Anxiety and Hyper-mobile Joints...there could be a link.
Disclaimer: The following post is based purely on opinions deduced through experience. This blog post should not be taken as medical advisement, and all decisions for your healthcare needs should be discussed with your Chiropractor or Health Care Provider.
Probably one of the coolest research papers I have read, to date!
This is an overview of a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry titled, "Brain structure and joint hypermobility: relevance to the expression of psychiatric symptoms". Published in 2012.
The short and skinny of it, the individuals within the study who were concluded to have joint mobility that was significantly greater than normal, also showed signs of an OVER DEVELOPED Amygdala.
Your amygdala is an almond sized collection of nerves that sits within your brain that is known to be apart of the Limbic System. This system controls your emotions, survival instincts, and memory.
Those with larger amygdala showed signs of ANXIETY. This to me makes PERFECT SENSE. If it is larger, it means it is working over time. If that part of the brain is working over time, then that means the messages it is transmitting to and from the body are HYPERACTIVE.
Moreover, their joints are unstable. So the proprioceptive receptors within the body of the individual were interpreting more than that of an individual whose joints "feel" under normal or even decreased ranges of motion. If your brain was experiencing more, it meant it needed to be instinctively prepared for more possibilities of harm. Therefore, increasing their need to be aware. This awareness is emotionally translated [by the limbic system] as an anxiety that harm can be just around the corner at any minute.
Could you imagine growing up like that? Not knowing why, but always having this feeling like something was not right. "Something is about to hurt, at any moment, and I need to be prepared for it". Always.
OR maybe you DO know how this feels?
Now, this article only focuses on the common joints such as knees, ankles, and shoulders. It hints at overall "back" flexibility. Meaning, they generalized the spine as one unit. When in actuality there are more joints located in the spine as a functional entity then anywhere else in the body. This is because as a species we MOVE. If our spine was one solid form, we would never be able to bend or twist. Dancers would look more like pendulums in a grandfather clock and gymnasts would be no more real than unicorns.
So therein lies MY concern. What about the spine? Why didn't they look into these joints more?
Your nervous system, your "receptors", send messages directly to the spinal cord which is encased in the spine; and that spinal cord goes straight to the brain. What happens when those joints, that are suppose to be protecting the spine, are ALSO hyper mobile?
When looking at the top bone in your spine, [the atlas] which is located in your neck, your brain stem actually comes down through the hole in the bottom of your skull and partially sits in the space in the middle of the atlas. There are also ligaments and dural attachments that directly connect the atlas to your brain stem. Your brain stem functions as the part of the brain that interprets all primitive features. Our breathing, consciousness, blood pressure etc. Therefore, any misalignment of the atlas causes direct tension on your brain stem!
This is no joke! Your brain is directly affected from an atlas subluxation.
So what am I getting at then? What is the connection?
If the hyper mobility of joints is causing over grown portions of the brain, and our spine contains more joints than any other area of the body, and an atlas misalignment directly affects the integrity of the brain stem of an individual. Then, is it not probable, that those that are hyper mobile are more prone to Atlas misalignments, making them more susceptible to brain stem interference?
There have been numerous case studies done by chiropractors, on how specific upper cervical chiropractic adjustments to the atlas have alleviated, and or, regulated typical symptomatology of clients that suffer from conditions that are comorbid with high anxiety. This includes, but is not limited to, persons who have been diagnosed with Autism, Behavioral Disorders, Depression and more.
Why? The body has a fantastic ability to adapt to what it is interpreting from outside forces in order to create a system that can survive. This is purely based on how the world is being manifested in regards to that individual. If there is interference, caused by a subluxation, blocking nerve transmission and communication from the brain to the body, then the messages are either heightened or dampened; and the way the person externally responds back to the world will then be amplified in a similar manner.
Chiropractors make sure that the nervous system is healthy and functioning optimally by eliminating this interference. This is caused when two or more vertebral segments in the spine misalign cause a subluxation. Or, in a person with high anxiety, specifically when the Atlas is subluxated.
If this was the case then why aren't all persons with high anxiety issues running hand over foot to a Chiropractor to see if it can help?
Here are a couple of barriers to care many people face:
1. They are afraid it's going to hurt
-Truth is, chiropractic is extremely gentle, safe and affective. The technique typically utilized in the upper cervical region is a low force, high velocity adjustment appropriate for the individuals size. Minimal pressure is needed to correct an atlas misalignment. Special consideration is taken for those who are known, or may be at high risk for ligamentous laxity.
2. They can not afford the care
- Many people rely on their insurance for care, and their insurance company delegates only a small fraction of care for people who are seeking it. For that reason, many chiropractors check the benefits of the patient and can offer a more affordable price for the care plan they truly recommended as doctors, without the interference of a third party opinion. Besides, a 3 month, or even 12 month care plan for Chiropractic care will ALWAYS be cheaper than a medical bill from the hospital. One that insurance presumably covers for any kind of surgical intervention once you break down the nuts and bolts of it.
If you value your health enough, no dollar amount will stop you.
3. It may not work for them
- A valid fear. There is no guarantee that if you seek out Chiropractic care to relieve your anxiety that it will actually happen. The truth is though, SOMETHING will happen. Chiropractic care always produces changes in the body. There may be other ailments in your life that are alleviated simply because you can innately heal once your nervous system is clear. Most Chiropractors do not and SHOULD NOT loop you into a box along with their other clients. You are an individual, and although there are similarities between patients and their results, what your body needs, and how your body responds will be completely unique to you.
For more information, or to read the study itself, visit Br J Psychiatry or Feel Free to Contact us with questions or comments about this article. Be sure to put the title of the Blog into the Subject line.
Or Follow Us on Facebook