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Anxiety Bustin'

Thursday, January 17, 2013

[Note: As you can probably tell from the title, this post is about anxiety. So, if you don't suffer from a panic disorder, you may find it a little boring - and if you *do* suffer from a panic disorder, you may find it a little triggering. Please proceed accordingly.]

Today is a special milestone for me, and I'm super excited to tell you guys about it. See, two years ago today, on January 17th, 2011, something awesome happened - something that was a real break-through in the treatment of my anxiety - but at the time I wasn't comfortable discussing my anxiety issues here, so I never really talked about it.

But since today is my anxiety-bustin' anniversary, as it were, and since I have one of you readers to thank for it  - and most importantly, because I hope my experience might help someone else out there - I'm going to tell you about the first time I went to a chiropractor.

Now, if you're like I was two years ago, then you're probably wondering what the heck a chiropractor has to do with anxiety. You might also think that chiropractors are only a step above witch doctors, with no real science behind them or measurable benefits to their care. I get that.

See, I grew up with an RN for a mom, so my family's health care was always the typical Western stuff - no alternative "funny business." Then my mom was in a car accident that left her with whiplash, TMJ, and a lot of nerve damage. Western medicine could only do so much - they broke her jaw and wired it shut for 6 weeks, and then started trying to kill off the nerves that were causing her the most pain. Over the years she sought treatment after treatment for migraines, neck pain, numbness, and limited range of motion in her arms, and it was the "alternative" stuff - chiropractic, acupuncture, and non-prescription supplements - that gave her the most relief. Seeing her go through all this for the past 20 years, I've learned to keep a pretty open mind when it comes to health care. (And my mom, the former RN, is a bona fide convert to alternative medicine. Heh.)

So when one of you readers suggested I try a chiropractor for my anxiety, I figured, hey, why not?

At the time of my first appointment I was at the lowest point I've ever experienced with my panic attacks. This was back when I couldn't leave the house, ride in a car, or even leave my bedroom for a few days. I had nearly constant chest pain and several attacks a week. I was in a seriously bad way, and knew I needed help.

We found a doctor through a trusted friend, but his office was about 40 minutes away - so just getting there required Xanax and a lot of white-knuckled determination on my part.

Fortunately they were able to do X-rays and my consult and treatment all on that first day. From the X-rays I learned I have some minor lower back degradation and a perfectly straight neck, which *sounds* like a good thing, but as it turns out, it's not. It's called a "military neck," and seems to be fairly common in people who use the computer a lot.

(Military neck on the left, normal neck curve on the right, via)

Having your head pushed forward while staring at a computer screen all day can straighten out your neck's natural curve, and that in turn places all the strain and weight of your head on the spot between your shoulder blades. (It's the same kind of pain you get when practicing the piano, if you're familiar with that.)

Now, here's the unofficial theory I've heard on how this and other chiropractic issues relate to anxiety: your spinal cord contains all the major information and electrical pathways of your body, so when it gets pinched or injured or aggravated, it can cause all sorts of things - including things like your adrenaline response - to go out of whack. That's a really broad, completely non-technical, and possibly flat-out wrong way of putting it, but to be honest I've never researched it any further.

Ok, so, back to that day two years ago:

We completed my first adjustment, which was weird but painless, and then John brought me home. I didn't tell the doctor about my anxiety; I just told him my neck and lower back hurt sometimes, which they did. I didn't want to hear the voodoo sales pitch, to be honest, so I figured I'd let the results speak for themselves, if there were any.

After the appointment I didn't really feel all that different, so on the way home I told John I might cancel the follow-up appointments. After all, the doctor wanted to see me three times a week to start - THREE! - and it was such a long drive that I didn't see how it would be worth the stress of getting there. John said he'd support me whatever I decided, and that was that.

The next day, I felt pretty normal.

Wait. I think I should say that again.

The next day, I felt pretty normal.

The reason that's important is because that day we were meeting some fellow bloggers out at Disney. I'd been dreading the 40-minute car ride to the parks, dreading the nerves and stress of meeting someone I admired for the first time, dreading explaining why I couldn't go on any rides, and dreading just being away from home in general. I figured I'd have to take a Xanax - which I hated - and try to muddle through the fear.

Except, when I got up that day, the dread wasn't there. I skipped the Xanax, expecting to pay the price with an attack later, but figuring it was worth the risk.

The attack never came.

Some light-headedness, yes, and a little discomfort & palm sweats, but by and large I was Ok. In fact, I had an amazing day - the best I'd had in months - and left that night feeling like I could take on the world. Suddenly, I didn't want to go home: I wanted to stay out, go shopping, get dinner - I wanted to be around people and plants and the sky again!

My curiosity officially piqued, I went back for the follow-up treatments that week. They were the same as the first: a bit uncomfortable, at most, and I left feeling no noticeable change. Except, even though I didn't feel particularly good, I didn't feel bad, either. And that was more than enough.

The doc stepped down my appointments gradually, starting at three a week for two weeks, then two a week, then one, then once every two weeks, where I stayed for some time.

After my first appointment I went six months without a single panic attack. SIX MONTHS. That was the longest amount of time I'd ever had between attacks since my first one in 2007.

Of course, when I had that attack at the six month mark, I was devastated. I'd begun to think I was "cured," and so was taking more risks and going longer and longer between appointments. I think it had been three weeks since my last appointment at that time, and I was being laced into a corset at a Ren Fair when the dizziness and dread struck me down again. I lapsed into a mild depression, but I also stepped my appointments back up to twice a month, so within a few months I was back up to the same level I'd been before.

Today I'm at a pretty good place with my anxiety. I still have it, obviously, but I can go months and months without attacks, and when they do strike these days they're milder than they used to be. My last attack hit last month when I was riding Soarin' at Epcot with my family. I was feeling so good that day that I again got a little cocky and started testing my boundaries. I rode Nemo for the first time in ages, and then set my sights on Soarin'. It turns out I'm Ok right up to the point the seats lift off the ground. Heh.

But there's more good news: I've been reading this older book on managing the more psychological aspects of anxiety, and it's really been helping. So I practiced some of the techniques from the book, and by the time the ride was over I was able to get up with only slightly wobbly legs, wipe off my sweaty palms, take one last deep breath, and go on with my day. John knew what had happened, but my family didn't. That's a win. (The book is Hope and Help for Your Nerves, btw, and came recommended by another of you readers. I still haven't finished it, but already I've gleaned some great tips.)

These days I see the chiropractor about once a month. I almost always test that, though, stretching it to five or six weeks, but invariably around that point I start having flare-ups again. I know I need an adjustment when I get those inexplicable waves of panic - the kind not brought on by stress or my environment. I also know they're related to my spine because when those waves hit, and I suddenly can't swallow or take a deep breath, all I have to do is roll my neck and shoulders for a moment to feel almost immediate relief. It's frankly kind of mind-blowing, how direct the connection is. Sometimes I'll be propped up on the couch with my head at an odd angle, and I'll start to panic - again, for no reason at all - and I'll straighten up, stretch my shoulders and neck back, and after a moment the panic will recede. (Oh, and I also sleep on a special neck pillow, which is rock-hard and uncomfortable and I hate it, but I guess it helps. [grumble])

My hope is that this will encourage my fellow anxiety-sufferers out there to consider trying out a chiropractor, at least once. (Especially those of you on the computer all day, like me.) Of course, make sure you find a good one - there are bad doctors out there in all fields - and never do anything you're not comfortable with. If you live in central Florida, go to Dr. Tenpenny, my guy. He and his staff are wonderful, his name sounds like something out of Harry Potter, and John and I love him. In fact, even John gets adjusted from time to time; it helps when he's extra sore from working out, and he's there with me in the room for every appointment anyway. Plus sometimes he and the doc will sing duets while I'm getting my adjustment, and the three of us joke around so much that we end every appointment with laughter. It's definitely the best atmosphere I've ever experienced in a medical office.

Look at it this way: If you try a chiropractor and it doesn't help, then you'll just be out the cost of X-rays and an appointment. But on the other hand, you might be like me, and find that it's the breakthrough you've been hoping for. So I ask you: what have you got to lose?

