Experts estimate that more than 15 million American adults are diagnosed annually with mood disorders, which include major depression, bipolar disorder, and other related conditions. Typically patients are prescribed antidepressants, but for many the cure is as bad as the disease, with the medicines’ side effects negatively impacting quality of life.
A study by researchers at Queensland University suggests there is a significant mind-body connection. Individuals who suffer from high levels of stress, often job or money related, are prone to bouts of depression, which in turn makes the person more susceptible to back problems that can become chronic.
Specifically, the five year study found that individuals with stressful jobs and those lacking a strong, organized management structure had an increased risk of suffering back injuries. Lead researcher, Nick Penney, based the study’s findings on a questionnaire filled out by 131 participants. Other finding include that people who felt back pain was dominating their life also had a worse recovery prognosis than someone who was better at managing their pain.
The researchers believe social and psychological factors play an integral role in predicting whether back pain will be successfully treated or become chronic. The major point of the study is that medical doctors need to look beyond physical symptoms and understand the entirety of a patient’s life; and that prescriptions aren’t the only answer.
While antidepressants are important for many patients, others can find relief using alternative treatments, especially for lingering conditions. Proponents of more holistic avenues suggest a change of strategy can be extremely beneficial. According to the online wellness journal, insight, depression and anxiety often affect the spine, causing muscle tension, neck stiffness, headaches, migraines, and back pain. This sets up a situation where physical and emotional are locked in an ongoing cycle. In these cases, chiropractic treatments for depression may be the answer.
Chiropractors can isolate the pain and many patients report that once their pain is diminished or eliminated, they start to feel emotionally reinvigorated and their symptoms, which can include, lethargy, sadness, low self-esteem, and an overall bleak outlook on life begin to also ease. Many chiropractors practice wellness, so they also engage patients to discuss their struggles and suggest a multi-faceted approach that can include lifestyle changes such as exercise, better eating choices, and meditation.
Individuals suffering from severe depression or anxiety disorders may need medication, but they will still benefit from chiropractic treatments because the manual manipulation enables patients to experience deep relaxation as part of the muscular tension relief.
The American Chiropractic Association reports that research suggests that nerves in the spinal cord of chronic pain patients undergo actual structural changes, which in turn, can prompt emotional changes. So while traditional medicine remains an important tool in treating depression, coupling that with chiropractic care and wellness can only benefit the patient.
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