Stress — Podcast Interview with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein

Listen or Read Dr. Rubinstein’s Monthly Podcast Interview!

Topic: Stress

Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Gregg Rubinstein’s interview on the razorcast™ monthly podcast.  You can either watch the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcript below.  Enjoy!

Podcast Interview:

RC: Hello everyone, this is Liz Harvey coming to you from our razorcast™  studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you top quality advice from many of the leading expert professionals across the United States.

In today’s episode we are speaking with chiropractor, Dr. Gregg Rubinstein.  Dr. Rubinstein is the founder of 57th Street Chiropractic located in the heart of midtown Manhattan where he has been practicing since 1993. He specializes in pediatric & family care and Dr. Rubinstein is a long standing member of the International Pediatrics Chiropractic Association. He also serves as a board member of Friends of Fresh and Green Academy, a non-profit organization that does extensive charity work in education in Ethiopia.

Dr. Rubinstein is widely considered to be one of the top chiropractors in the U.S. and is also a contributing member of our national network of razorcast™ professionals.

Today we are going to talk about a very important topic: Stress.

RC: Hi Dr. Rubinstein how are you today?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: I’m doing great Liz thanks again for having me on it’s a pleasure to speak with you.

RC: Great, thanks for being with us.

Question 1: Can you describe the different types of stress that people face in their lives?

RC: Lets jump in. Can you describe the different types of stress that people face in their lives?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Oh yes, I can. Stress is a major reason why people get sick. I like to break ‘stress’ down into three different categories. There’s physical stress, chemical stress and there’s emotional stress and those are the three basics.  Physical stress, most people can understand that. We have poor posture, we sit in an odd position all day at a desk or we spend hours looking down at our ipads or our iphones. We play sports or someone takes a fall and they have trauma. Those are physical forms of stress. Also, if I’m playing basketball and someone shoves me from behind, that’s a form of stress to my spine. Anything that can cause an injury will cause stress to the spine and that’s in the physical realm.

Chemical types of stresses are things that are in our environment. I like to talk about air pollution – for one, is a chemical stress, right? Our air is not the cleanest in the world and our body has to spend a lot of time/energy trying to clean up the air that we breathe. Our lungs filter it out and we use all these different things. There are additives; there are chemicals in our food. When people take medication we have to break down those chemicals which are a form of chemical stress to our body.

The last one is emotional stress. Emotional stress is really how we perceive the world. People who don’t get enough sleep; they have a tumultuous relationship with their wife;  or they’re constantly in fear because they have a horrible working condition or their boss is a tyrant or whatever it might be or a co-worker can be making them feel uncomfortable. That is emotional stress.

All these types of stress can have a physical effect on the body in the long run and that’s really how it works. So there are three different types of stress but they all can affect the body in a similar way.

Question 2: What affects does stress have on an individual and their overall health?

RC: Okay and that was going to be my next question. What affects does stress have on an individual and their overall health?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well stress is a huge factor in making people sick and I’d like to explain that in a little bit more detail. In order to do that, I’m going to go back to Basic Psych 101. I hope there are some psychology fans out there because when I talk about this if you’ve studied any psychology, most people can remember that stress really comes from that ‘fight or flight’ reaction and that is really what we talk about with stress.

Most people have heard of that ‘fight or flight’ and if I use a classic example: Let’s say, I’m walking down the street and I turn the corner and all of a sudden there is someone with a knife and he wants my wallet and my cell phone. The first thing that I feel in my body is that “zing” and I start to tingle. That’s the first stress hormone that comes out which is adrenaline. So adrenaline amps up my body and my muscles feel tight and I’m ready. My heart starts to race.  I’m looking, I’m sizing up this guy and I’m like “Maybe I can run away or maybe I’ll have to fight this guy.” That’s where the ‘fight or flight’ comes from. So the adrenaline is now coursing through my body and it’s made a physical and chemical change in my body. Now that’s what happens with ‘fight or flight’ and then I can decide what I want to do.

