The Connection Between Chiropractic Care and Mental Health The mind-body connection can no longer be ignored! That’s exactly why so many people are turning to chiropractic care for mood support and mental health. It may not seem obvious why manipulations in areas of the body like the spine and muscles are connected to mental health. However, it all comes together once you take a holistic view regarding mental health and the nervous system. Let’s explore the way the mind-body link potentially makes chiropractic care a breakthrough treatment for anxiety, depression and other matters of mental health!
Looking at Chiropractic Care Beyond the Lens of “Injuries”
A common assumption is that chiropractic care is only useful if you need help treating pain or mobility issues following some type of injury or accident. Yes, it’s true that chiropractic care is often used in these situations. However, many people specifically seek out chiropractic care to address issues related to mental health and wellness. The link mostly has to do with the way calculated, strategic upper-neck and spinal adjustments actually improve the flow of blood leading to the brain. This can be a very exciting prospect if you’re seeking a way to treat anxiety and depression using a fully natural option that offers many additional benefits for both general health and pain relief.
Researchers are increasingly becoming interested in exploring the relationship between mental health and chiropractic care. A very thorough 2018 study revealed a link between long-term relief from tension-type headache (TTH) and major depression following chiropractic treatment. Of course, the big news is that researchers are now able to monitor noticeable improvements in the function of the autonomic nervous system when chiropractic care introduced. According to one study, the benefits appear to be tied in very strongly with the way removing nerve interference through chiropractic cervical adjustments actually helps to regulate the sympathetic nerves that are responsible for things like the brain’s fight-or-flight response. There are many reasons to be excited about the way chiropractic adjustment may help to activate a “switch” that can allow people to get relief from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
Mental-health issues can take on many forms. Many patients who seek chiropractic care for “mind support” suffer specifically from anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, not enough people are seeking the help they need. It is estimated that roughly 30 percent of people with anxiety disorders go through life without ever seeking treatment. Here’s a look at the common ways that anxiety and depression present physically:
- Fatigue or inability to sleep.
- Muscle tension and stiffness.
- Headaches or migraines.
- Aches and pains throughout the body.
- Inability to relax.
It can be clear to see just how difficult it could be to fulfill all of life’s obligations and responsibilities when suffering from these types of symptoms. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to both treat underlying causes of anxiety and address symptoms. Let’s discuss how some people are able to do this through chiropractic care.
How Does Chiropractic Care Help With Stress and Anxiety?
It’s important to understand just a little bit about what happens during a chiropractic adjustment to appreciate how this treatment route helps with mental health. A chiropractor is looking for areas of the nervous system that may be out of balance. This typically includes any misaligned vertebra in the spine. The formal term form these misaligned vertebrae is subluxations. Next, a chiropractor will use very strategic manipulations to realign the spine. The result is that any nerve pressure that may have been causing undetected stress and discomfort will be relieved. Many patients also find that they experience decreased muscle tension that was formerly responsible for creating a stressful, tense mental state. The relief that comes following a chiropractic adjustment can often help to create an infusion of mental clarity. What’s more, it is also known that the activity that takes place on a biological level regarding hormones during and after a chiropractic adjustment can have very positive implications for mood. Chiropractic patients enjoy the benefits of the release of important “relaxation” and feel-good hormones like oxytocin and cortisol.
You may be wondering exactly how what’s taking place in the spine impacts the experience going on in the brain. The release of the pressure that was being caused by a misalignment actually “unblocks” the passageways in the nervous system to allow for healthy blood flow and unrestrained nutrient flow throughout the body. What’s more, it often relieves a low-grade neck pain that was creating tensions. Many people grow so accustomed to living in a “stressed” state due to neck tension that they don’t even realize that this constant pressure is actually contributing to a tense, stressed state of being.
Beyond Chiropractic Visits
Chiropractic care is always focused on treating the whole body. This is precisely why support for mental health does not and should not end when a chiropractic session does! A chiropractor can help patients to learn some light stretches and breathing tools that can be used at home to provide “maintenance” support for fighting stress and anxiety. In addition, other lifestyle techniques for managing symptoms of stress, anxiety and general mental-health concerns should be discussed as a way to fortify the beneficial work that’s being done at each chiropractic session.
It’s also important to say that chiropractic care does not necessarily need to be a standalone treatment option for those dealing with anxiety, depression or other conditions. In fact, many patients find that combining chiropractic care with things like cognitive or talk therapies can help them to see very positive results using a multidisciplinary approach to mental wellness.
Exploring the Idea of Chiropractic Care as a Treatment for Mental Health
Viewing your anxiety and depression through the lens of the mind-body connection opens up many new possibilities for treatment. If you’re looking to improve your mental health, it is truly worth looking into the benefits offered by chiropractic adjustments. Many patients are surprised to discover just how long they had been living with pain and tension in the body without noticing what was going on once they get relief.