PET Scans Show Stress-Relieving Changes in the Brain after Chiropractic Adjustments
What’s got you stressed today? Crazy traffic? A lengthy to-do list? A needy family member or friend? You’re not alone. In everyday life, there’s good and bad stress. Good stress, also termed eustress, challenges you to adapt to situations in order to succeed. Bad stress, or distress, activates the “fight or flight” response in your brain, gets your heart pumping, promotes confusion, and often causes performance anxiety.
Stress and Chiropractic Care
A 2008 study demonstrated that chronic stress can attack and weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to some diseases, such as diabetes mellitus or ulcerative colitis. Some people are easily able to reduce their stress and cope due to their personalities, genetics, or support system, but it’s not always that simple. Luckily, researchers have found that chiropractic adjustments are a great way to naturally help reduce stress in the body and promote wellness overall.
- A 2011 study, “Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain,” used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to record brain activity in men before and after chiropractic spinal manipulation (CSM).
- The PET scans found that the CSM altered brain activity in the areas of the brain responsible for processing pain and stress, as well as greatly reduced cortisol levels, the chemical that is released in response to stress.
- More recently, a 2017 study expanded on this research. Researchers tracked the PET scans of 21 male participants taken before and after spinal manipulation therapy (SMT).
- The PET scans showed metabolic changes in brain and skeletal muscles. These changes are associated with reduced sympathetic nerve activity, which induces relaxation.
- The results of this study shows that the chiropractic adjustments actually reduced patients’ stress by changing their brains, and that regular chiropractic care could boost the body’s natural defense against chronic stress and disease.
Healthy, Drug-Free Stress Relief
“Millions of people receive medical advice that links stress relief to pharmaceutical drug use. Safe, long-term health care demands that attention be turned to the proper reduction and management of stress using science and research that point to a healthy alternative,” says an article on dailyrx.com.
Chiropractic care could be that ultimate healthy alternative. Stress is a natural part of life, but when it starts to consume your life, it quickly becomes threat to your health, physically and mentally. Chiropractic adjustments can help return the skeletal system to a more balanced, relaxed state and quiet the “fight or flight” impulses in your mind, relieving stress and keeping you healthy in the long run.
You can read the full 2017 study, “Glucose metabolic changes in the brain and muscles of patients with nonspecific neck pain treated by spinal manipulation therapy” here to learn more.
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