Upper cervical chiropractic care can restore proper blood and spinal fluid flow to the brain which controls moods. Adding probiotics and vitamin D to your diet will also help with mood control allowing the body to fight off feelings of anxiety and depression.

What are the differences between anxiety and depression?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: That’s a great question because systematically they’re completely opposite. Anxiety is basically you just feel extremely nervous for no reason. I’ve had people come in the office and they were about to give their public speech and they’re really nervous, or they’re hiking in the mountain and are nervous. If you feel nervous, then it’s totally normal. You don’t need a pill for that, or you don’t need to treat that in any way. It’s when you get these extremely nervous attacks out of nowhere. You’re sitting on your couch listening to music, there’s absolutely no reason to be nervous and you get extremely nervous.

Now, depression is basically you’re just depressed. You don’t feel good about what you’re doing. You have no energy. You don’t want to do anything. You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to get off the couch. The symptoms are totally different. Anxiety, basically, you’re always kind of scared. Then depression, you just don’t want to do anything. Cause-wise they’re both really similar. Your mood is being negatively affected so you’ve got to figure out what can correct that.

Are there other natural ways to help manage anxiety and depression?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: Yeah, absolutely. The first thing you want to look at which is kind of counter intuitive, is you want to look at the gut. The gut is extremely important for everything. Seventy percent of our immune system is going to come from the gut. Serotonin is produced in the gut and then it migrates up to the brain and is a huge neurotransmitter for mood control. If you don’t have good gut function, eventually you’re not going to have good mood control in your body. You want to make sure you’re doing things right away with either one of these issues to ensure good healthy gut functions.

One thing is a probiotic, giving yourself good healthy bacteria every day. You can either do a supplement, just make sure you’re getting a quality supplement, or you could do kambucha, water kefir, milk kefir, even sauerkraut. A lot of Germans are in my area and they love sauerkraut. Any of those will be loaded with good healthy bacteria.

Apple cider vinegar will help kill bad bacteria. You just want to take maybe a tablespoon of it two or three times a day. The first few times you take it, it may be very uncomfortable. You may get a burning in the gut or the stomach. That’s very normal. You can put it with a little water or juice or honey to help make it a little more comfortable to take.

Vitamin D also. Vitamin D has a huge role in mood function. You’ll see these issues so many times get worse in the winter. I’m in Wisconsin. In the winter, you’re getting absolutely no sun, no vitamin D. It’s a good idea to supplement yourself with vitamin D, always for everyone, when you’re living in an area with a cold winter, but especially with these issues.

Also, you just want to get moving, dancing, walking, elliptical, anything like that. Get the body moving. Then chemicals are released in the brain that will help mood control. Get moving. Get on the probiotics, apple cider vinegar, vitamin D, and you will do much better.

How does the nervous system play a role in anxiety and depression?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: Well, you’re dealing with the brain. The brain is the main portion of the central nervous system, your brain and your spinal cord. The spinal cord comes off the brain almost like a tail, and you want to look, is the upper neck being pinched, compressed, or choked? That’s where the brain stem sits. They’ve done studies on rats actually where they cut the vagus nerve, and the vagus nerve leaves the upper neck, and then goes down to the stomach, and the heart, and the lungs, and the rats became extremely depressed. They didn’t want to move. They didn’t want to do anything. Making sure that the upper neck is in really good alignment will help the brain function better.

Can chiropractic care help improve symptoms of depression or anxiety?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: Absolutely. Yeah. We see it all the time in our practice. Upper cervical chiropractic is specifically, or atlas chiropractic, the techniques we do are orthospinology and NUCCA. What can happen there is, when the neck goes out of alignment you can get compression of the jugular vein. What that does is that prevents proper blood drainage from the brain. Now you’re getting bad blood around your brain. You’ll see these issues, mood issues, also MS, things like that, get much worse when you’re not having good healthy blood drainage from the brain. Also, the neck being out of alignment can affect cerebral spinal fluid flow to the brain. Now you’re not getting good healthy CSF flow. CSF is going to bring healthy nutrients, electrolytes, to the brain to help it function properly. Last thing, is just you’re getting tension on the brain stem. Again, the brain stem is like the circuit breaker in the human body. If that’s not in good alignment, nothing else in your body is going to function properly. Those are the main ways that upper cervical chiropractic can help with anxiety and depression.

Are there other mental health benefits to receiving regular chiropractic care?

Dr. F.J. Schofield: Absolutely. I mean, when you get good chiropractic care, you’re going to be in better alignment, your posture is going to be better. When your posture is better, you have better proprioceptive input into the brain. They’re showing now, when that head is centered over the neck, you have good healthy proprioception, your immune system functions better, your moods are better. The top two side benefits I see in my practice … Patients come in, they may come in with back pain, they may come in with headaches, or these issues we’re talking about, but sleeping better and just better mood are the two main benefits I see in our practice all the time.

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. F.J. Schofield visit westbendchiropractor.com or call 262-334-8188 to schedule an appointment.

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