When I was young (up through high school) I was an extremely outgoing person. A little loud, always joking and enjoyed “holding court” with friends and family. Somewhere in my 20s I realized that person was gone. In his place was a guy who kept his head down, made fake phone calls in public to avoid speaking to someone I knew in person, and rarely joked around. Even more rare was to catch me smiling. I thought that was just the person I had grown into. As time went on I felt less and less myself, and I suddenly started to have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) habits which were gaining steam daily.
Health, especially when discussed in terms of chiropractic, usually revolves around physical ailments and conditions. But your overall health can mean a number of things including your mental health. We know that past traumas, stress, and mental issues can generate actual physical pain. Stress has been labeled the “silent killer,” and it is a mental issue that causes physical issues. Did you know the inverse is true? A physical or structural problem can lead to mental distress and conditions. This is a fact that most people never think of. But let’s look at it more closely.
The brain needs several things to function properly.
If any of these are disturbed, the brain begins to function improperly. This can lead to depression, racing thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and a number of mental health issues. You see, the signals from your brain, and from your body need to be able to flow back and forth unimpeded, and when they don’t, you experience both physical problems and it can also cause mental health issues as well.
The most common cause for this disruption is the rotation of the top bone in the neck (the atlas) from its normal position. This can pinch the vertebral arteries that carry blood to the brain and lessen the flow. Decreased blood flow to any part of the body can have an affect on that part’s ability to do its job properly.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is made in the brain, and then drains down the spinal cord. This same rotation of Atlas can block some of drainage pathways and cause a build-up of CSF in the brain. Just like blocked tributaries can cause a river to flood, too much fluid builds up and compresses the brain. This can lead to poor nerve communication with the rest of the body, and even nerve communication within the brain.
Part of brain development and function is determined by the spine sending information about what position we are in and where we are in space. If the Atlas is rotated, the brain gets bad information. “Garbage in garbage out” applies here. Making decisions on bad information usually leads us to the wrong place. This can cause a lot of anxiety, depression and OCD.
Remember I told you at the beginning in my 20s I started to hide away and no longer felt like myself? Like most people I tried a variety of medications that either had no impact on my mental health, or turned me into a zombie…..a zombie that still struggled with all the same issues.
I finally found my way to an upper cervical chiropractor. He showed me my Atlas was out of place, corrected it, and before long I realized I was actually smiling. I enjoyed being around other people, I could go to sleep at night without my brain making up worst case scenarios etc., and my OCD disappeared. It turned out, I had had an accident as a kid, and over the years the pressure from the bone being out of place had added up and led to my mental health issues.
I have seen this with countless patients over the years. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts, get your upper neck checked to see if a structural issue is causing your brain to malfunction a bit.
I can tell you from personal experience IT IS WORTH IT.
Dr. Lee Angle
Dr. Lee Angle is originally from southern West Virginia. After having his life changed through Upper Cervical Care he chose to pursue it as a career. He has been practicing Upper Cervical Chiropractic for over nine years. Dr. Angle previously worked as a certified personal trainer. This background allows him to educate his patients on proper movement and exercises to speed their recovery and enhance their Upper Cervical Care.