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Chiropractic Services Maple Grove

Heart Rate Variability
Jen Heupel

Heart Rate Variability

Many people assume chiropractors just help with neck and back pain... but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While we care deeply about reducing people’s pain (and we do), our focus is improving the FUNCTION of your NERVOUS SYSTEM – eliminating any roadblocks in communication between your brain and the rest of your organs, muscles, and tissues so you can thrive in your physical, mental, and behavioral health.

Our sensory nerves (the ones that signal pain) only make up 10% of our nervous system. So how do know if there's dysfunction in the rest of your autonomic nervous system?

Answer: Through three different neurological scans we perform in our office!

Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into one of those scans: Heart Rate Variability (HRV). We’ll cover what HRV is, how to interpret your results, and how to increase your number to have better overall health.

What is HRV?

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) reflects your ability to ADAPT and RECOVER from stress and your environment. It's measured by looking at the timing of your pulse and determining the balance and tension between the two branches of your autonomic nervous system: Parasympathetic (rest and digest) and Sympathetic (fight or flight).

When you have a healthy HRV, it means your body is responsive to both sets of inputs in your autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic and sympathetic). This is a sign that your nervous system is BALANCED, and has a high capability of adapting well a changing environment and performing at its best.

A balanced, high HRV helps you:

💓 Stay calm and collected in emotionally charged moments

💓 Think clearly and logically under pressure

💓 Recover faster from strenuous workouts

💓 Have more energy to attack the day with enthusiasm

💓 Get better quality sleep

💓 Digest your food

💓 Improve your focus

💓 Get up and go when immediate action is needed

💓 Take on more stress without becoming frazzled or overwhelmed

How to Interpret Your HRV Results

If you take a look at the chart above, you'll notice 4 different quadrants, each representing autonomic activity and autonomic balance. If you've had a day 1 assessment or follow up eval at our office, you've gotten to see where your overall HRV score plots on this graph (as represented by the small white dot).

Here's a more detailed explanation (in the form of a car metaphor) of what your score means about how resilient your heart and body are in the face of stress (physical, mental, or emotional) and your environment.

Upper Left Quadrant: Your nervous system is wound up and uptight. Imagine sitting in your car at a stop sign while revving you engine. You probably have lots of energy but are in a heighted state of stress. This can can eventually cause you to shift into an exhausted state and lead to adrenal fatigue.

Upper Right Quadrant: Your nervous system is exhausted. Imagine trying to drive your car with the parking brake on. People in this zone have often drifted from high stress to a sluggish state where they can’t meet demands of life.

Lower Left Quadrant: Your nervous system is in a state of distress. Imagine trying to drive your car with an empty tank and failing brakes. The majority of new patients begin in this region. Lower immune response. Higher inflammatory response. Body stuck in stress.

Lower Right Quadrant: Your nervous system is in a weakened, vulnerable state. Imagine trying to drive your car with brakes that have seized. In this zone, someone has been stuck in a state of chronic stress for so long that their body is physically becoming sick. They have low adaptability and little fuel in their gas tank.

The Green Box (Where you WANT to be):

Ideally, a healthy heart and individual would plot up in the green box along the middle line (indicating a high level of variability between heart beats and balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic sides.)

In car terms, this means you have a fully charged battery (or full gas tank) and can easily switch between your brakes and gas pedal at the right time and speed depending on what traffic looks like.

How Chiropractic Helps HRV: TRT adjustments help guide your nervous system to a place of ease and balance by activating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve stimulates your parasympathetic branch which helps your body feel safe, calm, and relaxed. Over time, you'll see your nuerologial reserves increase so you can better adapt to life's circumstances and experience optimal health.

 

How to Increase Your Heart Rate Variability

We've already covered how chiropractic adjustments can help HRV, but other lifestyle factors can boost it as well!

Learn how to train your mind and body to be as resilient to stress as possible with these healthy habits.

Manage Your Stress Like a Pro

If you're ready to stop feeling exhausted and burnt out from the stress in your life give us a call at (612) 516-3090 or schedule online to get assessed this week. You don't have to go through life with your foot on the accelerator or feeling like your body is holding you back and making everything more difficult.

Things CAN be different. Don't wait any longer to start feeling BETTER!

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