Learn How Functional Medicine Provider in Vancouver WA Can Help with Stress Issues
Functional Medicine for Stress Issues
If you feel stressed, you are not alone! Back in June 1983, Time Magazine ran a story referring to stress as a “Modern Epidemic,” and we have certainly seen a rise in stress levels over the past 40 years. Stress is one of the leading causes of inflammation in our bodies, and inflammation leads to many chronic diseases with research showing up to 90% of all disease is related to stress and inflammation. Chronic stress/inflammation is linked to cardiovascular diseases include stroke and heart attack, emotional disturbances, increased depression, poor wound healing, decreased sleep, and upper respiratory infections. Depression can also increase the risk of heart disease, and one study showed a connection between early childhood trauma/poor treatment of children and increased inflammatory markers, heart disease, and depression in adulthood.
Research presented in a 2018 article shows that stress can cause changes in the gut microbiome that can cause an increased likelihood of developing Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) – both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. This article notes that disruption of the gut microbiome can trigger an immune system response leading to inflammatory-triggered colitis, but the specific mechanisms of how microbiome disruption can lead to IBD are still unknown. It is thought that IBD is the result of an overactive immune system that attacks the GI tract and causes inflammation and ulcerations. We also know that oxidative stress and DNA damage play a role in IBD, and oxidative stress has been linked to the tissue injury and fibrosis that are seen in IBD.
We know that stress is detrimental to our health, but what can we do about it? Years of research have established the benefits of being mindful and practicing techniques that help us relax, including yoga and meditation. In one study, several biological markers were evaluated through laboratory work before and after a 12-week trial of lifestyle intervention using yoga and meditation. This study showed decreases in markers of inflammation and markers of cellular aging, improvements in markers of oxidative stress and DNA damage, and decreased body mass index. If you would rather participate in more vigorous activities, be assured that exercise is effective at reducing anxiety and stress and can make a big difference in your stress level. For people with a current diagnosis of a stress-related disorder, exercise was shown to improve anxiety symptoms. Another study showed that stress-related disorders, including anxiety and depression, improve with exercise and exercise improves the response to stressful situations.
At Functional Medicine Partners and Pain Relief Partners, we see the effects of stress on the physical body on a daily basis. Patients come to the clinic carrying tension in their neck, upper back/shoulders, lower back, and pelvic floor. Some patients have more frequent headaches, burning/tingling sensations, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and irregular menstrual cycles due to chronic stress. Because of the effects of stress on the gut microbiome, we often see issues with GI symptoms including chronic constipation, diarrhea, IBD, nausea, or vomiting. We offer several techniques and treatment modalities to help you manage stress and decrease stress-related symptoms. Our Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) Amber works with patients to identify stressors and work with patients on goals to reduce their stress. One technique she uses is HeartMath to help with heartrate variability and stress reduction. Amber is certified in this technique and able to help you learn adjustments you can make when encountering stressful situations so you have a better response to the stressor. Trigger point injections and chiropractic care also help tremendously with relief of muscle guarding and tension from stress and are covered by most insurance plans.
Want to Know More?
Check out the information on MOVEMENT, SLEEP, and STRESS in the link below. Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach Amber can help you implement changes to meet your goals of protecting your heart and living a healthier lifestyle!
Learn how Regenerative Medicine can help with Stress Issues related to pain on our Regenerative Medicine site