While chiropractic care is commonly associated with treating physical ailments such as back pain and joint issues, emerging research suggests a potential connection between chiropractic interventions and mental health. Understanding the intricate relationship between spinal health and mental well-being has become a focal point in holistic healthcare.
The Vagus Nerve and Spinal Health
The vagus nerve plays a crucial role in the communication between the brain and the body. Recent studies, including research published in the journal Acta Biomed (Kiani et. al., 2020), indicate that chiropractic adjustments, may positively influence major depression. This neural pathway has been linked to various aspects of mental health, including mood regulation and stress response.
Impact on Stress and Anxiety
Chronic stress and anxiety are prevalent mental health concerns, especially among older adults. Chiropractic care may offer relief by addressing physical manifestations of stress, such as tension in the spine and musculature. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Holt et al., 2011) demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments significantly reduced cortisol levels, indicating a potential impact on stress reduction.
Chiropractic care operates on the principle that the spine’s alignment influences overall health, including mental well-being. Misalignments or subluxations may disrupt the flow of neural signals between the brain and the body. By restoring proper spinal alignment, chiropractors aim to optimize the brain-body connection, potentially influencing mental health positively.
As research in this field continues to evolve, the connection between chiropractic care and mental health appears to be a promising avenue for holistic well-being. The impact on the vagus nerve, stress reduction, and optimizing the brain-body connection underscore the potential benefits of chiropractic interventions beyond addressing physical ailments. Integrating chiropractic care into mental health discussions may pave the way for a more comprehensive approach to wellness.
- Kiani AK, Maltese PE, Dautaj A, Paolacci S, Kurti D, Picotti PM, Bertelli M. Neurobiological basis of chiropractic manipulative treatment of the spine in the care of major depression. Acta Biomed. 2020 Nov 9;91(13-S):e2020006. doi: 10.23750/abm.v91i13-S.10536. PMID: 33170171; PMCID: PMC8023121.
- Didehdar D, Kamali F, Yoosefinejad AK, Lotfi M. The effect of spinal manipulation on brain neurometabolites in chronic nonspecific low back pain patients: a randomized clinical trial. Ir J Med Sci. 2020 May;189(2):543-550. doi: 10.1007/s11845-019-02140-2. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31773541.