Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on patients with anxiety reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing these patients. The literature included supports the role of chiropractic in those suffering from anxiety and related health challenges and calls for more research in this area.
“Research indicates that minor shifts in the structure of the spine may impact brain function, suggesting that these structural shifts may be a factor in a number of disorders including anxiety. Structural shifts may lead to nerve obstruction and could possibly result in a host of health problems related to mental health” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. Other chiropractic researchers have reported on similar results and reviews of the scientific research reveal numerous other studies that have shown a similar connection.
Research has shown not only that the brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to “feel good” are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.
“It makes perfect sense once you understand the neurological connections between the spine, the brain and how we feel good” stated McCoy. “The seat of human emotion is the Limbic System and we know that this system extends all the way down the spinal cord. By removing obstructions there, things like anxiety and well-being are affected.”
For decades mental health specialists have strived to find an answer for patients suffering from a multitude of anxiety related disorders. We now know many naturally occurring brain and spinal cord chemicals play a role in emotions, anxiety and pain reduction, leading to an increased sense of well-being.
This research describes five patients with anxiety including two women and three men. In addition to anxiety, they all complained of symptoms including headache, neck pain, back pain, high cholesterol, hypertension, and overall decreased immune system function. They all had hopes of reducing their stress and anxiety levels.
The chiropractor examined each of them and found structural shifts along the spine. Other testing and an anxiety assessment confirmed findings. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.
Following chiropractic adjustments, the patients reported improvement in their symptoms. Each showed a reduction in anxiety, reported better immune function, increased energy, better mood, better sleep, and decrease in stress.
The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.