Chiropractic Care for Stress and Anxiety

Brett McDonough
October 1, 2021

Occasional stress and worry are a normal part of living, but when they rise to high levels or persist for long periods, they can interfere with daily life and rob you of happiness. Read on to get the facts about stress and anxiety disorder and to find out why you may want to consider seeing a chiropractor for stress relief.

What Is Stress?

Stress is the term used to describe physical or emotional tension. Acute stress lasts for only a short period of time. For example, if you argue with someone, you may feel acute stress until you resolve the issue at the end of the conversation. Chronic stress refers to stress that lasts for an extended time period. Illnesses within families, high-pressure jobs, and financial problems are common causes of chronic stress. When people discuss stress relief, they are referring to chronic stress rather than acute.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry or unease. When these feelings don't go away, get in the way of daily life, or don't seem to have a specific cause, a person may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. There are several anxiety disorders. The most commonly diagnosed ones are:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder marked by persistent worry that can arise due to everyday routine issues or due to no cause at all
  • Social anxiety related to social situations
  • Panic disorder that causes intense feelings of anxiety or terror that last for a few minutes and reoccur
  • Phobias or irrational fears of situations or objects

What Causes Anxiety?

Scientists do not fully understand why people develop anxiety disorders. Traumatic effects seem to trigger them in some people, while others have relatives with similar conditions, indicating that there may be a genetic link. Built-up stress, nervous personalities, other mental health disorders, and the use of drugs and alcohol may make people more likely to have an anxiety disorder.

Stress Symptoms

Acute stress typically causes an increase in breathing and heart rate. Chronic stress has been shown to cause:

  • Digestive problems
  • Memory problems
  • Body aches and headaches
  • Stiffness of the neck and jaw
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleep
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Difficulty focusing

Symptoms of Anxiety

Signs of anxiety are similar to the symptoms of chronic stress, but they are usually accompanied by fear or worry. Sweating and trembling are additional signs of anxiety-related mental health disorders. People with anxiety disorders often become withdrawn due to their attempts to avoid things that trigger their symptoms.

Natural Stress Relief

Prescription medications are available for anxiety; however, some people cannot take them due to side effects or find that they don't do enough to eliminate symptoms entirely. Natural stress relief may benefit these individuals and those who prefer to take a non-medicinal approach to health and well-being. For natural stress relief:

  • Exercise regularly, as studies have found that physical activity can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine because the stimulant may worsen symptoms
  • Stop smoking to avoid nicotine, another powerful stimulant
  • Meditate or use visualization
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
  • Employ deep breathing techniques
  • Talk to a psychotherapist
  • Join an online or in-person support group
  • Keep a journal of your symptoms

Can a Chiropractor Help with Stress and Anxiety?

Many people ask, "can chiropractors help with stress?" and the answer to the question is a resounding "yes." The key to reaping chiropractic benefits is finding a professional in your area who has experience helping people dealing with stress and anxiety disorders. Read online reviews for local chiropractors and check out their websites. Schedule a consultation and ask the chiropractor what techniques they use to help people prone to stress or suffering from anxiety disorders.

How Does Treatment From a Chiropractor Relieve Stress?

Some of the services that a chiropractor can provide for people with stress and anxiety include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments. Adjusting is the process of realigning the spine. Research indicates that adjustments may help improve digestion and relieve headaches to address two common symptoms of stress and anxiety. In addition, adjustments may help you sleep better and can alleviate muscle tension related to stress.
  • Exercises. Chiropractors can recommend gentle exercises that you can perform at home to stay active. These targeted exercises may also further reduce stress-related muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, jaw, and spine.
  • Nutrition counseling. Many chiropractors have expertise in healthy eating. An experienced practitioner can help you adopt a diet that keeps your blood sugar properly regulated to minimize mood swings, improve your concentration and fight fatigue. Eating well can also help to maintain levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check.
  • Relaxation. Taking time out of the hustle and bustle of your day to visit the chiropractor is an act of self-care that can help reduce stress over time.
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