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You know that your chiropractor can effectively treat all kinds of pain and various physical conditions, including those daily aches and pains, but can chiropractic care reduce stress and anxiety? As we begin this brand year, depression, stress and anxiety are reaching staggering proportions and prescription drug therapy for these mental health issues are likewise peaking. The good news is that holistic approaches to treating depression, anxiety and stress are also being explored.

Chiropractic care is one of them.

Physical Reactions to Mental Health Issues

We’ve written before about the three categories of stress – bodily stress, environmental stress and emotional stress. They are each unique in their symptoms, but they can cause the same result on the body.

  • Bodily stress includes symptoms like inability to sleep, injury, illness or poor diet
  • Environmental stress includes pollution, sudden or sustained loud noise, even world events like poverty, war and politics
  • Emotional stress includes life events like moving, starting a new job or personal interactions

As individuals, we respond to these stressors in different ways. But even if you’re the type of person who finds motivation in stressful situations, stress still causes negative – and cumulative – effects on the mind and body. That’s because it has a direct impact on your body’s central nervous system.

When you experience stress, your heart rate and breathing increase while your senses become more acute. These physical reactions should abate when the sense of threat has passed, but for many us, they don’t. Emotional stress in particular has become a chronic problem in our society, locking us into this fight-or-flight mode as an out-of-proportion response to things like work responsibilities, traffic, negative media, relationships, finances and our overly busy lives.

The result, more often than not, is anxiety, irritability, pain and depression. And then there are the physiological results, all of which are labeled as diseases:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • Decreased immune function
  • Cancer

These are lifestyle diseases that all impact spinal integrity, nervous system function and our overall health.

Managing Anxiety & Stress

It’s a nasty cycle – stress causes pain, which causes more stress. It can snowball to the point that you feel overwhelmed and unable to enjoy activities that used to bring you pleasure – activities that also helped alleviate stress.

So how can chiropractic care help?

Regular treatments can help decrease physical pain and relax your muscles, sending signals to the brain that no threat is imminent and working to help regulate mood. Improved quality of life stemming from reduced pain and a relaxed state also help to reduce anxiety.

Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to wellness. It’s intended to return your body to its natural, healthy state, with optimal function in the spine and joints. With this form of treatment comes many benefits – improved sleep, better energy and health, all of which improve quality of life to positively impact mental health.

If stress and anxiety are affecting you, learn more about what you can expect at your first chiropractic visit and schedule an appointment with Dr. McSweeney today.