Treating Addiction with Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Substance addiction is a medical condition that can lead to an atypical urge for and longing of a certain substance, ranging from illicit drugs and alcohol to even seemingly harmless items like processed sugar. At times, addiction can be so overpowering that conventional medical interventions and prescriptions may struggle to provide relief to the afflicted person. Studies suggest that chiropractic therapy may serve as a natural treatment approach that could enhance the efficacy of addiction recovery programs.

For more than a century, chiropractors have asserted that subluxation can impair the body’s ability to adapt to its surroundings, while adjustments can restore this natural ability. Nonetheless, our opponents have always contested the lack of evidence supporting this principle. However, recent research has explicitly demonstrated how chiropractic adjustments can help people who have lost their ability to adapt to the environment. Addicted individuals who attempt to quit using recreational drugs often endure a painful withdrawal process, which frequently causes them to relapse and fall out of addiction treatment programs. This withdrawal process is a clear indication of a body that is unable to properly adapt to a changing environment.

How can chiropractic care help in the treatment of addiction?

Chiropractic care is primarily concerned with treating the spinal column, whereas addiction is associated with the brain’s pleasure center craving a particular substance. It may seem perplexing to connect the spine with the brain’s feel-good chemicals, but numerous scientific studies have highlighted that irregularities in the spinal column can impact the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. A well-aligned spinal column can contribute to optimal brain function.

During your initial session with a licensed upper cervical chiropractor, they will assess your spinal column for any misalignments, also referred to as vertebral subluxations. These subluxations can cause a range of health problems, even if you don’t notice them. A properly aligned spinal column can promote overall bodily health, which may make treating addiction more manageable.

In addiction treatment, an upper cervical chiropractor aims to correct any misalignments in your spinal column. By addressing these misalignments, the nervous system can start functioning correctly, which allows neurotransmitters to be released properly. A misaligned spine can impede the body’s ability to process feel-good chemicals, making it easier for an individual to rely on external substances to experience a sense of well-being. However, a well-aligned spinal column can restore the proper functioning of the nervous system, enabling the body to experience a sense of well-being without relying on foreign substances. This can make addiction treatment more effective, as the individual no longer needs external substances to feel good.

In addition to conventional non-chiropractic rehabilitation care, patients undergoing treatment for severe and potentially debilitating addictions can benefit from chiropractic care as a supplementary treatment. Research has demonstrated that chiropractic care can lower levels of anxiety and depression while helping to stabilize mood swings. Therefore, individuals struggling with addiction may benefit significantly from incorporating chiropractic care into their overall healthcare routine.

By Dusanpetkovic1

What does the research say about treating addiction with chiropractic care?

Several clinical research studies have indicated that patients undergoing addiction treatment who receive certain types of spinal adjustments may have a higher rate of recovery compared to those who only receive standard addiction therapies.

Spinal adjustments can not only alleviate chronic pain issues that may have contributed to drug addiction but also have been found to expedite the healing of the brain from addiction. There is evidence to suggest that chiropractic care, in conjunction with conventional addiction treatment, can potentially enhance the recovery process by promoting healing of the nervous system, thereby reducing the likelihood of relapse.

According to a 2001 study published in the journal Nature, chemically dependent patients undergoing addiction treatment who received specific spinal adjustments reported experiencing fewer drug cravings and a reduction in mental health symptoms. This study provides some evidence to suggest that chiropractic care may be a useful adjunctive therapy in the treatment of addiction.

The study also found that 100% of the chemically dependent patients who received chiropractic care completed the inpatient addiction treatment program, while about half of those who did not receive spinal adjustments dropped out prior to completion. This high retention rate is a crucial indicator of success in addiction recovery, and a 100% retention rate in an addiction treatment program is unprecedented.

The neurological pathways underlying addiction are intricate and not yet fully comprehended, but research and clinical experience suggest that drugs like opiates and alcohol can hijack the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is a complex area of the brain located near the brainstem but also extends into the upper cervical spine.

The atlas bone, located at the top of the neck (C1), serves as protection for the limbic system and brainstem. However, if the atlas bone becomes misaligned, it can have significant impacts on the functioning of the brain and its limbic system. Safe and painless adjustments to the upper cervical spinal bones can assist in normalizing the limbic system of the brain.

When there is a misalignment between the Atlas bone and the skull, it can create a blockage or restriction in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain. This can cause a buildup of iron deposition from normal brain metabolism, which can lead to various neurological conditions. Therefore, it is important to have proper alignment of the Atlas bone and skull to ensure proper drainage of CSF and optimal brain health.

While there is some evidence that chiropractic care, specifically upper cervical spinal adjustments, may help restore normal function to the brain and treat addiction, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play and the effectiveness of this approach. It is always recommended to consult with a licensed healthcare provider before pursuing any form of treatment, including chiropractic care, for addiction or any other health condition.

Foundation Chiropractic utilizes Upper Cervical Chiropractic care to fix the primary cause of various secondary conditions (symptoms). You can call our office at 813–578–5889 to schedule a complimentary consultation.


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 Corrections 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.


Holder, J.M., Duncan, R.C., Gissen, M., Miller, M., Blum, K. “Increasing Retention Rates Among the Chemically Dependent in Residential Treatment: Auriculotherapy and Subluxation-Based Chiropractic Care.” Molecular Psychiatry, Feb 2001; 6(1).

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