Are You Stuck In Sympathetic Dominance?

Sympathetic dominance is one of the most important and most interesting patterns that we see in our patients. Often referred to as the pusher pattern years ago, as it was noticed in people that tended to push themselves.

Sympathetic dominance is more commonly referred to as fight-or-flight response and while some use of this fight-or-flight system is normal and needed, when it is overused chronically, it becomes exhausted.  Sympathetic dominance is caused by emotional and physiological stress and is an unfortunate side-effect of modern-day living among other things. It supresses digestive, hormonal, and reproductive functions, resulting in other health problems. When our body has sympathetic dominance, we deprive it of time and energy to rest and restore itself. This can leave us with that run-down, depleted feeling – lingering fatigue.  Many people feel like they are chasing symptoms with no apparent link, such as:

. Digestive upsets such as bloating, IBS, allergies, diarrhea & constipation.

. Hormonal imbalance such as weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, PCOS

. Anxiety & depression

. Headaches & migraines

. Vision impairment

. Neurological symptoms 

. Shoulder & neck tightness

. Inflammation

. Gallbladder problems

. Thyroid problems

. Sensitivity to light & noise

. Light sleep & vivid dreams

. High blood pressure

. Increased blood clotting risk

Nutritionally we may see levels in sodium and potassium change and then more complex mechanisms come into play when the adrenal glands become fatigued or depleted. This can be a clear indication for hidden copper toxicity. Other toxic metals, especially mercury, or even toxic chemicals in the body may also irritate and drive us when we want to relax. These also irritate and stimulate the adrenals or the nervous system, perpetuating the pattern.

Physical causes of sympathetic dominance can show in our body as muscle tension. This may take the form of simple tense muscles or it may cause spinal misalignments and other distortions of the physical body and posture. It might also take the form of tight fascia, tight ligaments, bad posture or other structural or physical imbalances.

Correcting Sympathetic Dominance

Nutritional balance is key in correcting sympathetic dominance. We notice those patients with sympathetic dominance often have poor eating habits as they are always somewhat on the run, physically and emotionally. The sympathetic nervous system interferes with their digestion and their elimination, so these areas of their bodies are weakened in most cases. These can be specifically addressed with nutritional guidance and physical therapies if required. Simple lifestyle changes including hydration, feeding well, resting well, moving well, breathing well, and thinking well along with specific grounding techniques are important in repairing. Remembering there are often several pieces to the puzzle – most of us are unable to flick a switch and begin to change our thoughts or mindset immediately, it often begins with getting our health set, our heart set and our soul set first. Find your people, trust your people and stick with your people – consistency brings balance.