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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:

John Ballam, DC

201 Davis Grove Circle, #106
Cary, NC 27519
Telephone: (919) 363-2277

The Spine Responds to Stress:
Physical, Chemical and Emotional

For Dr. John Ballam, founder of Legacy Chiropractic in Cary, and his new associate Dr. Adam Schnebelt, the link between mental and physical health is obvious. “Mind and body are inseparable,” observes Dr. Ballam. “And you have only to witness the impact of stress on the spine to understand that connection.”

Dr. Ballam, left, and Dr. Schnebelt

Dr. Ballam practices the Gonstead Method of chiropractic care, an approach that uses comprehensive testing as the underpinning of chiropractic treatment. “While Gonstead chiropractic relies on precise testing,” he notes, “it also draws on non-verbal cues, observation, and other ‘softer’ sources of information to guide the healing process. In fact, it’s an approach that appreciates the role that mind and emotions play in both hurting and healing.”

His new colleague, Dr. Schnebelt, is also trained in the Gonstead Method. And it’s evident from their conversation about the impact of stress on the spine that the two share more than a similar method of care.

“People think about physical stress when they think about chiropractic care,” notes Dr. Ballam, “but stress takes many forms, and we find that physical, chemical, and emotional stresses underlie most spinal issues.”

Health&Healing: How do those factors affect the spine?

Dr. Schnebelt: Our primary focus is on the health of the disc itself. And stress has a huge impact on disc health. Physical stressors are what brings most patients in here. This is when they remember a fall or accident, or even just admit they have bad posture. Whether acute or chronic—those stressors impact spinal health.

Dr. Ballam: Right. Chemical stress comes down to your environment—pollutants, toxins, and the foods we eat all affect spinal health. Perhaps the best example of this is the importance of water. The discs in between the bones of the spine are spacers and when they get dehydrated, they shrink—which can lead to conditions like stenosis. Hydration helps prevent what could become irreversible damage.

The emotional piece is something most patients aren’t so in tune with, but it’s critically important. Probably the biggest contributor of all to spinal problems—aside from being in an accident or a fall—is chronic stress.

Free Posture Assessment

“A posture assessment,” says Dr. Ballam, “is an invaluable tool in chiropractic care. It provides a baseline against which to evaluate future problems. That is why,” he says, “we offer a free digital pos-ture assessment and free consulta-tion to assess imbalances and risks.”

To schedule a free initial consultation and posture assessment, call:
(919) 363-2277.

Unrelenting stress strains the nervous system, putting you in a constant “fight or flight” state. And that literally can pull the spine apart and physiologically affect the whole body. It can increase your heart rate or make your blood pressure go up. It suppresses hormone function and can even prevent your body’s ability to repair.

H&H: What else happens with that kind of stress?

Dr. Schnebelt: The really dangerous conditions are the chronic ones. Those are the patients who’ve had to go through so much for so long, that systems break down as a result of the chronic stress.

The problem is actually the failure to adapt to physical, chemical, and emotional stressors. Our bodies are really well designed to deal with such things. We are constantly adapting to protect ourselves from trauma and disease and to maintain our health. But when the attacks never let up, we are less able to adapt, heal, and move on.

H&H: You both are trained in the Gonstead Method of chiropractic; what does that approach offer in terms of dealing with stress?

Dr. Ballam: The Gonstead Method is a particularly effective means of assessing the health of the spine, as it relies on extensive biomechanical testing. We don’t guess where the problems are—specific tools and measurements let us know exactly what we’re dealing with.

And we start by looking at posture—which reveals a great deal about the stress the patient is dealing with. Stress can cause you to round your shoulders and go into this protective, almost fetal position. With posture like that, I’ll see wear and tear on the neck, the cervical vertebrae, the thoracic vertebrae, the shoulders. Just from chronic stress, we see the onset of things such as arthritis.

What’s really cool is that, as you begin to improve the health and posture and position of the spine, it can directly affect mood and attitude. With one patient, we came to her re-evaluation to find her with dramatically better posture. And we also found that her mental attitude had greatly improved, and she reported that she was better able to handle the stress in her life.

In medicine, the main focus a lot times is adding years to lives. But I would say as chiropractors, our philosophy is adding quality to the years of your lives.

Dr. Schnebelt: And I’ll add is that our goal is to get you there as quickly as we can. I often remind my patients that our objective is figuring out the least amount of care necessary to keep them out of the office!

Dr. Schnebelt Joins Legacy Chiropractic

When it came time to expand his practice, Dr. Ballam found a natural fit with another Gonstead method-devotee, Dr. Adam Schnebelt.

A North Carolina native, Adam Schnebelt is, like Dr. Ballam, trained in the Gonstead Method of chiropractic, an approach fostered in his studies at Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, SC.

“The ‘why’ of choosing chiropractic,” explains Dr. Schnebelt, “evolved throughout my time at school. I did not have a miracle story like some people, however what I did have was my definition of health. I knew that there had to be something other than taking pills and masking symptoms. There had to be a cause that spurred the symptoms in the first place.

“Hippocrates, who is known as ‘the father of western medicine’ once said, ‘Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.’ This quote is in line with the philosophy of chiropractic, which is that the power that made the body heals the body. Our bodies are designed to do amazing things, and most importantly they are designed to adapt to thoughts, traumas, and toxins. Unfortunately, we can only handle so much. Once our bodies reach that tipping point, and we begin to fail to adapt, then the human body starts operating at less than 100 percent. If we operate at less than 100 percent then we start compromising, and eventually we break down (symptoms show up).

“In my view, chiropractic gives humanity its best shot at operating at 100 percent by looking to the spine, adjusting, and letting the body heal on its own. This is an above, down, inside-and-out approach to health. This belief is my ever evolving ‘why’ of choosing chiropractic.”