Mental health in New Zealand:
Mental health disorders are an extremely common issue in New Zealand. With 17% of our adult population receiving a mood or anxiety disorder. Estimates show that almost half of our population will meet the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lives1. Mental health disorders are currently a massive issue in New Zealand, as they can place a lot of stress on individuals, families, relationships, and workplaces. Mental health is such an important part of our overall wellbeing. Some may be looking for a natural alternative to help assist them with their mental health. Without the same negative side effects that can be caused by the current medication that is usually prescribed for mental health disorders.
Chiropractic for depression and anxiety:
While chiropractic is a form of physical therapy, it is important to have a holistic view and realise that mental and physical health go hand in hand. There are multiple ways that chiropractic can help the body and mind to assist in looking after our mental health.
- Sleep – Sleep is an important part of staying mentally and physically healthy. Two of the most common symptoms for both anxiety and depression are fatigue and insomnia. Chiropractic adjustments have shown to help with insomnia and help improve the quality of sleep2. Better quality sleep will help decrease fatigue levels and improve the overall state of mind.
- Stress – chiropractic brings balance to the body, removing tension from sore and tired muscles. Helping to relieve muscle pain as well as tension headaches. These are common symptoms of depression and anxiety. Removing stress from the body and mental and physical health go hand in hand in importance3. Chiropractic also removes stress from the nervous system, allowing our brain to function at its best, and further reduce our overall stress levels.
- Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4.
- Hormones – a study has been done that shows that the hormones cortisol, oxytocin, and neurotensin are released after chiropractic care. These hormones help decrease pain levels (specifically stress-induced pain) and create positive feelings of social bonding. The combination of these decreases stress and has an overall positive effect on a persons state of mind5.
Chiropractic for chronic pain:
Chronic pain frequently leads to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and somatoform disorders6. The severity of the pain may be the cause, or because the pain has lasted for months to years.
Many sufferers of chronic pain have yet to find something that provides lasting relief for their pain. Some are not even able to identify what is causing their pain in the first place. This can cause people’s mental health to go to some dark places. As mentioned above, chiropractic removes stress and tension from the body, which may relieve some pain. Chiropractic is also essential in maintaining nervous system health. When interference is removed from the nervous system through a chiropractic adjustment this allows the brain and the body to communicate more effectively. This allows the brain to better recognise any dysfunction in the body in order to start healing it. It also allows the brain to perceive when there is no mechanical dysfunction causing pain in the body. As this can be common in many chronic pain patients.
The pain may be coming from information that has been interfered with on its path from the body to the brain. This causes neural plastic changes in the brain, causing it to believe that an area of the body should be in pain. This causes a negative feedback loop where the brain continues to send pain signals to this part of the body. By removing the interference of these messages, the brain can accurately perceive what is going on the body, and start to change back to a healthier state where it is no longer sending out these inaccurate pain signals7. Chiropractic is the only profession that can locate and remove these areas of nervous system interference. When people can finally start to live pain-free because of their chiropractic care, this has amazing benefits in terms of their mental wellbeing and overall quality of life.
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