This blog post discusses the significance of the 2018 study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and
Primary Care called “Long-term relief from tension-type headache and major depression following chiropractic
Chiropractic care is all about the spine and nervous system. Science reveals that small misalignments of spinal
vertebrae coupled with altered mobility creates stress in the nervous system. The nervous system stress, also
referred to as autonomic dysfunction, increases stress hormones in the blood and body. A sustained increase in
stress hormones creates an environment for symptoms such as headaches, pain, and even depression. This study
researched the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments on headaches and depression. The results were as
• Autonomic dysfunction plays a role in the pathogenesis of tension type headaches
and depressive disorders. Chiropractic adjustments may lead to therapeutic
outcomes in certain neuro-psychiatric disorders. This research set out to evaluate
• This research evaluated the care of a 44-year-old female with tension type
headaches over a 2-year duration. Her pain was disabling across forehead and
into shoulder. She could not maintain daily activities without taking Tylenol and
• Physiotherapy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese therapy, and other drugs all
failed to help or change her headache patterns.
• She also began experiencing episodes of extreme low moods, characterized by
feelings of overwhelming sadness.
• After being diagnosed with major depressive disorder, six months of various drug
treatments for depression failed to help her. Under the stress of depression and
headaches combined with financial struggles, she had recurrent thoughts of
death and suicide.
• A chiropractic evaluation noted decreased spinal ranges of motion in the lower cervical and upper thoracic spine.
Spasms of the sternocleidomastoid and suboccipital muscles were also present.
• The Chiropractic treatment strategy was to stretch and relax the spastic muscles, restore motion in the vertebral
segments, and rehabilitate sensory motor integration with diversified spinal adjustments.
• After three months and 41 chiropractic visits, the patient regained confidence in her health and started reducing the
dose of medications.
• After six months and 65 chiropractic visits, all the patient’s symptoms disappeared, and she was able to discontinue
• Patient has enjoyed a headache-free life and mood stability over the past six years and has continued maintenance
chiropractic care monthly.
• Under the influence of chronic stress, such as back ache or headache, the nervous system is continuously provoked
without parasympathetic counteraction balance. Increased stress hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine
levels can incite an increase of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and neurological-inflammation which can exert
neurotoxic changes in the brain with the pathophysiology of depression.
• Chiropractic care is a way to reduce the frequency of pain as well as the duration and intensity of headaches with a
resultant lowering of stress hormones.
Chiropractic seeks not to treat or cure symptoms or conditions, not even pain or headaches. Yet the benefits of
removing interference from the nervous system through gentle and precise adjustments to the spine often result in
a reduction or elimination of symptoms. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of the population will suffer from
headaches at some point, with over 15% of people currently experiencing headaches at any one given time.
Benefits for headaches, mental health, and many other conditions are experienced because of spinal adjustments
all over the world. Research like this will continue to show the efficacy and necessity for more people to know
about and understand the proven benefits of chiropractic care to help suffering people without drugs or surgery.