Feel free to weigh in with your own experiences or ask questions in the comments. I freely admit I'm no expert, and I only have my own experiences to offer, but I'm happy to tell you what I can!

Posted by Jen at 12:30 PM Labels: ,


  1. So happy for you! I'm not anxious but hearing your recovery is a delight :)

  2. My neck is strait too. I blame it on the time I tried to do a back hand spring and landed on my head. I never attributed the social anxiety I used to suffer to my back probems, but it does make sense. We are one big being, after all.
    Having worked for a Chiropractor for a couple of years, many of them are excellent doctors (some of them are crackpots). Did you know they go through the same medical trainging as traditional Drs? The big difference is that they learn adjustment techniques instead of precriptions. They just have a bad rap because the AMA spread some nasty rumors a long time ago (there was a lawsuit, the Chiros won)
    Geeky fact -Dr "Bones" McCoy from the original Star Trek - totally a Chiropractor! At least, that's what my boss used to tell me.

  3. Jen, thank you so very much for posting this! I am a fellow anxiety sufferer but also a grad student working towards a marriage and family therapy degree. I find this extremely fascinating and I will definitely be looking more into it. Glad that you have found some relief. Kevin

  4. Jen I'm always so happy to read these more personal posts. I love that you are brave enough to share these things with the world. I'm super glad you're feeling better. As someone who has no medical issues your posts really help me to understand what it's like for people who do have issues.

    Any way, thanks for sharing and stay strong!

  5. I'm going to look for that book. There's no way I can afford the chiropractor, but I'm glad it helped you, and I hope it helps others. Reading posts like yours help me feel less depressed and alone. Thank you for being brave enough to share your struggle with us. I think you're pretty damn cool!

  6. Wowww, thank you so much for sharing this. I spend most of my time at the computer and now that I think about it, my anxiety really started to ramp up around the time I started doing so. I live in Clermont so your doctor would be quite a drive for me (plus I don't have insurance) but I'm definitely going to look into it.

  7. Have you told your chiropractor about the relief? My husband suffers depression and anxiety among other things, i wonder if a chiropractor or a massage therapist might work to relieve some of his problems. Thanks so much for sharing this and for getting my wheels turning!

  8. I've been saying I need to get back to the chiropractor for months now! They are fabulous (especially if you find a good one.) My husband is a physical therapy assistant and his clinic works in tandem with chiropractors and massage therapists because the head doc is totally behind alternative therapies.

    MY anxiety has been mostly under control for a year now. With the exception of a stressful move that I refused to Xanax up for (with mixed results) and my wedding, which made me miss my daddy something fierce and did require meds and alcohol (bad combo, I know!) to get me through without having snot and tears running down my hyperventilating face.

    But Jen, you a such an inspiration. You inspire me to be myself every day. And then someone I admire so much goes and helps advocate ways of handling what I suffer from in non medicated ways. My heart swells.

  9. A chiropractor gave me slipped discs. BUT, that being said, I think if I had gone to someone different I would have had a good experience. Like with all things, listen to your body. If your body is telling you, "Hmm, I'm not so sure about this guy" don't let him touch your back!!! I should have listened to myself and because I didn't, I now have back pain for life. Be careful with your back and neck.

  10. I'm so happy you found something that works! This has definitely got me thinking about spine health and my partner's panic disorder; he has a chronic back injury. I will have to suggest this to him when his levels start dropping again.

    One of the things he has tried and has been successful so far - fingers crossed - is hiring a personal trainer. His goal wasn't to lose weight or have someone scream at them (does. not. like. the yelling "to motivate") but just someone that can guide him through exercises with his back injury in mind and motivate him. He's seen a huge improvement in his mental health and no longer wakes in the middle of the night with panics.

    It's not a cure-all and he is still going to have to use CBT techniques to get through the attacks, but it has helped decrease the number.

    Thank you for writing this post!

  11. Thanks again Jen for speaking for us anxiety sufferers. I am generally distrustful of the medical establishment so I am always on the lookout for "alternative" treatments but I hadn't made the connection with chiropractors... definitely something to consider. Although I keep xanax on me at all times for emergencies, I have found the most relief from vitamin supplements like Kava Kava. Like you, I now only average one panic attack every 6 months. Congrats on 2 years and keep up the good work!

  12. We've been battling anxiety issues for awhile now with NHL, though only recently did we know what was going on. Last year, we got a diagnosis: Anxiety Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.

    His anxieties are such that if he feels nervous he'll start acting out and laughing. To the untrained eye (like ours pre-diagnosis), this looks like he's TRYING to be bad. He honestly can't stop himself (which makes him more nervous... vicious cycle). Then, the anxiety attack will hit him fast and full on and he'll be screaming and yelling up a storm. (In class, middle of a store, at home, where ever.) There's no reasoning with him when he gets like this. You just need to get him to a safe place to let him scream until he calms down. Often he won't even remember screaming.

    Thankfully, we found a doctor who is helping him. His anxieties are somewhat under control with medication. (I wasn't a fan of this at first, but we need to keep him calm so he can have time to learn coping techniques without the full panic setting in.) Sadly, getting him help from other areas (*cough*school district*cough*) has been an uphill battle that we are still fighting. Not to mention helping him feel like he has a place in school where kids pick on anyone who is different like a kid with anxiety and Asperger's.

  13. Long time reader de-lurking to say: while I am glad that you have been provided with relief, it worries me to have such an endorsement of a potentially dangerous practice. For back/neck pain, there might be legitimate use, but it makes me concerned to have it recommended for other issues. I totally admire you for making active choices about treating your anxiety, but I can't help but think that there is some sort of placebo effect happening or that the relief of the physical pain in your back/neck was a de-stressor that helped lessen your anxiety. I hope this doesn't come off as mean or condescending, I'm actually quite concerned to see someone whose writing I've enjoyed so much engage in and endorse chiropracty.

    Some articles from a former chiropractor:



  14. Oh Jen!! I'm so happy for you! As a therapist, I love it when people can improve, even if it's not through therapy (I mean, my job kind of depends on people getting therapy, but I know that's definitely not the only way to overcome a problem)! I think if your adjustments are working for you, then, by golly, go get you some! In fact, I may try that out with my own Generalized Anxiety Disorder... it certainly can't hurt!

  15. Good for you, Jen, I'm glad you found something that helps! It actually makes a lot of sense that cervical kyphosis could lead to anxiety and your 'unexplained' inability to swallow - the loss of the curve is putting pressure on your vagal nerves and esophagus and bronchial tube, which relays to your brain a signal that it's being choked. Then your body triggers into a fight or flight response, and for someone that is predisposed to panic attacks or anxiety disorder, this can become a trigger. Thus rolling your neck to help readjust your spine can help, as can a chiropractor as long as you have one that knows what he's doing. It sounds like you've found a great doctor, and as always, you have a wonderful husband :)

    Thank you for sharing your success!

  16. Jen, again you've written about a journey on parallel paths. My mom = most NON Western medicine person after years of no-help from Western medicine. Us = chiro from almost birth, and happy to say that when you find a GOOD & SAFE chiro, your life improves. Referrals are the key and massage prior to adjustment. Our chiros (married couple) have helped our entire family. He even rescued a friend from imminent carpal tunnel surgery (she is a programmer), my husband from back problems (programmer), and so on. We're about to start regular sessions for our kids (one who grew very quickly and one whose posture is already poor at 9 (Lego) and who tends to be stiff.

    If only there were key words or qualifications I could share for finding a qualified and safe chiro, but I don't have those. Look for a chiro who benefitted from it themselves - seems to be a common denominator. And thank you Jen for sharing something that can be so beneficial.

  17. Not suffering from any kind of diagnosed anxiety disorder, I can affirm that this was definitely not boring in any way. I'm really glad that the visits are helping and that you've gotten so much better as a result. You're amazing and so inspirational.

  18. I'm honored you'd allow us random cyber-folks into your personal life. You have my thanks for sharing something so private.
    And I'm thrilled we live in a country where everyone is welcome to find the relief they need from so many different types of people and practices, and I'm thrilled you DID find relief!

