Chiropractic Continuing Education

Chiropractic Stress & Anxiety Research

            As chiropractic providers, we understand that the body is not only affected by musculoskeletal issues, but also by psychological ones. It is also no secret that mental health problems often lead to physical problems; all of which can be helped with chiropractic care. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million adults experience some type of mental illness annually; half of all chronic mental illness beginning by the early age of 14. Alternatively, physical symptoms can also exacerbate mental health symptoms, and chiropractic treatment addresses both by realigning the spine, and revamping the nervous system to aid in mental health.


Benefits of chiropractic for stress and anxiety:

  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Chiropractic treatment is a mind-body approach to health
  • Adjusts the spine to release “feel-good” hormones like neurotensin, cortisol, and oxytocin.
  • Sleep support
  • Treats headaches (many that suffer with headaches also suffer from mental health issues)
  • Affordable and effective when compared to traditional healthcare and their costs
There are several research studies that outline the benefits of chiropractic for stress and anxiety, and those issues that can lead to mental health issues.


Chiropractic Research for Stress & Anxiety

Reduction in Anxiety & Dysautonomia in Five Adult Patients Undergoing Chiropractic Care for Vertebral Subluxation, 2020:


  • This study includes 5 patients aged 24 to 53 with a main concern of anxiety along with musculoskeletal complaints within a chiropractic office. Patients were assessed both pre and post care with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). Thermography studies and heart rate variability (HRV) were performed as well.
  • The goal of this study was to record the reduction in anxiety with these patients receiving chiropractic care. Chiropractic care was administered utilizing the Torque Release Technique (TRT) with treatments ranging from 6 to 12 weeks. The patients involved reported improvements in their complaints of both mental and musculoskeletal symptoms.
  • Every patient showed significant improvement in their anxiety going from moderate/severe anxiety to mild or mild/moderate anxiety. Also noted was a reduction in nervous system issues measured by HRV and thermography.
  • This study concluded that the severity of these patient’s anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced, and autonomic nervous system function was improved.


Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Perceived Anxiety in a Patient Undergoing Chiropractic Management for Neck Pain and Headache, 2020:


  • In this study, a 40-year-old patient received care for chronic neck pain and headaches, and also noted a history of anxiety which worsened with her musculoskeletal issues.
  • The diversified technique was used on the cervical and thoracic spine along with instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for 12 visits. There was also a home exercise regimen was recommended. The patient stated there was an improvement in her chronic neck pain and headaches as well as her anxiety throughout the treatment plan. it was also noted that salivary cortisol levels also decreased throughout the treatment plan.
  • This study concluded that chiropractic care had favorable outcomes in a patient with neck pain, headache, and anxiety resulting in increased physical function.


Reduced Anxiety Symptoms in a Patient Screened with the PHQ4 Receiving Chiropractic Care, 2019:

  • In this case study, a 38-year-old female had a 3-month history of panic attacks, anxiety, neck, and back pain receiving chiropractic care. Her depression and anxiety were measured using the PHQ 4 (patient health questionnaire 4), and also found musculoskeletal issues.
  • The goal of this study was to determine if there was improvement in anxiety and physical function while receiving Torque Release Technique (TRT) treatment correcting vertebral subluxation.
  • The patient was seen for 12 visits using TRT, and the patient reported improvement in both physical discomfort and mental health issues per the PHQ4. Improvement was also noted by the chiropractic provider with the patient’s posture, decrease in measures of vertebral subluxation were noted.
  • This case study concluded that TRT treatment for mental and musculoskeletal discomfort showed improvement in the patient


Long-Term Relief from Tension-Type Headache and Major Depression Following Chiropractic Treatment, 2018:


  • This case study includes 44-year-old teacher received chiropractic care, coming in complaining of ongoing headaches, and was also experiencing feelings of depression. She received 5 treatments the first week, then 3 treatments weekly for the following 3 months. She noted that she felt better and reduced her medications. She received chiropractic for the next 3 months twice a week to restore functions of the spine.
  • After the full course of treatment (6 months), the patient noted that her symptoms disappeared and was able to discontinue her medications. The patient continued maintenance chiropractic treatment monthly.
  • This study concluded that there were beneficial outcomes of spinal adjustment for both headaches and depression issues, and that the long-term effects are favorable. However, further studies are essential better solidify these results.


Special Chiropractic Adjustment Lowers Blood Pressure, 2007:


  • This study included 50 patients with misaligned C-1 and high blood pressure. Half of the patients received the specialized adjustment based on their results and the other half received sham intervention. All patients were assessed before and after alignment as well as 8 weeks post treatment.
  • The researchers noted that the decrease in blood pressure following the specialized treatment was similar to that shown in patients taking 2 types of blood pressure medications at once. Additionally, this decrease in blood pressure continued into the 8th week post treatment.
  • While this study does raise more questions, it does show significant positive results in chiropractic for lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure often does hand in hand with mental health issues like stress and anxiety.
While this research shows positive results in chiropractic treatment, more, larger scale studies need to be performed to confirm the benefits of chiropractic treatment for stress and anxiety. Utilizing all the tools we have at our disposal, including exercise and nutrition recommendations, as well as spinal adjustments and more, we can help those who are suffering daily from stress and anxiety. In so doing this, we can accomplish our main goal of overall health, both mental and physical, for our patients.