Can Chiropractic Help Alleviate Anxiety?
Many people of all ages experience depression and/or anxiety, whether on an occasional, frequent, or consistent basis. These symptoms may be transient, only occurring at a particular stage in one’s life, or they may represent a specific condition such as a depressive disorder or a panic disorder.
Panic disorders are characterized by attacks of anxiety and overwhelming fear known as panic attacks. During a panic attack, a person may experience pounding or racing of the heart, breathing problems, dizziness, weakness, chills, and nausea. Additionally, during a panic attack a person may experience a feeling of being out of control and a feeling of impending doom.
Chiropractic care has a distinct and specific role to play in the management of panic attacks. Spinal bio mechanical dysfunction and spinal nerve irritation may be implicated in the causation of panic attacks, as such dysfunction and irritation can heighten physiological stress and participate in triggering feelings of anxiety. In other words, if your body is already on high-alert status owing to internal bio mechanical stress and neurophysiological irritation, then emotional and/or environmental triggers can more easily shift your adaptive responses into panic mode.
Regular chiropractic care helps one avoid such detrimental, cascading effects by detecting, analyzing, and correcting sources of spinal biomechanical dysfunction and spinal nerve irritation. By helping reduce baseline levels of internal physiological stress and restoring improved function throughout the body, regular chiropractic care helps mediate one’s response to anxiety-provoking phenomena. It also helps alleviate muscular tension and pain and improve the functioning of one’s cardiorespiratory, gastrointestinal, immune, and hormonal systems. Regular chiropractic care helps one gain higher levels of health and well-being as well as reduce the overall frequency and severity of panic attacks.
Engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a nutritious diet and participating in regular, vigorous exercise, assists regular chiropractic care in improving one’s health. Daily nutritious food intake enables your body to work properly. Nutritious foods help build strong cells and tissues and help remove toxins that accumulate from metabolic activity. Regular, vigorous exercise could include doing at least 30 minutes per day of activities such as walking, running, bike riding, swimming, and weight training on a five-day-per-week schedule. These healthful action steps work together to provide more energy, more restful sleep, and an overall positive mental attitude. There may also be unexpected benefits as your body and mind begin to work in harmony. Overall, the combination of healthy lifestyle activities and regular chiropractic care helps to optimize how your body works and reduces the impact of potentially anxiety-causing internal and external stressors.
Metzler DH, et al: Anxiety Disorders in Primary Care. Prim Care 43(2):245-261, 2016
Locke AB, et al: Diagnosis and management of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults. Am Fam Physician 91(9):617-624, 2015
Williams JW Jr, et al: An Overview of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Anxiety and Depressive Disorders: Supplement to Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports, 2011