Disease Process

All disease is due to the inability of the body to adapt adequately to stress. Hans Seyle was the first scientist to study the effects of stress on life. He demonstrated in rat experiments the three stages of the physiological processes that occur when a living animal is subjected to stress in all its form i.e. Mechanical, Biochemical, Emotional and Thermal.

The effects of these stressors are normally handled in the body by the homeostatic mechanisms.

Disease Process

The alarm reaction

Initially the body will react to any stress with an alarm reaction characterised by a burst of noradrenalin leading to increased adrenal cortex output, especially of cortisol, which in turn suppresses the hypothalamus by negative feedback thus limiting the response to a short period of time.

The adaptation phase

If the stress continues, the body begins to adapt and the adaptation phase begins to produce changes in the efficiency of the stress reaction. These, as Seyle noted in his original experiments, involved hypertrophy of the adrenal cortex, atrophy of the thymus gland and other lymphoid tissue and ulceration of the gastrointestinal system. The hormonal, the immune system and the gastrointestinal system are the three most common areas where the stress is first manifested. It is important to understand that in the adaptation phase normal health can be restored by removing the cause of the stress.

The exhaustion phase

Continuous stress applied over a period of time eventually leads to a breaking point and the adrenal glands become exhausted in their output. In the exhaustion phase a patient will not be able to recover by simply removing the stress. The only effective treatment for restoring adrenal function in the exhaustion phase is rest and optimal nutritional supplementation to permit the glands to produce their own required hormones. The main hormone to become depleted in this phase is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

The period of time to rebuild exhausted adrenal glands will vary upon the total stress that the patient is under at the time of treatment. Increased energy output and decreased symptoms usually occur within one month but may take three or more months to fully recover. Administration of wild yam extract, saw palmetto extract, magnesium citrate, potassium iodine, chromium picolinate would be recommended. DHEA cannot be prescribed; its long term effects are unknown.

In a chiropractic point of view, the subconscious nervous system compensates and adapts to various stressors, by creating spinal cord meningeal tension, biomechanical misalignments with reactive nerve pressure exerted at different spinal nerve root level. The principle of adjusting through different chiropractic approaches reestablishes the innate subconscious function to bring back the body to Homeostasis and Health.

A few definitions to help your understanding of health concepts


Homeostasis is a state of physiological equilibrium in the living body (temperature, blood-pressure, chemical content etc.) under variations in the environment (Mellonis medical dictionary).

The Nervous System as, ‘the mechanism that enables all forms of animal life to react to the environment. In addition, the Nervous System controls and regulates the activities of all other systems of the body and enables them to coordinate their activities for the benefit of the organism as a whole (Gray’s anatomy).

Chiropractic‘s rationale is grounded in the long-lasting clinical and scientific observation that faulty musculoskeletal relationships can cause nervous system dysfunction.

Chiropractic is able to hypothesize that skeletal disrelations, particularly in the complex spinal structures, can lead to the loss of nervous system integrity and hence the loss of health elsewhere in the body.