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Clinical Depression 

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Chiropractic Care Can Help

Chiropractic care focuses on the nerve system of the body and improving the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. It is very common for chiropractic patients to notice improved functioning, and to experience a significant reduction in chronic pain.  This reduction of chronic pain is frequently of tremendous benefit to those suffering from clinical depression.

Optimizing the nerve function with chiropractic care is an important prerequisite for acheiving optimal well-being and vibrant health. By focusing on optimizing your nerve function and biomechanics, your chiropractic physician assists your body's self-healing mechanism across various systems.

As the patient's chronic pain begins to reduce and resolve, significant stresses are removed from their brain and other components of their nerve system. The associated psychological stress may also begin to be diminished as a result of the reduction in pain and the improved biomechanics, often resulting in chronic depression beginning to be lifted.

Historically, depression was usually treated as a psychological problem with treatment that sought to unravel the life circumstances and experiences which were considered the cause of a person's depression. Over the last couple decades however, we have become increasingly aware that depression can be the result of various physical disorders.  Seeking to discover and treat the physical causes of depression can be a tremendous relief to those who have failed to progress under more traditional treatments.

 People who suffer from depression often experience both psychological and physical pain. It is not surprising that a person who suffers from significant and chronic physical pain will often become depressed.  Conversely, depressive states can also cause physical pain. A person may become trapped in a feedback loop when they experience chronic physical pain that makes them depressed, and this depression then makes the physical pain worse.  It becomes a vicious circle, especially when physical pain discourages the person from taking physical action that would help alleviate the depression.

 Additionally, changes in brain physiology, specifically its electrical activity, may cause a person to be depressed.  Research suggests that abnormal electrical activity in a person's brain can result in a depressive state. The brain's electrical activity is evaluated by a method known as quantitative EEG (QEEG).1 For individuals who suffer from clinical depression, the QEEG often demonstrates too much slow-wave activity in the left front brain (prefrontal cortex) and too much fast-wave activity in the right prefrontal cortex.

Depressed people lose interest in activities they may have previously found enjoyable. Depression can interfere with the individual's work and/or school activities, social life, family life, and have a negative impact on their overall health. They may become despondent, with a noticeable lack of energy.  A decreased appetite is also quite common among depressed individuals, and they also tend to lose any interest in (and the motivation to perform) any exercise.

That last point is particularly unfortunate, because regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to lessen or prevent depression.  Although beginning any kind of exercise program may seem impossible to a depressed person with a profound lack of energy, it really can be key to alleviating depression.  Even a short daily walk may be enough to start a positive feedback loop that may encourage even more increased activity and a greater interest in life.

Because chiropractic care can help relieve chronic pain and improve the functioning of the musculoskeletal system, it may also be of great benefit for people who suffer from clinical depression.  Reducing the chronic pain which often accompanies depression can be a great relief, improving the person's mood and making it easier for them to engage in the physical activity they require for a healthy body and mind.
1Hargrove JB, et al: Quantitative electroencephalographic abnormalities in fibromyalgia patients. Clin EEG Neurosci 41(3):132-139, 2010

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