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How Chiropractic care may have an effect on stress

Posted By Dr Izzy Ryan  
09:00 AM

A recent literature review looked at how chiropractic care may have an effect on Stress. It looked at the links between the autonomic nervous system, stress, depression and chiropractic care.


A major part of our nervous system that is linked to stress is the autonomic nervous system. In simple terms, it controls functions that happen automatically, without us having to think about it. Our autonomic nervous system has 2 parts, the sympathetic system is our fight / flight / freeze survival (high stress) mechanisms, and the parasympathetic division contains all our rest / digest / reproduce and repair mechanisms. 


Dysfunction of the ANS often leads to an over reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. When a complex condition like depression impacts and favours the sympathetic nervous system, we can see a combination of depression symptoms including anxiety, continuous depressed mood, poor concentration, feelings of guilt, loss of appetite & insomnia.


We know that chiropractic research has indicated the many benefits of care when it comes to chronic back and neck pain. Interestingly, 50-65% of patients with chronic pain are also diagnosed with depression. A likely explanation for this correlation is their common neurological pathways.


In the review, the authors noted that “Major depression may depend largely on imbalances in autonomic nervous system activity. All symptoms of depression, such as high cortisol, high adrenalin, insomnia, agitation and anxiety, can be attributed to excessive activity of the sympathetic system. Although not yet definitely confirmed, chiropractic therapy and vagal nerve stimulation may help regulate the autonomic nervous system through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and reduction of sympathetic nervous system activity.”


Read more about the review here: