Mental Health & Chiropractic

A paper published in the October 24, 2013, issue of the Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic discussed the subject and benefits of chiropractic for patients with mental health issues. According to author Dr. Christopher Kent, a chiropractor and attorney, the objective of the paper was, “To review the history and research regarding chiropractic, emotional and psychological health.”

Dr. Kent begins by stating, “The scope of chiropractic is as broad as the scope of influence of the nervous system. Although many chiropractors and those they serve tend to focus on disorders associated with the physical body, it is obvious that abnormal nervous system function may also affect emotional and psychological health.”

Dr. Kent’s paper reports that, historically, there were several very successful chiropractic facilities dedicated to caring for those with mental health issues. One such facility, established in 1922, was called the Chiropractic Psychopathic Sanitarium, which later changed their name to the Forest Park Sanitarium. The success rate for the chiropractic institutions was much higher than for the public institutions. This was pointed out by North Dakota Judge A. W. Ponath noting that at the North Dakota state mental hospital, the “…cure and discharge rate” ranged from 18-27%, compared to 65% at Forest Park.”

The paper also reported on several modern research projects involving chiropractic and psychological issues. In one of these studies, a survey was done of 2,818 respondents in 156 practices. This study showed strong connections between persons receiving chiropractic care and self-reported improvement in health, wellness, and quality-of-life.

In another study a systematic review was published which examined psychological outcomes in randomized controlled trials of spinal adjustments. The study concluded that, “There was some evidence that spinal manipulation improved psychological outcomes compared with verbal intervention. The clinical implications are that physical treatments, such as spinal manipulation have psychological benefits.”

In an attempt to give an overview explanation of how chiropractic care can help those with psychological disorders, Dr. Kent related a personal story of how he first got interested in the field. “Over 38 years ago, my first chiropractor explained that everything we experience is processed through our nervous system. When our perception of the world is distorted by nerve interference, it compromises our ability to respond appropriately. He noted that in addition to damaging our physical health, it could result in impaired psychological and emotional function as well. Finally, he opined that when this happened to a significant number of people in a society, a sick society would result.”

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