Published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on October 17, 2016, is a documented case study of a woman suffering from panic and anxiety attacks being helped with chiropractic. The study begins by stating, "Anxiety disorders involve abnormal feelings of worry or fear that can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school, work and relationships."
The study notes that there are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder. It is estimated that 18% of the adult population in America are affected by some form of anxiety. Panic disorder has a significant impact on the quality of life and is characterized by sudden periods of intense fear. This can be accompanied by palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, smothering or choking, and a feeling of impending doom.
Anxiety is commonly treated with medications or, psychotherapy. It has been well documented that the use of antidepressant medications has grown steadily in the past decade, and represents a growing health issue itself. In an attempt to seek alternatives to medications, more people are turning to other approaches including chiropractic care for anxiety.
In this case, a 49-year-old woman with a chief complaint of anxiety and panic attacks went to a chiropractic clinic in New Zealand. Associated with her anxiety, the woman was also suffering from tight gripping chest pains which began following three years of financial, work, family, and relationship stresses. She also had symptoms of gastrointestinal pain and discomfort, mild numbness of the arms and hands, tachycardia and headaches.
She had been prescribed an antidepressant drug which had reduced her chest pain but increased her anxiety and panic attacks. Her history included a significant amount of past physical, psychological and emotional trauma. Additionally, she had been struck by a car as a pedestrian and suffered a number of fractures and other injuries.
Chiropractic care was initiated at the rate of three visits per week. Within three weeks of beginning chiropractic care, the patient reported a reduction in anxiety and panic attacks. Overall, she reported much less anxiety and a significant reduction in the intensity and frequency of her panic attacks and chest pains. When she was experiencing panic attacks, she noted that she felt more in control, and was able to resolve them more easily. Because of this, she was able to reduce her medication.
By the tenth week of care, the patient reported that she felt better than ever and had not had a panic attack for the prior two weeks. After fourteen weeks of care, the woman reported a complete resolution of her anxiety, panic issues, as well as her related symptoms and she was able to discontinue her medication.
As part of their conclusions, the authors summed up the impact this study may have by noting, "Subluxation based chiropractic care may provide a significant contribution to the management of patients with anxiety disorders."