  19. Can I ask what kind of pillow you use? I have a feeling something like what you describe would help me quite a bit but admittedly I haven't done much research on it. Is there a particular brand?

    (And I think it's wonderful you've found something that helps you so much, even if it is unconventional. Thanks for being brave enough to share with all of us!)

  20. Im glad you have found a good chiro... some are great and some are not. I had a ton of neck and nerve issues all the way down my left arm my sophomore year of college, most likely from all my violin playing, and that ended my violin career. I couldnt pick up my instrument without white hot pain shooting down my arm and up my neck. That was six years ago, and finally last month, after learning how to stretch, self-adjust my back and hips and sleeping on a neck pillow for those years, I was able to pick up my violin and play again. Now I can effectively teach music again.

    I definitely encourage you to learn stretching techniques and get flexibility and strength through your core and back. Combined with the chiro, that should be a big help :)

  21. @Beth... I use this neck pillow and absolutely love it.

    neck pillow

    Hope that link works! If not, go to Amazon and search for DreamTime neck pillow... its the first result :)

  22. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for almost 10 years now. My anxiety is fairly textbook except for the weird quirk of not being able to talk on the phone. There are a handful of people I can talk to, but anyone else I start shaking and freaking out. And that's when they call me! Imagine trying to place the call!
    I will say what helped me. When I was pregnant with my second son my OB tested me for Vitamin D deficiency. Apparently because most of American spends more time indoors and wears sunscreen when they do go outside, a large portion of us are vitamin D deficient. She started testing all her patients because it can lead to birth defects.
    On her advice I started taking Vit D3 every day. It was as though my entire world was replaced with a pretty new shiny one. I could leave my house. I could talk to people. I could do things. And the crippling Post Partum Depression I suffered from after my first son was born, never manifested after my second birth.
    I stupidly stopped taking it for several months and one day I realized I was yelling at my babies. I wasn't leaving the house. I was suffering again. I started taking it again and again it was a whole new world.
    I am so glad you have found help. To those who have never suffered, it sounds silly. But it cripples you.

    1. Omega 3 and Vit D for me. I have a tested deficiency, and whatever that anemia that means your system doesn't absorb iron properly.

      The side effect of less depression made me look online about D. Then asked my nurse (I don't see Dr.'s, too long a wait) who first said she didn't know about it and then that she only knew of one study. Since the panel that turned it up was to see if there was a chemical basis for my issues, I'm now looking for an office that's less meds, more well-rounded.

  23. Just don't go crazy with the alternative stuff. It can certainly help, I'm absolutely certain, but it's *not* a replacement for proper directed care. If you develop cancer and go to only a chiropractor *you will die*. Well, sooner than you would otherwise.

    Doing it as part of your quality-of-life stuff though... well since the goal of that is quite literally to make you feel better, it's pretty silly to think someone can tell you you're wrong for using something effective (unless it's doing actual damage, which most chiropractors who know WTF they're doing won't.)

  24. @ irasema - I told the doc about my anxiety around that first 6 month mark. Now he knows to ask about it every few appointments, but otherwise nothing changed. (He did say he hears similar stories pretty often, so I get the feeling this is old hat for him.)

    @ Anony - your comment wasn't mean or condescending at all! And this is the kind of discussion I really appreciate, so thanks for chiming in. I've discussed the placebo possibility with my mom before, who also thinks that's what it is, despite her advocacy of alternive medicine. She explained the release of endorphines that can fool you into thinking your anxiety is gone and all - but those endorphines don't last more than a day, and since I was skeptical to begin with, I really don't think that's the case with me. But then again, I know there's no way to prove it ISN'T a placebo affect, so all I can do is share my own experience and let people research it for themselves and make up their own minds. Anyway, thanks again for voicing the other side of the issue.

    @ Jessie H. - that is fascinating, and something I'd never had posited to me before. (I've never mentioned the swallowing issue to my doc.) Thanks!

    @ Beth - my pillow is the kind with a hole in the middle and a stiff roll/shelf that goes under your neck. You can't sleep on your side with it, and if you turn your head in the night you wake up with bruised ears. But, like I said, I guess it helps! (Sorry I don't know the brand, but I'm sure there are a bunch out there.)

  25. Congratulations to you for having success in managing your anxiety!

    I've personally never tried going to a chiropractor, though someday when I have the money to, I'd love to see if it helps me.

    I'd also love to suggest it to my boyfriend, who has very severe anxiety and panic. He's always been afraid to go, and has refused when it's been suggested, because he has serious nerve damage in his neck and shoulders. (He has several herniated disks, and is afraid that a chiropractor could do something to damage them or worsen the pain.) I'm not sure how likely this is, especially since many of them know how to focus on the damage from injuries, can view x-rays or MRIs to see what problems are present, etc.

    But really, I'm so glad to hear that it's something that worked so well for you! I'll certainly keep it in mind should I ever have the opportunity to visit one!

  26. Hi Jen,

    I've been dealing with depression for 12 years now, and can't seem to shake it. I am currently on two daily medications for it. I also have daily tension headaches and migraines once a week. I've had chiropractice, acupuncture (you would freak out - pins in your face!!), and now am seeing a holistic doctor. Changing my diet and taking the recommended supplements have helped quite a bit, but not enough. Like other commenters, I am glad you post this type of information. Not just because you supply info about what has worked for you, but also because you're being real. For those of us who don't venture out into the real world much, or don't want to speak up when in a group because we think we're the only ones, it's nice to read that we are NOT the only ones. I admire your writing, cleverness, and humor on Cake Wrecks. I love seeing your projects on EpBot. To me, you're an inspiration in many ways. So if you ever get to feeling down, please remember that many, many people hold you in high esteem - anxiety and all!


  27. So glad you are feeling better, however you got there. If the chiropractor works for you, then that is the way to go, placebo affect or spinal impulse misdirection. I've been a doctor long enough to know that we often don't really know exactly how things work.

    I have neck issues from my job (my two partners have already had cervical spine surgeries). I'm avoiding surgery with one of those weird cervical pillows and spending time upside down. I'm super flexible, so that just means bending over for a minute or so whenever I get a twinge. Seems to be working. And I love my funky pillow.

    Wanted to address to Ginamonster that I am an MD, my nephew is a chiropractor. Our training is not the same. Doesn't make him a bad chiropractor, but it doesn't make him the same as an MD either. I think chiropractors have a role in health care, but I don't want your readers to think that they can substitute one for the other.

  28. Hi Jen!

    This is the same Anonymous who left a note about Natural Calm a few posts ago, and I figured I should tell you it's from my Chiro. I happened to see him this month on a really bad cramp day, and he used lasers and massage to fix them. He still hasn't found the underlying cause, but it's worth discussing those sorts of long-term issues with a chiropractor.

    I have severe TMJ as well (years ago, I had major reconstructive surgery on my jaw), and some of the symptoms (dizzy spells / walking into walls / etc.) have almost entirely disappeared.

    All the best!

  29. This post made my day.

    The chiropractic theory makes sense; even if it did not, it's hard to argue with success. I'm sure the naysayers mean well, but results are the name of the game.

    Further proof of your healing -- which also helps it along and reinforces it, by the way -- is your desire to help others who have 'been there'. As a former anxiety sufferer (20+ years with no panic attacks, thank You, Lord), I have a major vendetta against that form of fear; one of my greatest pleasures is to be able to "comfort others with the comfort which [I] have received."

    I'm very proud of you -- as you know, fighting 'the battle' is not weakness or indulgence, but takes enormous courage and stamina. For those who don't know, a panic attack uses the same energy as running a marathon, but in a fraction of the time.

    One of the things I learned is to avoid thinking, "This is as good as it's going to get," because that is when growth stops. Testing the boundaries is what keeps them from shrinking. Besides, you know how good it feels to do something you didn't think you could do.

    Have you tried egg flips yet? Since an egg doesn't really have any sides, I'm not sure what flipping one is supposed to accomplish. Whatever...

