Anxiety and depression don’t just affect your mood. They can sometimes wreak havoc on your health and create scary physical symptoms. While medications can be used to help treat them, there are a few other holistic methods to consider as well. One of these is chiropractic care. Below you’ll discover more about some common symptoms caused by these two health concerns and how a chiropractor can help you.
This article promotes a controversial theory know as subluxation theory. Subluxation theory claims that adjusting the position of the vertebral bones of the spine can alleviate pressure on the spinal and autonomic nerves resulting in improved organ, endocrine and immune system function. At present, subluxation theory lacks sufficient evidence to be accepted by medical science. As a result, this article does not represent the views of the owner of this website, Scott Carroll, MD nor of the other contributors to this website.
That said, “lacking evidence” is not the same as “disproven”, it is merely a situation with insufficient evidence to make a formal medical recommendation. I also see a chiropractor regularly for adjustments to relieve muscle tension and pain.
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety and depression can be caused by a variety of different things. Stress is one of the main factors behind these two mental illnesses. Stress can be caused by a handful of things, including poor health, family issues, or financial problems. Anxiety comes in many different forms, including social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and medication-induced anxiety disorder.
While both can develop on their own, depression is often a side effect of anxiety. As with anxiety, there are a few different categories of depression. Some of the most common are clinical depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar depression.
What Are Common Physical Symptoms Caused by Anxiety and Depression?
These can cause many physical symptoms.
Weight loss or gain
Is Chiropractic Care Safe to Use for Anxiety and Depression?
This form of holistic medicine is very safe to use for anxiety and depression. Chiropractors are trained in non-invasive therapies that can help not only reduce pain, but improve your mood and make you more energetic.
9 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Help Stop These Symptoms
There are many benefits of going to a chiropractor to relieve anxiety and depression. Below are a few.
It Lowers Your Blood Pressure
If you have anxiety or depression, it can increase the amount of dopamine your brain releases. This can result in high blood pressure and eventually lead to hypertension. In addition to this, increased blood pressure can result in dizziness, insomnia, and even joint pain.
A study done in 2007 showed that participants who had high blood pressure saw a significant decrease in it after having chiropractic adjustments done.
To do this, chiropractors will do adjustments to align the Atlas vertebrae. This is situated on your upper spine and is connected to your body’s circulation. After a few sessions, the tension around the vertebrae will decrease which can result in lower blood pressure.
It Releases Tension
Another way chiropractic care can help with anxiety and depression is to release tension caused by it. Anxiety is known for causing serious tension throughout the body, especially in your neck, shoulders, jaw, chest, and stomach. While it might not be a serious problem at first, it can sometimes end up being too much to handle and make it hard for you to move and even catch your breath.
To release tension, a chiropractor will adjust your spine. While the tension might not be in this area, your spine is interconnected to all body parts. When the adjustment is done, your spine will send out blood to tense areas so they receive oxygen. This can relieve tight muscles in them. It can also calm the fight-or-flight response that causes side effects like increased heart rate, dilated pupils, trembling, and tunnel vision.
In addition to doing adjustments, a chiropractor might also suggest some natural ways to relax. This includes adding anti-anxiety and depression food to your diet (dark chocolate, berries, pumpkin seeds), reducing your caffeine intake, consuming supplements, or attempting yoga.
Many chiropractic offices also implement massage therapy. This has been shown to not only reduce muscle tension, but also promote relaxation. As a massage therapist works on your body, you’ll find that symptoms caused by anxiety or depression will quickly disappear.
One of the best massages to use for anxiety and depression is shiatsu. This massage involves a massage therapist putting pressure on certain portions on your body with their fingers. They will keep the pressure on these points for about eight seconds before moving on to a new one. Some might also place hot stones on your spine to awaken surrounding nerves and muscles.
It Prevents Brain Fog
Anxiety and depression can overwhelm your brain. This can result in brain fog which makes you lose your mental clarity and can make it difficult for you to recollect memories and focus.
