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Can a Chiropractor Help with Anxiety?

Anxiety is a pervasive mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by excessive worry, fear, and a host of physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and muscle tension, anxiety can severely impact an individual’s daily life and overall well-being. While there are various traditional treatments for anxiety, including psychotherapy and medication, alternative therapies are also gaining traction.

Chiropractic care, known primarily for its benefits in treating physical ailments related to the spine and musculoskeletal system, is emerging as a complementary treatment for anxiety. By addressing physical tension and discomfort, which often accompany anxiety, chiropractic treatments can play a role in alleviating some of the physical manifestations of this mental health issue.

This article examines how can a chiropractor help with anxiety, highlighting its potential as a non-traditional approach to improving mental health and well-being.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common stress response, characterized by symptoms like increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and sometimes sweating hands. These symptoms are part of the body’s fight-or-flight response to perceived physical or mental threats. Anxiety is normal and expected during certain life events, lasting for brief periods; however, individuals with anxiety disorders experience symptoms for prolonged periods, affecting daily living. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and phobia-related disorders, such as social anxiety disorder. GAD, the most common type, involves persistent worries about nonspecific life events and situations.

According to Danesh Alam, MD, medical director of Behavioral Health Services at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, “Anxiety is the most common mental health condition seen in our society.” The symptoms are thought to result from disruptions in the brain’s emotional processing center, primarily the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus, and thalamus. People with an anxiety disorder may have heightened activity in these areas, leading to the symptoms they experience.

Woman experiencing back pain caused by anxiety.

How Does Anxiety Affect Our Body?

Anxiety significantly impacts the body across several systems, manifesting in both physical and psychological symptoms that can exacerbate each other.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems: Anxiety can lead to rapid, shallow breathing or hyperventilation, which increases oxygen intake but can also lead to feelings of breathlessness or dizziness. This respiratory response is linked to the body’s fight-or-flight mechanism, which also causes an increase in heart rate and blood circulation. Over time, these repeated cardiovascular responses can lead to long-term issues such as heart disease.

Muscular and Neurological Systems: Prolonged anxiety causes muscles to tense up, which can result in chronic pain, tension headaches, or migraines. Neurologically, anxiety involves heightened activity in areas of the brain responsible for emotional responses, like the amygdala, which can alter the brain’s function over long periods.

Digestive System: Anxiety can disrupt normal digestive functions, leading to symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite. Chronic anxiety may affect the long-term functioning of the digestive system, contributing to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Immune System: Short-term anxiety might boost the body’s immune response, but chronic anxiety weakens it, increasing susceptibility to infections such as the common cold or flu due to reduced inflammatory responses.

Urinary System: Anxiety can increase the frequency of urination or cause symptoms of urinary incontinence, particularly in people with conditions like overactive bladder.

These physical manifestations of anxiety are not only symptoms but also contribute to the perpetuation and escalation of anxiety itself, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break without intervention. Each of these symptoms can trigger more anxiety, leading to a deteriorating spiral of physical and mental health.

A chiropractor providing chiropractic care to alleviate anxiety.

Can a Chiropractor Really Help with Anxiety?

Yes, a chiropractor can help with anxiety. Chiropractic care alleviates physical tension and discomfort, which are often linked to anxiety symptoms. By adjusting the spine and improving nervous system function, chiropractors enhance the body’s natural ability to heal and maintain balance. This approach not only reduces physical symptoms but also promotes overall well-being and relaxation, addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of anxiety.

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The Connection Between Chiropractic Care and Anxiety

Chiropractic care primarily focuses on maintaining spinal health but also extends its benefits to improving overall wellness. Here’s how it can help with anxiety:

Reduction of Physical Tension

Chiropractic treatments, including spinal adjustments and manipulation of other body parts, effectively relieve muscle tension and pain. This physical relief often leads to a decrease in mental stress and anxiety. This holistic approach to wellness aims to harmonize the body’s physical and mental well-being, providing individuals with a comprehensive avenue for managing anxiety.

Promotion of Relaxation

Chiropractic treatments can induce a state of relaxation, mitigating the symptoms of anxiety disorders. By enhancing nerve function and blood flow, chiropractic care helps calm the mind, which can help decrease the symptoms of those suffering from anxiety.

Balance in the Nervous System

The nervous system plays a crucial role in the body’s stress response. Chiropractic care aims to correct misalignments or subluxations in the spine, which can interfere with the nervous system’s functioning. Proper alignment can help reduce the physiological impact of stress and anxiety.

Holistic Approach to Wellbeing

Chiropractors often provide comprehensive care that includes advice on diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. This holistic approach can further help manage anxiety by promoting healthier living habits.

Natural and Non-invasive

One of the significant advantages of chiropractic care for anxiety is that it offers a non-pharmacological approach to treatment. This is particularly appealing for those looking to avoid the side effects associated with anxiety medications.

A chiropractor giving advice to a patient in a clinic.

Clinical Support and Considerations

While anecdotal evidence and some research support the effectiveness of chiropractic care in managing anxiety, it is generally recommended as a complementary treatment rather than a primary therapy. Anxiety can be a complex condition that may require a multidisciplinary approach, including psychological counseling and, in some cases, medication.

It’s crucial for individuals considering chiropractic care for anxiety to consult with healthcare professionals to ensure a comprehensive treatment plan is in place. Chiropractic care should be part of a broader approach that addresses both the mental and physical aspects of anxiety.

Chiropractic Care as a Holistic Approach to Anxiety Management

Chiropractic care offers a promising avenue for managing anxiety, particularly for those looking for holistic and non-invasive treatment options. By addressing physical symptoms associated with anxiety and nervous system health, chiropractic treatments can play a supportive role in a comprehensive approach to anxiety management. As with any treatment, it’s important to work closely with healthcare providers to tailor an approach that best fits individual needs and conditions.

Patient receiving post-session advice from chiropractor.

How Chiropractic Care at Curis Can Help With Anxiety

At Curis Functional Health, we understand the profound impact anxiety can have on your life, affecting your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Our dedicated team of chiropractic professionals is committed to helping you manage your anxiety through specialized chiropractic care tailored to your unique needs.

Tailored Adjustments: Our chiropractors utilize spinal adjustments to correct misalignments and reduce nerve interference. This restoration of alignment can decrease muscle tension, often a contributor to anxiety, thereby promoting a more relaxed state.

Holistic Wellness Support: We believe in a holistic approach to health. Our healthcare professionals provide comprehensive care that extends beyond spinal adjustment, and incorporate lifestyle and nutritional coaching to support your overall well-being.

Stress-Reduction Techniques: We integrate stress-reduction techniques such as guided relaxation, targeted exercises, and breathing strategies to help enhance your body’s natural ability to heal and manage stress.

Soft Tissue Therapy: To complement spinal adjustments, we offer soft tissue therapies like massage, which can relieve muscle tension and contribute to overall relaxation and stress management.

If you are struggling with anxiety, consider chiropractic care as a supportive component of your treatment strategy. At Curis Functional Health, we are dedicated to providing you with care that not only addresses your symptoms but also supports your journey towards a healthier, more vibrant life.

Get connected with one of our providers today and discover how our chiropractic services can help you manage anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
Schedule your appointment with Curis to learn more about our chiropractic services and how we can tailor them to your needs. Embrace a holistic approach to anxiety management with Curis Functional Health—where your health and wellness are our top priority.


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