  30. This makes sense, and I'm glad you have figured out a treatment that helps. Our spinal cord is part of our brain, and our autonomic nervous system, which controls our subconscious responses, is always in delicate balance. For some reason, many people tend to think of nerves as just electrical impulses, but they are tangible tissue which can be pinched, pulled, caught, severed, bruised and irritated by bad posture or traumatic events or both. When the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are not in balance, they can cause problems with everything from heart rate to bowel function to proper sensation in our extremities. It feels out of control because it actually is. It's not in our heads, and it is treatable. I'm just a reader, but I'm also a professional dancer whose livelihood depends upon a functioning body on stage (in front of an audience!). I have found that adjustments are necessary from time to time and help a great deal, but what has had long-lasting effects for me is Pilates. I humbly recommend a Pilates or Gyrotonics class to help build better posture habits and strength, and retain the adjustments longer. Look for someone licensed. I am fortunate to take my classes from instructors who are also licensed, practicing, doctors of physical therapy (not just physical therapists; these ladies have been through med school), so they know my body better than I do!
    Again, I'm so happy for you that you've found some relief. Keep letting us know how things go. :)

  31. Tried to post this and ran into an error, so if it's a double post I apologize...
    Can I ask what kind of adjustments your chiropractor does? Is it the manual kind, where he gives you a bear hug & "cracks" your back? Or does he use one of those little spring-loaded gun things? I've seen a few chiropractors and they all do different types of adjusting and I even ended up at one through my ex-husband (while we were still married) who convinced us to sign up for committing to months worth of visits that were extremely expensive and I honestly didn't get any relief from what he did. That left a bad taste in my mouth.
    Anyway, I'm curious what type of adjusment technique your chiropractor uses on you and even what others here have experienced that works best for them.

  32. Thank you for sharing this! I'm forwarding to my husband right now... he has mild anxiety and occasional panic attacks. I've told him many times he should try the chiropractor just because he has such horrible range of motion in his neck (tilting his head side-to-side). Interesting that it might all be related, and I'm so glad regular chiro visits are working for you!

    I started going to my chiropractor a couple years ago because I was having trapezius problems from a career of sewing. Turns out, I had a totally straight neck (like you did), and man, did it hurt! Now, I can go about a month between visits before it gets tight again.

  33. I stumbled into alternative health care just over a year ago when I decided I was done taking 30 pills a day for lupus. I also had major anxiety and moderate agoraphobia. While I know it's not for everyone, and I honestly respect everyone's right to make the decision as to what is right for them, I will say I now only have to take a blood pressure pill and an aspirin every day.

    I didn't think much of it until I read this, but since seeing a holistic practitioner and a chiropractor, my anxiety has been reduced to the point where I can drive and be social again. It actually didn't even occur to me until now how MUCH my anxiety has subsided because it has been slowly improving over this past year. Hmmm...

    Thank you so much for sharing this today!

  34. Had my first experience with a chiropractor last week. My husband had something go wrong in one of his ribs, and he suddenly could barely move or breathe. We took him to the chiropractor, and I was fully expecting to be utterly turned off by his alternative medicine nonsense. Instead, I was surprised with how grounded he was and how immediately my husband got relief. I'm definitely opening up to the idea, and I'm so glad that it's had positive results for you!

  35. @ Jane - Yeah, I've heard about spring-loaded contraptions and whatnot before, but my doc doesn't use them on me.

    Here's how my session goes: I lie face-down on a special table, and the doc presses sharply in 3 places on my spine, which causes all the fun crunchy noises. Then I switch to each side, where he twists me to crack my lower back. Finally, I'm on my back while he twists my head to crack my neck, and also pulls gently on my head to stretch my neck a little. The whole thing takes maybe five minutes.

    Before the adjustment he also does some quick massage and pressure points on my shoulder blades, and the session ends with a "thumper" massage (from a handheld thumper machine) and 20 minutes on a rolly table, which has embedded rollers that go up my spine.

    One time I had some tingling problems down one arm, so he did use a drop mechanism on the special table: it went "THUNK" and dropped maybe two inches, which adjusted something on my side, I think.

    My doc has never tried to sell us package deals or extend my treatment schedule: he stepped down my appts really quickly, and now tells me to only come in when I think I need to. Our insurance covers the visits now, which is awesome, but before that we paid $44 a visit. That can get pricey fast, of course, but for a monthly management visit it's not bad at all.

  36. I love reading your posts, and appreciate the stuff you share! I suffered 10 years with increasingly debilitating migraines and the last few years with GAD on top of it. I had no curve in my neck either.

    Since I have been seeing a chiro and eating better, not only have the migraines gone from daily to *maybe* every few months but I have also had many, many people tell me my whole demeanor changed. It definitely was a turn around point for me in a lot of ways!

    Even if it were just "placebo", well hey - you are functioning better and not on the medication you disliked - win win in my book :)

  37. Thank you for posting these types of posts. I know it can't be easy to write it out but know (as I am sure you do) you are not alone. I am glad you are finding things that help!

    I've suffered from depression and anxiety for awhile now (Xanax is such a friend!). But during my panic attacks I found I liked to have pressure applied to help calm me down. I have since found a weighted blanket (which also helps autism and other sensory disorders). This has been a real life saver for me.

    I got my blanket from www.sensorygoods.com I am not affiliated with them but I heard about them on an episode of Parenthood. :)

  38. Thank you so much for sharing this and I am totally going to send my husband. He doesn't go to a massage therapist nearly as often as he should either so maybe if we get him to a chiropractor it will help his anxiety. :)

  39. I am not personally an anxiety sufferer, but I do know of another treatment that may help with, not only anxiety, but many physical and mental health issues. My mom is a licensed professional councilor, with a PhD in councelling who incorporates hypnosis into her practice. She is an amazing lady who is of the belief that hypnosis can help everyone in their everyday life. She teaches people how to go into trance on their own to tape into their own unconscious and subconscious minds to control your body's reactions to things.

    Hypnosis can be used to control bleeding, pain, reactions to allergens, reduce side effects of medications, all kinds of physical things, as well as for memory recall, both short and long term and other ways that are useful for mental health issues, which I'm sure my mom would do a much better job describing than I can.

    Hypnosis is so powerful that my mom has had two hernia repair surgeries... pretty major surgery... without using anesthesia. All she used was hypnosis to turn off the pain and the bleeding few other things and she was awake through the entire thing.

    She also uses hypnosis to control her fibromyalsia without medication. In fact when she was diagnosed with it there where no drugs for it yet as it had just been discovered. Her fibromyalsia used to be so bad before we knew what it was that she ended up spending part of our Disney vacation in a wheelchair. Now she has been basically pain free for at least 10 years. Occasionally, she will get flare ups, similar to your anxiety flare ups, when her neck and shoulders get out of alignment. She uses hypnosis, rather than a chiropractor to get them back in place.

    In her practice Mom helps all kinds of people with a full range of physical and mental issues. She is located in North Carolina, which is a pretty long trip from Orlando, but there are doctors like her all over the country. Similar to chiropractors, there are some crackpots out there so you do have to be careful, but when used appropriately hypnosis can be a wonderful tool for use on it's own or in conjunction with other treatments. If you would like to know more, The American Society for Clinical Hypnosis has all kinds of great information including research and a way to search for certified providers in your area.

    Hope this helps!

  40. That could've been my x-ray! I was hit on the passenger's side of the car and it caused migraines and TMJ and depression. I ended up having to drop out of school for a semester because the headaches and depression were so bad. Very frustrating.

    My chiropractor followed almost the same schedule as yours, Jen. And after 6 months I was able to go back to school with weekly appointments.

    I did have one time where he adjusted me and I left feeling worse than before. It developed into a migraine and I called back the next day and he re-did my x-rays. Turns out I have a vertebrae in my neck that sticks out more on the one side so when you feel it, it doesn't feel aligned but it is. He was actually un-aligning (is that a word?) my neck. So what I learned is that the communication with the chiro and the x-rays are key. If your chiro is not doing x-rays, they are just guessing. I have had family members go to "chiropractors" that are no more than massage therapists; they do good things but not the same as a chiro.