There is another stress hormone as well and that’s called cortisol. Now cortisol does two things that are very important in the body. The first thing it does is it shuts off insulin. Now the reason it shuts off insulin is because insulin will take sugar out of the body. But if I have to run away or fight this guy who’s got the knife, I need all the sugar in my blood stream so I have enough energy to either run away or fight.

Now the other thing that is interesting that cortisol does is that it shuts off your immune system. Now why does that happen? When you’re in ‘fight or flight’ you’re in survival mode. You’re not in healing mode.

When does the body heal, Liz? When I ask that question, most people understand that the body heals at rest. But when I’m in survival mode, I’m not thinking about resting.

Now I have all these chemicals surging through my body and physical, chemical and emotional stress can all do that. If I’m in a horrible relationship or every time I go to work, it’s super stressful because I’m being berated by my boss, I can go home and just think about my work situation and my emotions will put my body back into that chemistry of ‘fight or flight’ where I have adrenaline and cortisol coursing through my body.  And then again when I think about that situation, it’s going to shut down my immune system, limit my body’s ability to heal and I’m way more likely sick at that time because my immune system isn’t working.

The last thing I want to throw at you is…  I really want you to think about someone that maybe you know (that you’ve encountered) who is really stressed out. Maybe his wife left him, he’s in a bad relationship and he’s in danger of losing his job. That person, when you see them, what do they look like? They are all kind of curled up and they are anticipating all these horrible things and because their mind is constantly in that, they’re constantly producing an abundance of cortisol. And that’s why that person is always coughing, sneezing, sick all the time.

I always make the joke that someone will sneeze in Boston and they’ll get sick in Buffalo because that’s how run down they are. The people who are run down, constantly bitter and angry, are the ones that are always sick and always complaining.

That also leads to that emotional ability of controlling your health and really what’s going on between your ears is really what your body is going to physically express.

So I know that’s a lot of talking and sometimes it’s hard for people to understand that but if you understand that basic ‘fight or flight’ and know how these stress chemicals will make you sick, that’s really going to be an important portion of understanding why the body is healthy and why some people get sick and some people don’t.

RC: Right!  I think a lot of it is about attitude and how you handle stress on a day to day basis.

Question 3: We know we can’t completely avoid stress, so what advice do you give your patients to help deal with it? 

RC: From your perspective, we all know we can’t completely avoid stress so what advice do you give your patients to help deal with the stress that we encounter every day?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well there’s a lot of advice that a lot of people give. Now chiropractic is important in that process but let me talk about a few other things first.

Number one is exercise. So if I’m in that stress chemistry and I have that ‘fight or flight’ process going on and I’m loaded up with adrenaline and cortisol, if I just let those chemicals sit in my blood stream, that’s going to have a really negative affect on how my body functions.

Fortunately exercise will burn up that adrenaline and help limit the amount of cortisol in your body. So exercising is a huge part of keeping your body healthy.

The other part about it is, I know we can’t avoid stress but it’s how we perceive stress and how we deal with it. So meditation is a great way to try and control stress. People need to be guided on medication. You can’t just fold up your legs, sit in a dark room and say “ohmmm” and think that you’re meditating. You know, sometimes it needs to be guided. Positive affirmations to help decrease the amount of stress that people go through.

Yoga combines that mind and body connection because yoga is designed to help you gain control over your body and your mind. We’ve all heard examples of yogis being able to lower their heart rate and lower their respiration rate down really low. So you can actually gain control over the body.

Now chiropractic can help you deal with the physical manifestations of stress. Look, we’ve all been stressed out. Liz, you’ve probably had a cruddy day once or twice in your lifetime and what happens? Some people feel tightness in their neck, some feel tightness in their lower back, some people will get an upset stomach.

Really what will happen is how you manifest those symptoms with the physical part of it is something a chiropractor can help with because if your neck gets really tight, you’re going to pull the bones out of alignment. By realigning them and doing some quick stretching, you can actually alleviate physical manifestations of stress in the body and also help the body re-balance its chemistry because again we are dealing with the nerve system.

Those bones in your spine are aligned to protect your central nervous system but if they get out of alignment, they’re going to irritate the same nerves that they are designed to protect and that’s going to add to the problem.  So seeing a chiropractor regularly will help you deal with the physical manifestations, the tightness and all the muscular components of it as well.

Question 4: Are there certain exercises people should do to reduce or alleviate stress?

RC: Okay and then with regard to the exercise. Can you explain a little bit more how the exercise burns up the adrenaline and then what types of exercise? Should it be cardio and really get the heart pumping? Or is just a little yoga and walking okay? What do you recommend for exercises to help alleviate stress?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Great questions. You know, I’d like to just pick ‘e’ for ‘all of the above’ because any form of exercising is good.

One of the most important things to get people to understand is that I can’t say, “You know what Liz, you should get into cycling.” Whatever exercise program you take on needs to be one that is compelling to you –  something that you enjoy doing and that’s the most important key.

Because look, I love to ski; I like to hike; I like to do those things. So those things work great for me. I like to do yoga and I like to meditate and I also enjoy pilates. So any and all exercise will all cause that same physiological reaction to help you reduce those stress hormones, put your body into a better place and make you stronger.

So it doesn’t really matter what specific exercises you do, as long as you do something. And it really should be something you enjoy. So that’s really a matter of searching your own soul and I can’t tell you what do to. I can make suggestions but it really needs to be compelling for you to do it and something that you enjoy.

RC: So it doesn’t have to be intense cardio where you really are sweating for 30 minutes?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: No, it doesn’t have to be a high level of intensity. Absolutely not.  It can be anything that you enjoy. Those things I mentioned are all good for it and those are things that I enjoy and they certainly help me burn those things off. The more intense is, I think, a little bit better. But some people can’t handle intense exercise. I’m not going to tell and 86 year old woman who just lost her husband of fifty years that “You know what, you need to go out there and hike Mount Everest.” It’s just not possible! She might just be going into a pool and swimming or doing non-weight bearing exercise.

RC: Okay this is really good information.

Question 5: What are some ways chiropractic care can help alleviate the effects of stress on the body?

RC: I know you also touched on this question. What are some ways chiropractic care can help deal with the effects of stress on the body? So could you expand on that just a little?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Assisting in the alignment, helping proper nerve system function, will help you better alleviate those symptoms of stress.

When people come in with tight muscles and when they’re under a lot of stress, yeah they are going to have neck pain and back pain. Then, pain is an emotional situation too that can help them spiral further into depression and stress type of situations.

But, seeing a chiropractor will help alleviate the back pain and neck pain which will certainly make everyone’s day brighter. It will also increase nerve system function and allow the body to be more efficient about getting rid of those chemicals and making the body more resilient in dealing with all the stresses that come on there.

So again, regular chiropractic care is great with dealing with the physical manifestations of stress. So those are different parts and you know a lot of chiropractors will help you with nutritional ideas as well and they’ll talk to you a little bit more about your exercise program.

And then knowing if someone has a particular condition, if someone has a herniated disc, well you know what letting that person know that jogging may not be the best exercise for someone with a herniated disc and providing alternative ideas. Really being a sounding board is a great way to really help people manifesting their stress.

Also being able to let people know that “Hey, you know what? Your stress levels are really high; maybe you need to talk to someone.” Maybe they need other therapy counseling and those things and being a referral source for those types of services is also a great way to assist your patients and really limit the effects of stress on their body and their minds.

RC: Absolutely, well okay! Thank you so much Dr. Rubinstein! This has been really helpful information. You have a lot of perspective on the sports, the exercise, the nutrition, and just a lot of ways to deal with stress. So I think you’d be a great resource for a lot of people.

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, thank you for saying so Liz!  It’s an honor to be here as always.

RC: Thank you.  And for our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, you can either go online at  or call (917) 534-6484 to schedule an appointment.

On behalf of our entire team at razorcast™, we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading experts.

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