Sponsored by Allergy Research Group.
These days, patients complaining of increased daily stressors are all too common. We see the physical ramifications of unrelenting stress in chiropractic patients: neck pain, tense shoulders, and adjustments that aren’t holding quite as long as they did previously.
Unfortunately, many of these patients can’t simply reduce their stress, as it’s tied to unavoidable circumstances like work or family. However, there are supplemental things that we, as chiropractic providers, can offer to aid our patients in stress management.
What is the best way for chiropractors to support the patient under stress?
We know that regular chiropractic care can modulate the nervous system. Spinal manipulation alters neuronal communication and processing, which could theoretically benefit the overall stress response of the patient.
But our care should not stop there.
We can provide our patients with the tools to reduce their stress or navigate a stressful time without drastic physical consequences by utilizing lifestyle tools, nutritional recommendations, and even herbs or supplements when necessary.
The importance of sleep
When a patient is operating under high levels of stress, we must support a healthy stress response. One easy way to do this is to check in on a patient’s sleep.
Quality sleep has an inhibitory effect on our HPA axis and our sympathetic nervous system, commonly referred to as our fight-or-flight state. Conversely, restless sleep increases cortisol and norepinephrine levels, further exacerbating the sensation of stress. Counseling patients on tools like sleep hygiene, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and perhaps even offering supplemental aids to help them establish a healthy sleeping habit can make a huge difference in their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function and subsequent stress response.
Gut health and stress
As integrative health practitioners, we must also check in on gut health when our patients are stressed. The brain and the gut are intricately connected, and stress can directly alter our GI function, including modifying pH levels, microbiome makeup, and transit time.
In turn, gut dysfunction can lead to increased stress. For example, our microbiome can directly affect the neurotransmitters and hormones involved in our stress response. Because of this connection, gut health, particularly microbiome health, can be a significant yet often forgotten factor for stress relief.
Where can I find more details about implementing these techniques in practice?
A free guide for patient-friendly stress support
For a detailed description of practical sleep hygiene techniques and the science behind them, as well as an in-depth dive into the gut-brain connection and how to optimize gut health for stress relief, download this free, patient-friendly stress support guide.
In addition to the tips mentioned, it details additional lifestyle modifications, dietary approaches, helpful herbs, and natural supplement protocols that we can use to support a healthy stress response in our patients. This evidence-based guide is created for practitioners and patients alike, with educational material to help your patients overcome their daily stressors and equip you with the tools to aid them on their path.
 Pickar JG. Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. Spine J. 2002;2(5):357-371.
 Rodenbeck A, Huether G, Ruether E, Hajak G. Interactions between evening and nocturnal cortisol secretion and sleep parameters in patients with severe chronic primary insomnia.
 Vgontzas AN, Tsigos C, Bixler EO, et al. Chronic insomnia and activity of the stress system: a preliminary study. J Psychosom Res. 1998;45(1):21-31Vgontzas AN, Tsigos C, Bixler EO, et al. Chronic insomnia and activity of the stress system: a preliminary study. J Psychosom Res. 1998;45(1):21-31..
 Dinan TG, Cryan JF. The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2017;46(1):77-89.
 Lyte M. Microbial endocrinology in the microbiome-gut-brain axis: how bacterial production and utilization of neurochemicals influence behavior. PLoSPathog 2013;9(11).
Author bio from Dr. Meagan Purdy:
Dr. Meagan Purdy is a naturopathic physician and founder of the multi-disciplinary Holistic Health Center of Dallas, where she and her team have helped thousands of patients recover from multiple ailments with a specific focus on anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. She is now the Senior Manager of Scientific Education at Allergy Research Group, has been a recurring guest on the popular morning show, Good Morning Texas, has appeared on multiple radio shows and podcasts, has attended as an expert speaker at numerous medical conferences, and is a regular contributor for many popular health blogs.
Allergy Research Group company bio:
For more than 40 years, healthcare practitioners have depended on Allergy Research Group to provide professional-grade, truly hypoallergenic, innovative formulas for even the most sensitive consumers. As the first company to introduce buffered vitamin C, nattokinase, and melatonin to the US market, we have continued to create quality evidence-based formulas with our team of physicians. We continue to formulate cutting-edge products with some of the highest quality standards in the industry, with a particular focus on creating options for those with chemical sensitivities.