    Also, I have moved to England and can't really see my chiropractor in Minnesota once a week any more. But he gave me two things that continue to help my neck even without visits. One is a dogbone pillow like this one that I use and now my husband even uses one because they are so comfortable. We take them on planes and they work better than the ones that strangle your neck.

    I also have a halo, which looks like an ankle weight for a giant. I got this from my chiropractor though specifically for the forward head posture. I wouldn't get one unless a doctor tells you to but I swear by it. I take this with me on trips too and look like an idiot wearing it for 20 minutes a day but if it keeps migraines away, why not?!?!

    Glad to hear others have had success with chrios. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without one. I never would have finished school. And I never did figure out if the depression caused the migraines or vise versa but they are both gone now for 8 years! HUZZAH!

  41. I don't know why people hate on 'alternative' medicine - it's been around a lot longer than the big pharm-funded 'medicine' we havve today! :P

    I regularly see a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, and a massage therapist (three different people...), so I don't see what the big controversy is. :)

  42. I am so, so happy that you found something that helped so well. It is sometimes hard for people without anxiety to understand what those of us with it really go through or to be supportive of us. I'm also very happy that you took the step to share with all of us, which helps you get through some of the things you're struggling with.

  43. I am glad to hear going to the Chiropractor is making such a big difference for you.
    I am a big believer in "alternative" medicine.
    When I was 13 (31 now) I started to get debilitating bouts of vertigo on a bi monthly basis- couldnt even drink a glass of water without needing to hurl.
    After 2 years of regular treatment at the chiropractor, if I got one every 6 months it was a surprise. Now a days I can go a whole year without a case of Vertigo- when I feel the symptoms start to creep up I do all the stretching exercises I was prescribed and I can cut it off at the knees before it takes a hold.
    Keep up the good work, and stop stretching it to 6 weeks ;)

  44. First of all I wanted to say that you Jen, are one of my most favorite people on the internet. I love that you are real and authentic and so kind and share who you truly are with people. Its felt and its appreciated. (I'm tired of garbage on the internet, your site is a bright spot. So thank you.)

    I'm so happy you've had such a good experience! I have some anxiety, so I thought this was really interesting. My sister has a chiropractor she is in LOVE with, so I started going to him because I had been feeling so down and lack of energy and not feeling like I could get out of bed. He's not just a chiropractor but a naturopathic doctor and put me on a whole bunch of supplements and things, and wearing magnet bracelets and whatnot. He did adjustments with machines, not manual adjustments.

    My sister loves it and is convinced its the best thing in the world. (I do think there's a little bit of placebo effect for her, she HATES regular doctors and would do just about anything to avoid them.) I went in to it with an open mind really hoping for some good results, but it didn't really do anything for me. In fact, the day or so after I never felt so sick! A lot of the supplements made me feel chronically nauseous as well, so I stopped going and feel a lot better.

    Obviously, I didn't get a chiropractor like yours! haha I'm sad because he was such a nice doctor and I know he really believes in what he's doing, the results just weren't there for me. But they are there for a lot of other people, so I guess you gotta find what works for you!

    I think alternative medicine is a really good thing, people need to realize that just trying something once and it not working doesn't mean its all a big crock. Which is why I will try a different chiropractor or something else until I find what works best for me. I feel like I'm half hippy and half traditionalist! ;) Good luck with your anxiety and thank you again for sharing your experiences!

  45. Okay, you've convinced me. I'm generally a person very skeptical of alternative therapy (acupuncture, for instance, did NOTHING for me except hurt). But I am going to give this a go. My anxiety is so much better controlled now than it was three months ago, but I figure it couldn't hurt.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    PS- damn triggers. now I'm anxious.

  46. Jen,

    I have known about the wonders of chiropractic care and its beneficial affect on anxiety for years. I go to the chiro every other week for an adjustment and it really does help. I initially started seeing a chiro for back and neck pain from old car accident injuries, and over time got to learn all about the benefits of chiropractic care for the whole body. I am prone to migraine headaches, and when I feel one coming on, I call the office and tell them I need to come in and I get adjusted. If I get there quickly enough , I never even have to suffer through the headache. The adjustment will help shorten the length of the headaches if I can't get there soon enough when they come on. I have never taken Imitrex or any other type of migraine medicine- I rely solely on chiropractic to manage it.
    I also was able to have a more comfortable pregnancy because I had regular chiropractic care. Since a woman's joints and ligaments become loose from the pregnancy hormones, the spine and hips in particular go out of alignment more easily. By my 3rd trimester, I was in the chiro's office every week for an adjustment. I credit it for having little to no back pain during pregnancy, despite having a history of back issues prior.
    As for managing anxiety- it has been a bonus benefit to the adjustments. I always know that I will inevitably feel better once I have been "cracked" :)
    I'm happy that you have found a method that works for you- for me it's a combo of chiro and prescription meds that keep my anxiety at bay.It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works, but once you figure it out, it's a Godsend!

  47. I was diagnosed with "Military Neck" 12 years ago or so. When I saw the chiro for that and back pain the first time, he looked at my X-rays and told me I also suffered from heartburn. Yep, I did! I was shocked! I am now with a different chiro and LOVE her. She has treated me for 6 years now and treats my kids, too. If someone is looking for chiropractic treatment, interview the doctor first. If something feels wrong or they try to sell you stuff or make you sign up for a treatment plan, walk away. And no good chiro will try to get you to forgo seeing a physician for serious things. My sister's chiro sent her to a physician for a slipped disc, in fact (she needed pain control and muscle relaxers.) My chiro even wrote a letter to my physician when she started treating me to let him know she was working with me.

    And for Jane, who asked about the spring loaded thing, that is an activator. My chiro uses it, mixed with the cracking. I didn't think much of it until she used it on my lower back when I could barely walk and wouldn't adjust and suddenly could stand up and walk without pain! There are doctors that specialize in the activator method and only use it. They are great if you have anxiety about being cracked.

    Thanks for sharing your story! Different things work for different people and there are many causes for things like anxiety, but having a good chiro can help in so many ways!

  48. I'm so happy that you've found something that is helping! I was also wondering if you've ever tried yoga? (When you mentioned that if you sit funny on the couch and then stand up and stretch, it helps, I immediately thought "Jen needs to try yoga!") I love yoga and try to do it every day. It's very easy on your body, but it makes me feel strong, flexible, and grounded. (There are all sorts of videos on YouTube or Hulu if you want to give it a try!) Good luck!

  49. It's always a relief to know that my experience with a chiropractor was an anomaly (I walked out in more pain than when I had gone in)- and that most people experience many, many positive benefit from their treatement. I'm so thrilled for you!!

  50. I am soooooo glad to hear that your anxiety is finally under control!!! What a HUGE victory! I struggled with PTSD for several (like 10?) years, and I know just how crippling the anxiety can be.

    My anxiety causes a lot of problems in my neck and shoulders, and the best thing I've done to deal with that is see a chiro. I watched a chiro (probably) save my mom's life when I was a kid (she was in so much pain from old car accidents and a broken spine that she spent 3 weeks in bed every month for my whole early childhood).

    To any readers who are in Middle Tennessee - Drs. Dan and Melissa Hollander are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G
    They approach each patient with an arsenal of knowledge - Dr. Dan has a sports medicine background, and Dr. Melissa is getting yet another degree, this time in neurology.
    My anxiety and stress were so high that my entire ribcage had started to shift upward, causing numbness in both arms (and crazy pain) because the thoracic outlets were being crushed. After about a year of treatment the numbness is gone, the pain only happens when I'm really not taking care of myself, and I see them once ever few weeks.

    I am so thrilled that you have received such wonderful results, and that you are strong and BRAVE enough to share your story with the Epbot community!

    I love Chiropractors!!!

  51. I have gone to a good chiropractor for years, after a terrible first experience with a bad one. I also have been doing regular physiotherapy. I have been working sitting at a computer for over 25 years now, both of them help a lot with that. As well I was very ill a couple of years ago and started having terrible problems trying to swallow. I am glad I have a GP who is a big believer in alternative therapy and regularly asks if I have been seeing the Naturopath. All of these together keep me upright and mobile!