Chiropractic care can help stop and prevent brain fog. Your chiropractor will more than likely ask you a few questions about your anxiety or depression as well as your lifestyle to get a better understanding of how bad your brain fog might be.
Once they have done this, they will feel around your spine and upper neck to see if any vertebrae have slid out of place. This misplacement could be the result of the problem because your brain is connected to them. Your chiropractor will then adjust your spine to put it back in place.
By regularly having these adjustments done, it can help clear your mind and prevent future spinal problems that could result in mental unclarity.
It Reduces Cortisol Levels
As mentioned above, anxiety and depression are often caused by stress. Stress is usually because of increased cortisol levels being released throughout your body. If your body is receiving too much of it, you’ll feel extremely overwhelmed and agitated. Due to this, it can often make your anxiety and depression worse.
When a chiropractor adjusts your body, it naturally releases large amounts of endorphins. This will make you feel more positive and reduce your cortisol levels. They can also help you lose weight – something that can be very helpful if you’ve experienced weight gain due to anxiety or depression.
It Balances Your Hormones
Sometimes anxiety or depression could be caused by hormone imbalances. This can result in serious physical symptoms like tension, mood swings, constipation, and fatigue.
If your spine is misaligned, it can hurt your endocrine system – the part of your body that regulates hormones. By fixing this misalignment, it can help the endocrine system function correctly again so your body’s hormones are balanced.
Besides fixing regular hormonal problems, chiropractic care can push out mood-boosting ones. These include neurotensin and oxytocin.
It Boosts Endorphins
As mentioned above, endorphins are a hormone that releases positivity throughout your body. They not only boost your mood, but can actually reduce pain. Studies have also shown that if your endorphin levels are too low, it could lead to depression.
The endorphins that chiropractic adjustments release have analgesic effects. Because of this, any painful physical symptoms caused by anxiety or depression will disappear. Depending on your body type, these endorphins can last anywhere from a few days to an entire month.
These endorphins can also calm neurotransmitters that tend to malfunction because of anxiety or depression. A chiropractor will do an adjustment that fixes this by resetting your brain’s chemistry, especially in your frontal cortex which is the area that often deals with symptoms caused by these two issues.
It Stops Headaches
A common physical symptom caused by anxiety and depression is headaches. Because these two often cause excessive worry, it can create tension in your head. This can result in painful headaches, including migraines.
A chiropractor can heal headaches by doing a few different types of adjustments. They’ll do these as a way to release tension in your neck and around your head. By doing so, it will prevent nerves and muscles from tightening and from creating intense pressure in your head.
If you find that headaches are a common physical symptom for you, regular chiropractic care can help stop them. One study showed that consistent visits to the chiropractor can relieve migraines and the extra side effects they come with.
It Heals Insomnia
Insomnia is a serious side effect caused by these two issues. This is because your body is releasing adrenaline caused by fear which can keep you awake. In addition to this, if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression it can lead to you developing insomnia.
For those who have these issues, your body might not produce enough melatonin. This natural chemical indicates to your body when you need sleep. If you have anxiety or depression, your melatonin levels probably aren’t enough.
To help with this, a chiropractor will perform adjustments that fix your central nervous system. This system is connected to how your body produces melatonin. By doing so, it will help your body to produce and release more melatonin so you can sleep.
It Could Completely Heal Them
If you want to naturally heal your anxiety or depression, chiropractic care might be able to help completely fix it. While this might not be the case for everyone, regular visits have proven to have very positive results.
For those who also need to take medications to help with their anxiety or depression, you’ll find that chiropractic care can work alongside them as well. In fact, it can often increase their positive results because the adjustments improve your immune system and neuromuscular health. In addition to this, you’ll find that chiropractic care can help prevent some of the more unpleasant side effects of medications, like fatigue and nausea.
Anxiety and depression not only affect your mental health but come with a variety of serious physical symptoms. Chiropractic care can help relieve many of these issues and even potentially heal the anxiety and depression you’re suffering from.
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using services including chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical therapy designed to help Anchorage and Juneau patients receive long-lasting relief.
He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.