Chiropractic and Mental health - The impact on your psychological and emotional state
According to Mind UK, "1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems of some kinds each year in England, and 1 in 6 reports experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety and depression in any given week." (1)
More often than not, the main emphasis of chiropractic is based on the physical effects that a misalignment can cause on the body and very rarely is the focus on the psychological and emotional effects that having a fully functioning spine and nervous system can have. Today, there is a big push for raising awareness of mental health problems and finding safe, effective, and sustainable solutions to help resolve these issues. When BJ Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, was asked "What is to be done in insanity?", he stated, "If an atlas is subluxated it makes abnormal functions of the brain. Go back to the cause. Adjust that and return that brain to its normal capability." (2)
In 1922, the Chiropractic Psychopathic Sanatorium later known as Forest Park was established and became the first Chiropractic facility in the world to deal with the management of mental disorders. According to staff who worked in the clinic, "patients come to Davenport raving maniacs and in a short time are restored to health and happiness, perfectly normal, ready to take up life's duties where they were interfered with when they became mentally deranged." From the opening of the clinic in 1922 until 1927, Forest Park handled over 1,000 patients. By 1929, the chiropractors were claiming 76% success results with the insane and almost 100% recoveries in epilepsy! (3) A second facility Clear view opened in 1926 and stayed active until 1961. Every patient was scanned using a thermographic instrument known as a neurocalometer to indicate the function of the nervous system and if there was nerve interference present. (4)
The 1970s saw a renewed interest in chiropractic care and mental health issues. In 1973, a chiropractor Dr. Herman Schwarts published "Mental health and Chiropractic: A Multidisciplinary Approach". Dr. Schwartz published a report of 350 patients afflicted with "nervous or mental disorder" and the results showed a significant improvement in patients under chiropractic care. (5)
More recent research from Genthner et al used the Beck Depression Inventory on 15 patients with a history of depression. Statistical analysis demonstrated a significant improvement in depression scores. (6)
Expression of our Nervous system
We express our lives through our nervous system, through our brain and spinal cord. If a misalignment is putting pressure on our nervous system, it is going to impact our ability to express life and result in physical as well as psychological and emotional symptoms.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common symptom of anxiety and stress and studies have shown that the correction of a misalignment in the upper cervical spine can reduce blood pressure back within normal limits. Research from Bakris on a population of 50 people with hypertension showed that after a specific chiropractic adjustment made to the upper cervical spine, blood pressure decreased significantly (7). This significant decrease was equal to taking two blood-pressure drugs at once, without the significant side effects that can occur with these medications.
It is crucial to be as thorough and specific in the analysis of one's spine, to correctly remove the cause of the interference within our system to allow the body to heal as it was designed to.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the doctors here at Top Chiropractic.
- Palmer BJ: "The Science of Chiropractic." Volume 2. The Palmer School of Chiropractic. Davenport, IA. 1920. P. 41.
- Quigley WH: "Clear View Sanitarium Part 5." Dynamic Chiropractic. April 11, 1990. Vol. 8, No. 8.
- Schwartz, HS, "Preliminary analysis 350 mental patients' records treated by chiropractors," Journal of National Chiropractic Association (Nov. 1949), pp. 1215.
- Genthner GC, Friedman HL, Studley CF: "Improvement in depression following reduction of upper cervical vertebral subluxation using orthospinology technique." Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. November 7, 2005.
- Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. J Hum Hypertens. 2007 May;21(5):347-52.