    Thanks for your post and I am so glad 'hands-on' care helped with your anxiety.

  52. @Anonymous - While I can understand and appreciate your desire to help by presenting your concern about chiropracty, it bothers me tremendously that you would site websites for your argument without checking the validity of the sites you posted. The man that runs that "science based medicine" website is a known cyber bully who has been widely discredited. Just Google "Exposing Dr. David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D, aka GORAC" and you'll see. Using an MD's opinion on a decision about alternative medicine is like asking a butcher about whether or not to be a vegetarian. (no offense to any vegetarian butchers out there, I'm just trying to draw a similarity :)). Please don't misunderstand me, having opposing sides debate the merits of various issues is essential. But so is having reliable, factual sources which can be very hard to come by on the internet. I personally believe strongly in chiropractic care and its validity. But there are of course, quacks out there who give honest practitioners a bad rap much like that David Gorski does to his own profession. Okay, rant over!

    Having said all that, @Jen I'm thrilled you've found something that has helped you. Keep up with your appointments because you'll be thankful you did!

  53. Jen, we love you! And we love that your life is getting better for you.

    (Hi John).

    Happy anniversary! (x1M)

  54. Jen,

    You are awesome!!

    I am a Miagraine and depression sufferer, until a few years ago when the doc suggested my mum go see a chiro for back pain. They made such a huge difference to her back and neck pain, that she talked me into going. Two years later and I'm down to two or three migraines a year!!!! (instead of 2 or 3 a month) and my general wellbeing and depression are so much better (even if not gone away totally). Sometimes I start to wonder if they're just ripping me off (I go every 3-4 weeks), and stretch out my appointment times, and I start getting headaches and really down again.

    Thanks for sharing your story Jen, you are awesome sauce!

  55. Hey, my husband is a chiropractor and we'll be moving to St. Pete within the next couple of months. I shared your story with him and he got so excited for you! People like you, who trust in them, who are willing to try and get results are the reason he became a chiro. Jen, your story is amazing! Thanks for sharing and keep going!

  56. I was seeing a chiropractor regularly after a fender bender. At one visit, my sinuses were bothering me and a box of tissues was my constant companion. The doc said, "would you like some temporary relief from blowing your nose?" Would I? You bet! He turned me towards a table that held a box of tissues, said "get ready to grab those," and did something to me which made every bit of snot come flying out my nose. It worked wonders and I could breath through my nose for about 3 hours.

  57. yay! What a wonderful anniversary for you and John to celebrate :-) I have a straight neck too, but it doesn't cause too much trouble. However, after my son was born, i couldn't feel the tops of my legs...um....yeah. I like having sensation in my skin and all, so i saw a chiropractor as soon as i was able and sure enough, it's almost all back to normal (10 months later) with just a little strip of numbness left. :-) Our chiropractor has helped with my husband's old shoulder injury and my weak & floppy ankles, and my husband's frequent headaches. We will likely always go to a chiropractor :-)

  58. This makes me really happy. I recently started seeing a psychologist once a week for my major depression and slight anxiety and she's not really big on medication so she's been pushing me to alternative medicine such as chiropractor, acupuncture etc. But I kept thinking it wouldn't help me but hearing your story makes me want to give it all a try. Thank you.

  59. I've been back and forth with all different chiropractors and sometimes they helped, most times they ended up triggering headaches that lasted until my next appointment. My last chiropractor set me back several hundereds of dollars, when he told me he could "fix" my straight neck and ended up giving me vertigo and neausea so bad I had to take several anti-neausea pills almost every day. It was a nightmere and no matter how many times I told him he was making it worse, he couldn't figure out why or what to do to fix it. I finally said I was completely done with the "treatments", the office tried to prevent me from not paying what I still owed in an attempt me make me schedule another appointment. I stood firm, said absolutely not, paid in full and walked away. What I took away from it was, if a chiropractor tries to tell you they can "fix" your straight neck by using manual traction involving an apparatus on your head that they hang weights off of...run away.
    I'm doing a lot better recently - but I firmly believe, looking back on events in my life, that it's because I've eliminated a LOT of stress. Things I did not even realize were causing me stress, were causing me migrains, extreme pain in my neck and shoulders to the point where I could hardly move.
    Never under-estimate the power that stress has over our bodies. I think chiropractic can and does help with some things. But you also need to know yourself and your body and what's best for you. Never let them bully you into treatments that are not helping you.
    I'm glad your anxiety is much more manageable now. You did was was right and best for you and that's the best thing you can do :-)

  60. I'm glad you've found some relief but I am also concerned for you. People can be severely injured by Chiropractors even if they've been several times before. See here for more info on that. Could you maybe benefit from, as someone else suggested, something like pilates or massage? They might offer the same kinds of benefits without the very real risk of strokes and death.

  61. I am a FIRM believer in what amazing things a chiropractor can do!!

    I went and got adjusted off and on over the years when we tagged along with my parents, but I was never very serious about it. Then I threw my back out lifting some heavy bags of dog food at work. I had never experienced that sort of pain before in my life. I couldn't stand or walk without being in totally unbearable pain- just getting up to get a glass of water or use the restroom left me sobbing because it just HURT SO MUCH. Because it was a work related injury I was sent off to the company doctor and they did the usual- here's some painkillers, let us know if it gets worse. The pain killers did NOTHING. I couldn't move to do anything, couldn't get up to eat or drink, barely slept. Finally, after not being able to sleep for almost 4 whole days because of the unbearable pain, my Dad stepped in- he called me and said "Get ready, we're going to see Doc Sutter." He took me in and I found out I'd dislocated my hip, which was pressing on the nerves in my leg.

    I saw him every day for a week...and three weeks later it was like I'd never even hurt myself. The pain was completely gone. Unfortunately, I had a relapse about a year ago and went through pretty much the same thing, but this time I went to see the Doc right away. Turned out I'd dislocated my hip again...and then, in a rather stupid move, I tried to go up some stairs and I ended up losing my balance and twisted the wrong way- all I knew was that I felt MUCH worse after that. So I went back the next day, the Doc took one look at me as I walked towards him and went "What did you do?!" I was a bit taken aback, as he'd only seen me WALK (or rather hobble towards him), replying rather eloquently "Uh...what?" To which he went "You slipped a disc in your back! What did you DO?"

    So call him a witch doctor or a quack or what have you, but I swear by him because the man KNOWS what he's doing. And just like before, he fixed me up right as rain. I still get adjusted periodically, just to keep things in place- or as the Doc says, 'To get your butt put back on right!'- and to this day I haven't had another problem!

  62. I looooove a good chiropractor. I've been going to mine since I was 8 and he has helped me immensely. I have sever depression that pharmaceuticals don't touch and I have yet to find a therapist that doesn't make me feel like a blibbering idiot, but as long as I get to my monthly chiropractor appointment and take my daily walk, I can make it, usually. When I went off to college 60 miles away from home, I stopped going to the chiropractor, thinking I was fie for so long, and that meant not justifying the gas to drive down and see Mike, or paying for a chiro in college town. I ended up hospitalized and now I never miss. Ever. So keep going, it really does have long term ramifications, I've been going for 13 years now and it's wonderful.

  63. I have been reading your blogs for forever it seems. To first read about your anxiety helped me because mine started the same way yours did. Out of the blue, never had it before, don't know where it came from. I have always battled depression, so my prescribing doctor at the time gave me xanax for when I started a panic attack, because I never knew what would cause one. Well, when I couldn't sleep she prescribed xanax for sleep. Long story short I became addicted and suffered severe withdrawals after a surgery. I found a new doctor and had to slowly (more than 6 months) be weaned from it. Now there is no magic pill for me and my anxiety. Some of my depression meds are supposed to help but I never can tell. Then my therapist said no caffeine, more cardio, better diet. i kinda scoffed it off but decided to try it. Now any amount of caffeine and I am right back on that anxiety train. I am not sure about you and caffeine, but you may want to try going without and see if it helps you as well. I have had a chiropractor before but never for anxiety. If I flare up again I am definitely going to try it after reading this. Thank you so much for your honesty. It is truly refreshing in this day and age.

