A case study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on June 20, 2013, reports on the results of a case series showing chiropractic helping patients with depression and anxiety. This case series was looking for follow up on previous surveys showing that chiropractic patients felt chiropractic care helped with their mental and emotional states.
The authors begin by reporting that a previous study showed that in a survey of 2818 patients who completed chiropractic care, 76% of those patients reported a mental/emotional improvement, as well as positive changes in stress and life enjoyment over a period of several months following the chiropractic care. Additional prior studies also showed chiropractic care assisting patients with these types of mental health disorders.
This case series study involved six patients who responded to an Internet posting looking for people suffering from mild to moderate depression or anxiety who wished to be a part of a study involving chiropractic. The patients were not under any psychotherapy at the time and were given tests using standard scales of psychological testing to determine and measure their mental state prior to and after the chiropractic care.
All six of the participants also suffered from a variety of problems including musculoskeletal pains, asthma, hypertension, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep disorders. Those who were taking medications made no changes to their medications during the study to rule out any improvement due to medication.
For the purposes of this study, care was limited to only 12 chiropractic visits over a six week period. A specific analysis and form of chiropractic adjusting was used to correct nerve system interference from subluxations. To measure patient progress, a number of protocols were used both to monitor the chiropractic correction of subluxations as well as to see any improvement in depression or anxiety.
The results of the study were recorded for five of the six participants as one participant left the program due to a family emergency. The remaining five participants all showed positive results in most of the areas that the researchers measured. All five also showed positive test results for a decrease in nerve interference from subluxation. All five participants showed a “…significant decrease in depressive symptom ratings.” All five measured a “…significant decrease in anxiety.”
Additionally, four of the five participants who completed the study also reported a self feeling of improvement with their depression, enough to state that they would recommend this type of care to others with depression. Four of the five participants also reported significant improvements in the other health issues and problems they were suffering from at the beginning of the study.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “The results provide tentative support for the effectiveness of upper cervical (neck) chiropractic care for anxiety and depression symptoms.” They also stated, “The present study found reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms and reduction in overall psychological distress among individuals with mild to severe depression, anxiety or both.”