You may think of a full-service chiropractor as someone simply cracking your back and sending you on your way. While chiropractors manually adjust your spine, they also diagnose your pain points and devise a strategy to improve your physical and mental health.
This article discusses the ways chiropractic care improves your mental health. Many people don’t associate chiropractic treatments with mental health benefits. However, many studies clearly show their effect on the brain with things such as reduced muscle tension, improved blood flow, and increased hormone production.
However, the stages of chiropractic care should not be thought of as a fix-all solution to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It can be a viable supplemental therapy but should never be used as a replacement for psychological treatment.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Chiropractors are certified professionals who treat patients by performing spinal adjustments (as well as other therapeutic techniques) to relieve chronic back pain and severe headaches.
These professionals can also help diagnose and treat neuromuscular disorders. They use manual adjustments to correct misalignments and improve the body’s overall function.
How Does Chiropractic Care Work?
Chiropractors first diagnose their patients to identify which areas of the nervous systems are imbalanced or misaligned with your vertebra.
After diagnosing your condition, the chiropractor will use manipulation techniques to align the spine and relieve nerve pressure causing undetected stress and discomfort. These manipulations also decrease muscle tension that causes stress and anxiety.
Increased mental clarity often results from reduced tension and it can offer immediate relief from mental illness symptoms. It can also result in increased hormone production, such as oxytocin and serotonin.
What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care?
Spinal alignment impacts your entire nervous system. When improperly aligned, it places pressure on the brain, thus disrupting your chemical balance and neurological health.
Chiropractic sessions can increase production for the following hormones:
- Neurotensin– stress-relief
- Oxytocin– feelings of social bonding
- Cortisol- pain neutralizer
These hormones affect both your physical and mental state and are critical to maintaining overall health. But let’s look at some other chiropractic care benefits.
Improved Blood Flow
Improved blood flow means results from your muscles relaxing after chiropractic care. Spinal manipulation allows the blood to flow more freely through the body.
Increased blood flow not only relaxes your muscles- but also decreases your blood pressure. The reduced tension releases pressure off the neurological system, improving overall mental health.
Chiropractic Care Reduces Pressure on Nerves
When vertebrae are out of place, they place pressure on the nervous system. The nervous system connects throughout the body. It dictates what and how we feel. When a chiropractor aligns your spinal vertebrae, they can relieve your symptoms in a single visit.
Combined with massage or meditation, the reduced pressure on the nerves can have a profound effect.
Reduces Muscle Activity
Some studies suggest muscle activity can drop 25% after a chiropractic adjustment. Understandably so, people often feel they can mentally relax easier when their muscles feel relaxed.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies show that chiropractic services can reduce blood pressure and stress symptoms after only 15 minutes of chiropractic therapy combined with massage therapy. These studies also show a marked decrease in anxiety and stress symptoms.
Muscle tension often causes intense pressure on the head, contributing to chronic headaches. Depression can cause chronic headaches and vice versa. A recent study showed that patients with depression experienced an average of 7 headaches a week before receiving chiropractic care.
That number decreased to 3.1 headaches per week after receiving 12 spinal adjustments over eight weeks. Headaches certainly don’t help people struggling with depression. Though it’s not a cure, chiropractic care and relieving headaches can be supplemental therapy to depression.
Can Chiropractic Care Aid Weight Loss?
Forms of therapy often piggyback off each other, as is the case with chiropractic care. Chiropractic doctors don’t just crack your back and send you on your merry way. They consult you on healthy exercise and diets.
Additionally, to lose weight and get into peak shape, your body’s systems have to function correctly. Chiropractic care relieves stress off your musculoskeletal and neurological system, letting you exercise to your highest potential.
How Many Chiropractic Sessions Do I Need to Feel Relief?
Though pain relief varies for everyone, the benchmark for significant progress is 12 treatments spread over six weeks. In some cases, you may need two or three visits per week to experience sustained relief.
Can Chiropractic Adjustments Release Emotions?
Chiropractic care releases emotions in several ways. People store their feelings in their bodies, in a sense, with the hormones they release. These hormones produce byproducts that accumulate throughout the body and affect physiological functions.
Adjusting the spine can help release the tension throughout the body, thus releasing the byproducts into the bloodstream so you can get rid of them.
Beyond Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care focuses on various aspects of the neurological system as well as the musculoskeletal system. However, it doesn’t encompass all of mental health. You are more than just a collection of hormones and physiological responses, though these are critical to your happiness and well-being.
You should discuss other ways to improve your mental health with your chiropractor, such as stretching, meditation, massage therapy, and, if necessary, counseling. Chiropractic care should not be a standalone treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Conclusion- The Mental Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care’s benefits extend beyond pain relief. It can also have many mental health benefits, including decreased muscle tension, reduced blood pressure, reduced muscle activity, and increased hormone production.
Suffering from chronic headaches and back pain isn’t conducive to mental health. Many studies show that even short periods of chiropractic therapy can help relieve stress and take the pressure off the head, resulting in fewer headaches and improved mental health.