  64. I'm so happy you gave the chiropractor a try. I had my first treatments as a child and have them regularly now. Because I have moved about once a year, I have had to frequently find a new chiropractor and can vouch for the fact that there are good and bad ones out there.

    I love to tell the story of my mother's "heart attack" pain. For several weeks she had been having chest pains and had seen her regular MD who prescribed nitro pills for just-in-case. After severe chest pain one night she took the nitro, passed out, and cut her head open, which resulted in an overnight hospital stay and many heart tests. The tests proved only that she was healthy as a horse. (She passed out because the nitro lowered her blood pressure when she didn't need it to.) Mild chest pains continued and she went to her chiropractor for some other reason, but told him about the chest pain. He gave her an adjustment and the pain instantly went away. She had three vertebrae in a row out of whack, which had caused the pain.

    There's no reason Western and alternative medicine can't co-exist. Each of them work better for different things.


  65. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have an anxiety condition, and PTSD with two completely separate sets of triggers, as well as chronic depression. I've also got a condition which causes chronic fatigue, chronic pain, severe muscle weakness and pain, and other things. I've been seeing a Bowen therapist for my muscle pain, and honking about seeing a chiro, just to test it. This has given me another push! I would definitely love it is it somehow helped my anxiety and/or depression as well as my pain!!

    I'm still learning how to manage my anxiety, even though I've had it for years... This post seems to have triggered me a bit since I couldn't read other suff after it (like, it wouldn't go into my brain). I would never have expected that. Yay for learning I guess.

    Hopefully my health insurance will cover enough of the chiro... My medical bills are starting to eat up waaaaaay too much of our income...

  66. I just started a desk job after 13 years of retail. In most aspects a much-needed relief, but it is going to do a number on my neck and shoulders. I was already contemplating seeing a chiropractor, but this is the icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing your story.

  67. Jen, that's great that chiropractic helped! I've been to a chiropractor a few times, but never for relief from my anxiety and depression. However, I've started seeing a massage therapist monthly (and am actually bumping it up to every 2-3 weeks) partially for aid with my mental health and also just for the help relaxing. My RMT has mentioned how many patients come in for mental health reasons, and how she has seen improvement in them, as well as others she works with outside of the practice. It has been really helpful, and the only reason I'm increasing my number of appointments is because I have more physical complaints related to being pregnant. Thanks for sharing Jen, it's a real encouragement to an anxious introvert.

  68. @ Lena - Oh yes, caffeine was one of the very first things to go back in 2007, and I haven't touched the stuff since. I accidentally had some in a Thai tea once a few years ago, and within an hour had an attack - so that is definitely a trigger! I'm so sensitive now that I get a buzz off dark chocolate, and the rare occassions I have decaf coffee I limit it to about half a cup, just to be safe.

  69. yay yay yay, i'm glad it helps!

    for anyone in a similar position, or for you (or your mum!) if you want to see if you can get even further back to where you want to be, i cannot suggest strongly enough to visit an osteopath (a medical doctor, with DO degree) who does manipulation.

    disclaimer: i'm a medical student, studying to be a DO, but bias aside, it's a really remarkable profession -- best of both worlds, with conventional western med *and* manipulative techniques. like chiropractic, but *so* much more -- bigger "toolkit" (as it were; the only tools most use are their hands), more comprehensive focus on health as mind-body-spirit. sound woo-woo? maybe...but unlike many other "out there" health professionals, DOs are fully licensed and recognized nationwide.

    our big conference in march is in orlando this year, so i *know* that there are practitioners in your area. =) (in fact, several of us students are staying a few days longer and hitting up disney...suggestions? can i meet you?)

    thank you, too, for being so open about this and all the other things that we on the internet have no business knowing and thus are privileged to be a part of. thanks for cultivating such a wonderful, safe, supportive environment for us all!


  70. So happy for you. I absolutely love my chiropractor Dr. Matt. Recently I haven't been able to afford to go, and I am feeling it big time. :(

  71. Very interesting! I've visited the chiropractor for 10 years now for low back and neck pain. I never connected adjustments and anxiety relief. but now that I think about it I think it takes the edge off. I do feel quite peaceful when I leave (doesn't seem to last long though!) I'll start paying attention now! My anxiety is pretty much at it's peak. And I'm beginning a new medication tomorrow morning. Feeling anxious about that too!

  72. I am so glad you found something that works for you!! I think that there is no reason western and "alternative" medicine can't be used together for maximum benefit. Personally, I love my chiropractor!! I frequently refer to him as my 3rd favorite man on earth (My hubby, my dad, then Dr. Ellis)

    I want to echo something you said. If anyone does decide to try a chiropractor, please go to one that has been personally recommend by someone you trust. There are bad ones, and they can do damage. The good ones, though, are excellent.

  73. @ Katie - It was actually an osteopath who helped my mom regain full motion in her shoulder! She & my dad lived in Europe for work for 2 yrs, and that's where she found the doctor - apparently they're more common over there. So, yes, I'm a big fan of docs who can combine the best of both worlds. I was seeing a naturopath MD there for a bit: he'd suggest supplements, but then also prescribe meds if those didn't work.

    And I'd love to meet up at Disney! Shoot me an e-mail a week or two before you're down, and I'll see if John & I can get out there one evening to buy ya a Dole Whip. :)

  74. I'm so glad to hear you're doing better! We appreciate your sharing with us and I learn so much from the comments each time, too.

    For more than 30 years, I've been sleeping with two pillows stacked on top of each other. It keeps my neck straight since I'm a side sleeper and my shoulder's about two pillows wide. :D I started it due to my bad allergies and having trouble breathing but noticed I'd wake up with headaches when I didn't do it (vacation, sleep overs- anytime not at my own home). Silly little things mean so much in our health and well being.

    Hope you continue to feel relief!
    -Barbara Anne

  75. Jen, you are a gem (a totally outrageous one ;-) ). I'm thrilled to read of your accomplishments and better health. As a person in mostly good health, I have to agree with someone above and tell you I did not find this at all boring. It's posts like these that bring us a little closer to you (and I mean that in the most friendly, non-creeper way possible) and allow us, your readers, to feel comfortable sending you those emails like long-time friends you mentioned a few days ago. Thanks for that.
    Nikki T

  76. I'm so glad you found something that worked for you, Jen! I don't think a Chiropractor is good for everything (I think people over-use them), but there is also no denying that they do work for some people. So happy for you!

  77. I'm not suffering from anxiety... but your post was definitely not boring. I was smiling ear to ear the whole time! So happy for you =]

  78. Getting drowned here in all this other support! :P
    I'll admit this is the first time I've heard chiropractic medicine as 'alternative' medicine. But I'll admit it kinda blows my mind sometimes.
    I have a friend who is a chiropractor.
    He once showed us how he could tell what vitamins we were deficient in JUST BY HAVING US HOLD THE BOTTLE OF SAID VITAMIN. If you hold a bottle of iron, and you're deficient in iron, you will somehow be able to lift more.
    He also once helped heal a woman who had severe allergies to perfumes by straightening her spine.
    Long story short, I think this is definitely something you should continue and I'm very excited to see that it's giving you such wonderful results (when does that ever happen in the medical world?)

  79. Jen, I am a massage therapist, and work at a Chiropractic office. I am so glad someone suggested this to you! Remember that you'll never be "cured" so long as your neck is straight, because or bodies have muscle memory and you have to continually help it to get back to place. It takes time to correct military neck, so you may need to do monthly maintenance for a very long time. Too many people think they're "fixed" only to push limits and have their condition flare up when if they had made their once a month appointment, it would never have happened! And yes, Chiros have a bad rep because of the Medical doctors spreading rumors back in the 50's. Watch the documentary "Doctored".

  80. Also, for those who don't think you can afford a chiropractor: Your insurance MAY cover it number one. If you don't have insurance, a good Chiropractor is going to work with you on payment, AND I actually worked for a place that was $25 for a walk-in adjustment, so look in your area, there may be one there!

