I'm sure after reading the title some of you are already thinking, "doesn't chiropractic only help with back and neck pain?".
Indeed chiropractic care helps with problems such as back pain, neck pain and headaches, but if we dig a little deeper and look at the neurological changes that occur with Chiropractic adjustments, then we can see a bigger picture of the positive effect it has on our brain and on our mental health.
Before getting into how Chiropractic benefits mental health, I want to touch on the important subject of salutogenesis.
Salutogenesis is an approach to health looking at factors that support well-being and health rather than focusing on factors that cause disease. It's about what we can actively do for ourselves to strengthen our health instead of hearing and discussing about things that are bad for our health without any action steps.
During this time of COVID I've seen and read a lot in the news about how our mental health is detrimentally affected by the measures that we're all taking in the name of public health to protect our community. It's tough. It's really, really tough. Having to physically distance ourselves, self isolate, avoiding going outdoors unless essential; human beings are social creatures by nature so we are effectively turning our way of life upside down. And let's not forget the stress that can come with being out of work, being immunocompromised during all of this, or dealing with your friends, neighbours, family members or colleagues who may be flouting guidelines when you're being as safe as possible for the benefit of everybody. It's all so incredibly mentally taxing.
Identifying these things as factors that are affecting our mental health doesn't directly help us improve our state of mind. It's a lot of observation without any action. I found myself worrying and at times complaining about how things are. I had to remind myself that I can take control of my own thinking and choices and that there are so many ways that we can improve our health in spite of this pandemic. There's no reason why we can't come out of the other side of this pandemic EVEN HEALTHIER than we were last March.
I truly believe our focus should be on emphasizing things we can do to support our health and well-being. So if we view health care from a salutogenic model, that means focussing on things that we can actively do to improve our health. This shift in mindset in and of itself is great for your mental health. It makes you focus on the positives; on things you can do to improve your situation and better yourself.
Focussing your energy on getting regular exercise, eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and socializing virtually are great ways to actively improve your overall health!
This poster is hung up here at Thrive Chiropractic as a simple reminder of what you can do to improve your health
So how does Chiropractic help mental health? We'll get there soon, I promise!
Salutogenesis aside, next it's important to understand that mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Our mental health affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and our decision making. So if your mental health is suffering then subsequently your thinking, mood and behaviour may be affected too.
Alright, so mental health AFFECTS our thinking, feelings and actions... but what CONTROLS our thinking, feelings and actions? The BRAIN does!
Humans all have a part of the brain called the Prefrontal Cortex in our Frontal Lobe. This separates us from animals. This part of the brain is responsible for our executive functions. It orchestrates our thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals. So your Prefrontal Cortex controls your ability to do the following:
So if your Prefrontal Cortex isn't functioning at it's best, then you may experience some mental turbulence.
Research out of New Zealand shows evidence that Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the Prefrontal Cortex. This study showed that when the spine is adjusted, there is a significant increase in activity in this region of the brain by 20% on average. This increase in activity isn't just a flash in the pan either, but rather it may make lasting change. So if our Prefrontal Cortex is functioning optimally we may have greater adaptability to stress and anxiety.
Chiropractic care can literally change the way you think by improving the health and function of your brain!
"Your body hears everything your mind says"
Never forget that you can control your thinking and choices, and that it's ultimately up to you to choose to focus your energy in a positive way and to DO things that will make you healthier and happier. If you think your Prefrontal Cortex could benefit from some additional stimulation and activity, then click HERE to make an appointment.
214 Wellington Street