Often times when I mention to people that upper cervical chiropractic has helped people that suffer from anxiety and depression, they give me a perplexed look (or they just think I’m crazy). Let’s break it down.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The nervous system is made up of our brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The nervous system is the master controller for every function in your body. It controls our glands, organs, and muscles. The spine is the bony hard casing that protects the nervous system.
When there is a misalignment (known as a subluxation) of the spine, it causes stress to the nervous system. This stress response in the body leads to a cascade of hormones and different physiologic activity.
Cortisol is one of the main hormones released when the body perceives stress or danger. Elevated levels of cortisol are seen in individuals with clinical depression. Also, when the body is in a defensive, or ‘fight or flight’ stress state, that causes an anxious feeling. Think about the last time you were driving and the person in front of you suddenly slammed on the brakes. How did you feel? Your heart rate probably went up, blood pressure went up, palms were sweaty, you name it. This is the stress response we get when the body perceives harm or danger. But how does this tie in with a misalignment of the spine?
A misalignment, or subluxation, of one of the vertebrae in the spine sets off triggers within the body known as nociceptors and proprioceptors which alert the brain that there is a problem or potential harm happening. You may think, it is a small misalignment, how could it have this large of a global effect on the body? A very interesting aspect in all of this is that the spine contains the most proprioceptors in comparison with any other part of the body. In fact, the upper cervical spine has the MOST proprioceptors by far. For example, the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor muscle, which attaches the atlas (top bone in the neck) to the skull, contains 98 proprioceptors per gram of tissue. Compare that with the latissimus dorsi muscle (the large muscle on the outer part of our back) which contains 1.4 proprioceptors per gram of tissue.
This means that a small misalignment in the upper neck can cause severe amounts of abnormal and stress input into the brain.
At our Traverse City upper cervical chiropractic office, we take 3D digital x-rays to be able to precisely locate and correct these misalignments. Shift Chiropractic has helped several people in the Grand Traverse area regain control over their depression or anxiety without the use of medication. While our goal is not to ‘treat’ the anxiety or depression, we frequently see these symptoms subside when we remove the nervous system interference from the body.
Check out some research HERE.
Anxiety and Depression, Traverse City
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3055 Cass Rd. Ste 102B
Traverse City, MI 49684