before analyzing what you’re worrying about.
3) Occasionally when we start to adjust your spine, you may experience some changes in your emotions. Usually positive ones, but sometimes as you start to peel back through layers of tension in your spine and spinal cord, these levels of tension can trip off memories and emotions attached to the point in time when you first arrived at that level of tension. If you are feeling like your mind is in a state of upheaval, let us know, as this may be due to these “memories” being rekindled. (Sometimes this may mean past unresolved issues may need some additional support.)
Bottom line: If your spine is getting tight – your “nerves” will be getting tense. If your emotions are getting strung-out – your spine will be winding up. When we release your spine – your emotions will relax. When you unwind your mind – your spine will release.
And THAT is why I love being both a chiropractor as well as a Mind-Body expert... because I can help you come at the problem from all different angles, so you can concentrate on getting back your health, Mind-Body and Soul!
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