Research News Staff
New Research Sheds Light on Chiropractic, Anxiety & Panic Disorder

Chiropractic Spinal Adjusting May Play Important Role

Recent research reporting on improvement in a 49 year old woman undergoing chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing people with anxiety and panic disorder. The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, includes a discussion of the literature supporting the role of chiropractic in anxiety related disorders. 

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and brain” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.”

Research has shown not only that the developing brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping humans to “feel good” are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

“It makes perfect sense once you understand the neurological connections between the spine, the brain and how we feel good stated McCoy. “The seat of human emotion is the Limbic System and we know that this system extends all the way down the spinal cord. By normalizing interference there, things like anxiety and a sense of well being are affected.” 

Even beyond anxiety, researchers believe that the increase in the diagnosis of such disorders as ADHD, pervasive developmental disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and other mental health issues, have their root in a “perfect storm” of abnormal spinal development. 

For decades mental health specialists have strived to find an answer for patients suffering from a multitude of anxiety related disorders. We now know many naturally occurring brain and spinal cord substances play a role in both emotions, anxiety and pain reduction, leading to an increased sense of wellbeing. 

According to McCoy “Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference which distorts the communication in the spinal cord and brain. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxation, that chiropractors correct.” 

The woman reported on in the study was a 49-year-old woman who presented to a wellness based chiropractic clinic suffering from anxiety and panic attacks with associated chest pains for a period of eight months with no improvement. Her complaints began following a three-year period of prolonged stress. The patient’s history revealed past episodes of extreme stress and trauma.  

Chiropractic care was employed to improve spinal and neural integrity including the reduction of vertebral subluxations. A steady reduction of anxiety and panic attacks was achieved during the first six weeks of care with significant quality of life improvements. Resolution of her panic disorder was achieved within fourteen weeks of care.  

The study’s authors call for more research on the effects of chiropractic in mental health, anxiety and panic disorders.  

McCoy Press