Can chiropractic care help the management of depression and anxiety?
If you believe that depression and anxiety are purely psychological, and have absolutely no connection with the physical body, then you will probably think I am a complete nut. However if you believe that your mind and your body are one, then this post will make sense to you.
Alternatives to the medical model of care
There are many strategies to consider beyond the medical model of care for the management of mental health issues. You may be surprised to learn Chiropractic, Kinesiology, Massage, Bowen, Acupuncture and many other treatments all have a role to play in treating mental health issues.
Chiropractic care is one strategy I use to manage my depression and anxiety.
“Hang on” you say, “Aren’t chiropractors used for sore backs?” I would hazard a guess that most patients who visit a chiropractor do so initially because of symptoms arising from musculoskeletal problems, especially low back and neck pain.
Chiropractic is so much more than adjusting sore backs.
Anxiety is often related to peoples stress, this is occurring more and more with the fast pace, sitting culture we now live in.
Poor posture and muscle tension are often signs related to anxiety.
Chiropractic can help reduce muscle tension and improve posture through the use of spinal adjustments, soft tissue work, and follow up exercises at home. The stress relief alone is of therapeutic benefit and for some this benefit alone may be enough.
That explains the obvious link. Chiropractic adjustments treat physical pain and injury which in turn decreases the stress and anxiety of living with pain. Less obvious are the direct benefits to the nervous and endocrine system.
Beyond the physical
Chiropractic is a holistic treatment which in a nutshell this means that it does not separate the mind and body. It treats the person as a whole. Beyond the physical manipulation of a chiropractic treatment it is important to understand that chiropractic deals with maximizing the health of the nervous system.
Emotional and psychological health are greatly affected with chiropractic care because they are controlled through the nervous system
Improvement in the autonomic nervous system with chiropractic care has been validated in many studies. Specifically, in relation to the regulation of the sympathetic nerves which control the fight or flight mechanism of the brain.
Cortisol (stress hormone) levels have actually been shown to decrease after spinal manipulation.
Studies measuring hormones in blood show that following adjustments people are more relaxed due to hormonal changes in oxytocin, cortisol and a few other important hormones. Other studies have shown improvements in blood flow to the brain following upper neck adjustments. This increased blood flow plays a large role in the healing of and improvement of mental health.
Why NOT choose Chiropractic?
Chiropractors emphasize the importance of healthy lifestyles and do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery and furthermore you don’t need a pesky referral. As a result, this makes chiropractic care extremely appealing to many health-conscious Aussies.
Doesn’t it make sense to try something less invasive and less costly to society than the standard care for people suffering from depression and anxiety? Not to mention other issues such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and other mental health challenges?
The old concepts of mind body dualism are not true at all. Our minds are deeply and organically linked to our bodies
An interesting case study
A study from the early 2000s, published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, followed a 19-year-old woman with General Anxiety Disorder. This patient had dealt with somatic and psychiatric symptoms for two years.
Amazingly, after 4 months of chiropractic care, the patient reported an 80% reduction in her anxiety symptoms and furthermore a 90% decrease in headaches. And perhaps more amazingly, she was able to come off all her medications. Prior to this treatment, the young woman had been on a plethora of anti-anxiety medications, visited many doctors, emergency rooms, and everything in between.
Do NOT sack your doctor!
I am not suggesting for one nanosecond you abandon the current medical model of care for depression and anxiety. I am not an expert in providing medical advice for mental health, therefore this post is for interest and general education only.
Manage rather than treat or cure
If you read my words carefully you will notice I do not profess to treat or aim to cure depression. In my personal experience I have found it much more helpful to manage my mental health fluctuations. The last few months for me have been particularly challenging and in addition I have been most frustrated, (with myself) at the snails pace of my self-recovery.
Regular chiropractic adjustments are part of my personal self care routine. I will say the most noticeable episodes of improvement have been in the days following a chiropractic adjustment. That is enough evidence for me.
The information provided on the Femidist website is intended for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. While the information published on this site is believed to be accurate at the time of writing, it is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the physical or mental health of yourself or your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
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References and relevant links
Case study (above) Medical NewsToday
Well adjusted babies : A personal favorite of mine.