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How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Helps Depression

New studies have shown significant improvements in depression test scores after upper cervical chiropractic corrections.

Depression is the most typical mental condition in the United States. Studies have shown that over 40 million adults are affected by depression and that this condition can significantly impair an individual’s daily life.

Many people swallow pills every day with the hope that they will perform some magic and make their lives easier and better. They erroneously believe this pill, or maybe those capsules will make them feel better after swallowing.

Everyone knows that antidepressant pharmaceuticals are a multibillion-dollar industry. As a result, the media is bombarded with adverts for these medications. Most of these adverts will say that a chemical imbalance causes depression in the brain. They will then encourage you to take these medications, hinting that the drug can correct this chemical imbalance.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

The problem is that no definitive research proves that a chemical imbalance causes depression in the brain.

Depression can be triggered and resolved by life events. The link between brain chemistry and life experience is a two-way phenomenon: our daily life experiences affect our brain chemistry almost as much as brain chemistry affects life experience.

Symptoms of depression

Although depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime, some typically have multiple episodes. Most of the symptoms may happen most of the day or nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of tearfulness, sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness.
  • Angry outbursts, frustration, or irritability over very trivial issues.
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in most activities, like sports, hobbies, or sex.
  • Lack of energy or tiredness, and so one is forced to put extra effort into small tasks.
  • Insomnia and other forms of sleep disturbances.
  • Restlessness, agitation, or anxiety.
  • Slowed body movements, speaking, or thinking.
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite or increased food cravings.
  • Fixating on past failures, feelings of guilt, or self-blame.
  • Trouble concentrating, thinking, remembering things, and making decisions.
  • Headaches, back pain, and other unexplained physical problems.
  • Recurrent or frequent thoughts of suicide, death, or suicide attempts.

Symptoms experienced by many depressed people are usually severe enough to trigger noticeable problems in daily activities, such as school, work, relationships, and social activities. Some depressed people may feel generally unhappy without knowing why.

The link between upper cervical spine and depression

Depression as a mental disorder can have many causes, ranging from genetic risk factors to life stressors. However, one of the most subtle causes of depression is a disrupted function in the reflex centers of the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system is a central neural pathway activated by prolonged physical stress. Since most of the body’s reflex centers are located in the brainstem and spinal cord, the autonomic nervous system becomes easily susceptible to prolonged tension and inflammation in the upper cervical spine (the top of the neck).

Foundational Shift can lead to several different secondary conditions (symptoms)

Since most cases of tension and inflammation are caused by misalignments in the upper cervical spine (top of the neck), the correction of these abnormalities by upper cervical chiropractors may restore normal function to the autonomic nervous system, thus alleviating the symptoms of depression.

But, here’s the thing. Before you rush to book a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor, I’d like to emphasize that depression is a complex condition and alternative treatments often work best when used alongside the treatment and advice offered by talk therapy support services and health professionals.

How upper cervical care helps with depression

For depressed people, your upper cervical chiropractor will specifically correct the upper neck to alleviate spinal inflammation and flush cerebrospinal fluid blockages in and around the brainstem. But before you can start changing the upper cervical spine, your chiropractor will first determine whether you have a Foundational Shift, a misalignment in your upper cervical spine.

Dr. Brett Berner with a patient reviewing their Foundational Scan

The upper cervical chiropractor will conduct some tests on the neck and back to identify a misalignment. Specific Upper Cervical Radiographs will then assess the shifted vertebra’s precise orientation and angle if there’s a misalignment.

Once they’ve collected this information, the upper cervical chiropractor can then begin to correct the Foundational Shift back to normal.

Does depression have any complications?

Depression is a severe mental disorder that can significantly affect you and your family. It often worsens if left untreated, resulting in behavioral, emotional, and health problems affecting every area of one’s life.

Complications associated with depression include:

  • Pain or physical illness
  • B eing obese or overweight can trigger heart disease and diabetes
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Social phobia, panic disorder, or anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Problems at school or work, relationship difficulties, and family conflicts
  • Self-mutilation
  • Premature death due to medical conditions

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

How to prevent depression

There is no sure way to prevent depression. But the strategies below may help.

  • Control stress. This will increase your resilience and improve your self-esteem.

  • Connect with family and friends, especially during crisis periods. This will help you to sail through the rough spells.


Depression can be a temporary as well as a long-term condition. Unfortunately, conventional treatment does not permanently eliminate depression.

However, specific upper cervical chiropractic care can relieve your symptoms. Effective management of depression involves finding the right combination of therapies. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.

Get Help: Anyone can have suicidal thoughts at some time in their life. They can learn tools to help themselves if they get professional help. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Are you thinking of taking your own life?” Call 800–273–8255, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, if you are ( or) someone you know may be at risk of taking their own life.

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.


Liu F, Fang T, Zhou F, et al. Association of Depression/Anxiety Symptoms with Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Literature in China. Pain Res Manag. 2018;2018:3259431. Published 2018 Sep 25. doi:10.1155/2018/3259431

Liberati A., Kltman D. G., Tetzlaff J., et al. The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009;151(4): W65–W94. doi: 10.7326/0003–4819–151–4–200908180–00136

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