If you are dealing with anxiety and/or depression, neurofeedback training and chiropractic care has been shown to be a powerful combination. Chiropractic care involves a mind-body approach that favors adjusting physical symptoms in order to improve mental ones. A chiropractor is well-equipped to take a holistic approach to your mental health, looking at all possible ways to make you feel better. At Life Springs Family Chiropractic, we have taken it one step further and incorporate neurofeedback training to help you retrain your brain. We recognize that mental health issues are caused by out of balance brainwave patterns. Through the use of painless noninvasive neurofeedback training, we are able to target specific areas and re-balance your brain. Even after one treatment, patients comment that they leave the office with a much quieter brain.
New studies now back up the effectiveness of neurofeedback and chiropractic care in relieving certain mental health symptoms. For many, chiropractic may be a natural, affordable care option for improving quality of life for patients with anxiety and depression.
Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of a range of common anxiety disorders that includes panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, specific phobias (example of spiders), and acute stress disorder. Anxiety disorders can exist in isolation but more commonly occur with other anxiety and depressive disorders.
Anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following six symptoms (with atleast some symptoms present for more days than not, for the past six months):
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle Tension
- Sleep Disturbance
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for atleast two weeks.
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:
- Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for atleast two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder my have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
- Postpartum depression is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after deliver (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
- Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme”, such as delusions of guilt, poverty or illness.
- Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
- Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression (called “bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania”.
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for atleast two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having troubles sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
HOW NEUROFEEDBACK CAN HELP
While medications help treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression, they do not correct the source of the problem in the brain. Research has shown that anxiety and depression are deep rooted brainwave patterns that cause excessive activation in certain areas of the brain. With Neurofeedback, we are able to target those specific areas and train the brain to slow itself down and self regulate. Patients have often described a session as feeling like a trip to the day spa. They feel calm, relaxed and at peace – a quieting of the brain.
Neurofeedback, also called EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, is a powerful research proven way to help you improve your brain function through intensive targeted brain training exercises. Utilizing a complex computer program, your learn to alter your brain activity the same way you learn every other skill. During the simple, painless and non-invasive process you practice and train your brain to modify its electrical activity. Through surface electrodes attached to the scalp, every half second, your brain activity is compared to your targets for change. You get a signal and “reward” when you meet the goal. If your brain does not produce the result you are not given a signal or reward. Through time and repetition your brain slowly learns a new way to process information.
This simple, yet powerful tool helps to re-balance your brain to the days before your anxiety and/or depression set in. It helps you get back to normal and back on your feet.
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP
Physical symptoms can exacerbate mental symptoms and make anxiety and/or depression harder to live with. Luckily, chiropractic care is uniquely positioned to relieve these physical symptoms.
- Aims for a mind-body approach
In general, chiropractic care aims to find the right balance between your mind and body. A chiropractor will do this by looking at all health areas, including adjustments, therapies, exercise, diet and supplements. When it comes to chiropractic care, no stone goes unturned. Even small changes, such as incorporating omega-3 into your diet, may have a positive impact on anxiety symptoms
- Lowers your blood pressure
Several studies support the idea that chiropractic care and massage therapy can reduce blood pressure and stress symptoms. High blood pressure is a common symptom of anxiety and/or stress. Researchers found that blood pressure was reduced after both chiropractic sessions and massage therapy. One study even saw results after only 15 minutes of workplace massage therapy. This shows that chiropractic care can reduce anxiety and stress symptoms, and help patients with mental health issues feel more stable.
- Promotes an all-natural solution without side effects
One of the best benefits of chiropractic care is that it’s all natural. Patients taking anxiety and depression medication often complain of the side effects, which include insomnia, nausea, weight gain and fatigue. Chiropractic care works to reduce anxiety symptoms, so you can potentially avoid taking medication and dealing with its side effects. (Don’t change or stop taking medication without the approval of your doctor.)
- Adjusts your spine to trigger positive hormones
Spinal health influences almost every region of your body. Studies show that after getting a chiropractic adjustment, your body triggers an increase in hormones such as neurotensin, oxytocin, and cortisol. These hormones are involved in positive nervous system functioning, such as
- Neurotensin: neutralizes stress-induced pain
- Oxytocin: boosts neuro-communication and feelings of social bonding
- Cortisol: blocks pain deriving from inflammation
Spinal adjustments can have a positive impact by triggering these hormones throughout your body.
- Helps you get to sleep
Insomnia is also a symptom of anxiety or depression. With chiropractic care, you may find getting to sleep a little easier. Studies report that some chiropractic manipulation may improve patient sleep patterns. If you are struggling with fatigue and insomnia, chiropractic care and/or massage therapy may help.
- Relieves tension, stiffness and headaches
Patients with anxiety and/or depression also suffer from muscular tension. Chiropractic care can aid in reducing tension and stiffness. In addition, it can help relieve pain related to tension headaches, as many patients who live with mental health disorders also suffer from migraines. This kind of relief can have a big impact on those with anxiety and/or depression by removing these painful symptoms. Generally speaking, chiropractic care and massage therapy can also help reduce pain in patients with mental health diagnoses.
- Encourages relaxation
Last but not least, chiropractic care helps relax patients. The atmosphere of a chiropractic session can make the patient feel less stressed and his/her muscles more relaxed. Studies that measure electrical activity in muscles found that after a chiropractic adjustment, muscle activity was reduced by 25%. This is great evidence of relaxation during a chiropractic session. This kind of relaxation can really help patients suffering from stress and tension as a result of anxiety and/or depression.
Overall, chiropractic care can have a positive impact on patients’ mental health. Besides proven research, there have been many anecdotal case studies about the role of chiropractic care on anxiety and depression. These preliminary reports suggest there are even more benefits of chiropractic care on mental health symptoms.
As traditional health care costs continue to soar, more patients are looking to alternatives that are affordable and effective. Contact Life Springs Family Chiropractic to discuss a potential treatment plan for your symptoms, we will be able to customize a plan depending on your situation and try to give you the relief you deserve.
if you are looking for relief from your mental health symptoms, chiropractic care is a proven method that may improve your quality of life in the long run.
***Taken from “Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health and Chiropractic Care”
By Dr. Brent Wells for www.rtor.org
(Original post can be found here: https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/)