connection between physical and mental health

Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health: Chiropractors Perspective

In the healthcare industry, there’s always a debate about something. However, one topic that’s generally agreed upon is the importance of mental and physical health. On the other hand, some would argue that one is more vital than the other. Perhaps a chiropractor’s perspective will provide us with a more comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture.

Why A Chiropractor’s Perspective Is Important

While chiropractors are not medical doctors, they do offer a variety of alternative medicines that help patients find quick, natural pain relief. Usually, a chiropractor focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, especially mechanical ailments involving the spine. Since a person’s physical condition often has a direct effect on their mental and emotional wellbeing, chiropractors have a unique appreciation for the inarguable connection.

The primary chiropractic technique involves non-surgical manual manipulation, a form of physical therapy that requires no over-the-counter or prescription medication. When performed by a certified chiropractor with an innate knowledge of the human body, manual manipulation of the musculoskeletal system can do the following:

  • Relieve back pain
  • Reduce the symptoms of sciatica
  • Eliminate pinched nerves
  • Stop headaches and migraines
  • Treat sports and lifestyle injuries
  • Decrease arthritic pain

In addition to their expertise on physical health, chiropractors belong to a large referral network that includes other authorities such as:

  • Neurologists
  • Internists
  • Rheumatologists
  • Orthopedists
  • Podiatrists
  • Nutritionists
  • Massage therapists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Medical doctors

Unfortunately, chiropractic therapy is largely at odds with traditional medicine, thus causing millions of people to seek prescriptions where simple chiropractic adjustments would suffice. According to the National Chiropractic Association, there is plenty of evidence to support the effectiveness and safety of this so-called “pseudoscience,” especially when it comes to naturally supporting physical wellness and enhancing mental health vicariously.

What Is Physical Health?

Physical health is defined as a state of whole-body wellness. Essential to the overall wellbeing of an individual, physical fitness includes things like a person’s:

  • Weight to height ratio
  • Lifestyle
  • Habits
  • Frequency of exercise
  • Diet
  • Posture
  • Sleep patterns
  • Genetics
  • Medical conditions
  • Injuries

A major sign of peak physical health is being able to perform daily tasks without experiencing limitations or pain. While everyone becomes ill occasionally, those who get sick often are not usually considered physically fit. Additionally, optimal physical health is proven to have a direct effect on mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.  

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is commonly defined as the absence of mental, emotional, psychological or social disorder. Also vital to general wellness, mental fitness includes things like a person’s:

  • Reaction to various stimuli
  • Perception of reality
  • General disposition
  • Habits
  • Lifestyle
  • Triggers
  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • Injuries

A major sign of peak mental health is being able to perform basic cognitive tasks without experiencing limitations, difficulty or confusion. While everyone gets sad occasionally, those who feel depressed, discombobulated or anxious on a regular basis are not usually considered mentally healthy. Additionally, optimal mental healthy is proven to have a direct effect on physical health.

Which Is More Important: Mental or Physical Health?

There is usually a clear distinction made between mind and body. Healthiness in both areas is incredibly important to the quality of a person’s life. However, the relationship between the two could not be more apparent, thereby begging the question as to why people believe one is more important than the other.

Mental disorders can present a wide range of symptoms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Mania
  • Anxiousness, which might include things like:
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Perspiring
    • Trembling
    • Changes in appetite
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
  • Sadness
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders, which could result in:
    • Malnutrition
    • Dehydration
    • Blood sugar spikes
    • Insulin resistance
    • Gout
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Reduced libido
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues, such as:
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Chronic indigestion
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Social mal-adaption  
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Poor posture
  • Medication dependency

On the other hand, physical disorders aren’t any easier to live with. Most of the time, they cause the following symptoms:

  • Chronic pain, which could radiate in various areas of the body, including:
    • The lower back
    • The neck
    • The sciatic nerve
    • The big toe
      • Usually the result of gout, a painful form of localized arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid.  
    • The hands
    • The feet
    • The head
      • Typically, in the form of recurring headaches or migraines.
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social mal-adaption
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Medication dependency
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Inability to perform some tasks
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Required mobility assistance

Obviously, mental health symptoms such as developing eating disorders, lacking motivation, experiencing fatigue, having muscle cramps and sitting or standing with poor posture can have damaging effects on a person’s physical fitness. Alternatively, experiencing chronic lower back pain, being unable to perform your favorite tasks and dealing with a decreased range of motion can wreak havoc on a person’s mental wellbeing.

Take, for example, someone who is suffering from depression. They are less likely to participate in many activities, thus experiencing a steep decrease in their physical health as a result of their already diminished mental health. On the contrary, someone going through physical pain or living with a disability may become depressed over time due to their inability to fully participate in certain activities.

Using the Physical-Mental Connection to Your Advantage  

Fortunately, there are numerous ways for a person to improve the quality of their life by taking simple steps towards whole-self wellness. By using the connection between mental health and physical health advantageously instead of arguing about which one is more important, patients can enjoy the overlapping benefits that seem to support one another.

According to the experts, a well-managed combination of balanced nutrition, gentle exercise, guided spiritual growth and regular chiropractic adjustments can suffice for most people. In fact, Fox News recently reported on the matter, citing evidence from the esteemed Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Their research had one clear conclusion. Taking a cohesive approach to your health by including a healthy diet, adequate physical activity, frequent psychological therapy and regular chiropractic care can contribute to the surprising 51.8% reduction in medicinal costs and 43% reduction in hospital admissions that the market is already experiencing as a result.

The Conclusion

While the distinction between mind and body is apparent, the connection between them may not be readily noticeable to some. By following a lifestyle that promotes physical health, a person’s mental health is thereby improved. Alternatively, lifestyles that support optimal mental health are beneficial to the body. As such, using that correlation to your advantage is a safe and natural way to enhance the quality of your life without taking over-the-counter or prescription medications.

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