  81. I'm a lurker, but I had to say something about this. I'm a FIRM believer in chiropractors. Mostly because I wouldn't exist if my mom hadn't gone to one. She suffered miscarriages and infertility for years - her cycle was beyond screwy - until she went to a chiropractor. He fixed her back, and OH, HEY, that kid you didn't think you could have? Yep, there she is. Glad you found one who helped you.

  82. I'm really happy that you found chiropractic care. I too have a straight neck, but it's improving with chiropractic care. I'm not sure if somebody has already mentioned this to you, but you should ask your chiropractor about a rehab device called Dennerol. It's a specially shaped support that you lay on a few minutes a day and over time it add the curve back into your neck! I've just started and it has really improved that pain between my shoulders. Here's the link http://denneroll.com/ . You may be able to do even MORE good than you have already experienced by adding the curve back to your neck.

    Also, my chiropractor uses something called the pettibon system of rehab where I wear weights each day to strengthen the muscles at the back of my neck - that helps too. I tell my chiropractor that I'm getting younger as my neck goes back to where it should be (and you can see the improvement over time in the xrays!):)

    A good chiropractor can make all the difference. I'm so happy that you are on your way to healing!

  83. @zeamiller - can you tell me how to contact Dr. Hollander? My daughter's best friend suffers from terrible anxiety and I would love to help her get some relief! They live near Nashville. Thank you so much!

  84. You make my life and the lives of millions better. Thank you.

  85. There are a bunch of causes of anxiety. Presumably you've had them checked out before you got your Xanax.
    My 14yo is on anxiety meds that have literally been a life-saver for him. However, we also see a chiro who is also an acupuncturist. He never uses needles on my kids. But he has techniques for eliminating memories that cause anxiety, including acupressure, Bach flowers, homeopathic and light therapy. I like that he has several methods he can use, depending upon what's going on at that time. And there is an acupressure technique (NAET) that can eliminate allergice reactions, such as you have to caffeine.
    I'm glad you are feeling better!

  86. Chiropractortry (is that a word) saved my back. It's saved my sanity. It's the only thing that has kept me from being in a wheelchair or with a cane these past few years.

  87. Girl, I'm so proud of you for not only fighting your battle, but strengthening others with your struggle as well; there are a lot of people who have read/will read your words and not feel so alone or weird. For that alone, may you be blessed.

    As for me, the past few months, I've taken strength from my new Power Jam, "Move In The Right Direction", by Gossip; I haven't taken so much strength from a song since Pat Benetar sang "Invincible", so hey, you KNOW it rocks:

    One step closer to feeling fine
    Getting better one day at a time
    I'm moving forward with all of my might
    I'm headed tough with a new state of mind

    So I'll hold back tears
    Move in the right direction
    Face my fears
    Move in the right direction

    I'm doing fine
    One step closer every day at a time
    I won't lose my mind, lose my mind, ah ah

    Motivation a powerful strength
    Hesitation was my first instinct
    I got the notion, my weakness was
    Total devotion it's okay because

    I will hold back tears
    So I can move in the right direction
    I have faced my fears
    Now I can move in the right direction

    I'm doing fine
    One step closer every day at a time
    I won't lose my mind, lose my mind, ah ah

    *Keeping my head up, looking forward
    Reminiscing will get you nowhere
    Never say never, starting over
    It's not perfect but it's getting closer*

    I will hold back tears
    So I can move in the right direction
    I have faced my fears
    Now I can move in the right direction

    I'm doing fine
    One step closer every day at a time
    I won't lose my mind, lose my mind, ah ah...


    Whenever I start to feel woozy or weak, I sing this song in my head, and find the power to suck it up. May you all find your Power Jam, whatever it may be!

    Your Best Klingon Pal,


    P.S. The only Big Women in the world that work Big as hard as my girl Beth Ditto are drag queens! Thick Sisters, RepreSENT!

  88. I never realized chiropractors were such a point of contention, but my mom has been going since she was a kid (fun fact: when she was a kid, her chiropractor was actor Jim Caviezel's dad). My dad has also been going to me for as long as I can remember. Both have issues with their backs from different accidents.

    My dad was in a series of car accidents in 2010-11 (I think 4 or 5), none of which were his fault. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He ended up with serious damage in his neck and ultimately had to have 3 of the discs in his neck fused together. He saw his chiropractor both before and after surgery and it helped him out immensely. My sister also recently totaled her car in icy weather and saw the chiropractor afterwards. She is totally fine.

    So while I've never personally been to one, I have seen how a good chiropractor can help out so much. I wouldn't hesitate to see the one my family uses if I needed to. I am so glad that you have had such a good experience with the chiropractor helping out your anxiety, Jen. I never even thought about it possibly hoping with anything outside pain from spinal issues, so that's pretty neat.

  89. I'm glad that you've had such great relief for your anxiety. I've had anxiety and back issues since I was a kid. When I used to see a chiropractor he would do the crack adjustment on my lower back (where I have the worst pain) it always triggered an involuntary giggle sound from me.

    Several years ago I started experiencing tremors. Some days I couldn't even hold a pencil and write. Eventually a neurologist diagnosed me with "essential tremor" even though there is no family history, this was the best explanation he had. We started traditional meds but within a week I started having issues thinking clearly. After a few weeks I was afraid to drive because it was too dangerous. I had them pull me off the medication and within a few days I could function again. Several months later I started seeing an Endocrinologist for completely unrelated medical issues and she started to question the tremor diagnosis. We found that my calcium blood levels and vitamin D were extremely bad. I actually have a type of parathyroid disease. When your calcium levels get too low it affects your nervous system and your neural function and can cause tremors. The treatment is lots of calcium and vitamin d. Within a few weeks the tremors stopped.

    I'm sorry for the long post, but my point is that even a good traditional doctor can get things wrong. Whether you are seeing a traditional or alternative doctor, you are putting your life in their hands. Do your research, get a referral from a good friend, and if something just doesn't feel right find a different doctor. Don't settle, it's important.

  90. Jen - I used both chiropractic & acupuncture when I wanted to get off my meds for PPA. It was a miracle! I now do the chiro once a month or so and get massages every 2 weeks. I haven't had a severe anxiety attack in years :)
    So excited to hear it's not just me it works on!
    Take care~Danielle

  91. Thanks for sharing that! I don't suffer from anxiety, but I swear by my chiropractor. I'm only 26, but I have carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel. I also have a poorly healed bone in my foot. That's thanks to my regular doctor, because she told me that no one would take an x-ray on a pregnant woman's foot and it was probably nothing to worry about anything, now I can't wear certain shoes (Naturalizer have been amazing for comfort) and really need custom orthotics. Surgery is the only other option, but it might cause more pain than I already experience. I go visit the chiropractor regularly to help combat the need for surgery for the carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel and to help when my back gets out of what. Sometimes the way that I walk causes me to get out of alignment and then I get a lot of headaches. I can always tell when I'm getting nasty headaches and my fingers start going numb again that it's time to go back to the chiropractor. As long as I go for regular maintenance I'm good.

  92. Long-time reader, first-time commenter here. I'm really glad that you've found relief in chiropracty but I feel like I need to point out the dangers of the practice. Adjustments to the neck carry a small but very real risk of stroke, caused by tearing of the major neck arteries during the manipulation. You can read about this risk in more detail at the NIH website. I'm a biostatistician, so I find the article easy to read, hopefully you do as well :-/

    If you feel that the risks are worth the benefit, then best of luck to you in getting better! You might like to try pilates as well, though, since it has a strong emphasis on posture correction.

    Keep being awesome!

  93. Actually, your doctor's name reminded me more of Fallout 3 than Harry Potter. My husband's been re-playing it lately (it has older sounding music, and the radio station that plays Christmas music the entire month of December got him nostalgic for it).

    I worked for a chiropractor for several years, and saw lots of people get relief. Something to consider is that just as there are A students in school and barely passing students in school, there are A students who became chiropractors, and barely passing students who became chiropractors. It's much better to find one through referrals than through the phone book if possible, so you can weed out the lower quality ones. The doctor I worked for is Dr. Hancock in the Ann Arbor, MI area, and the vast majority of his patients felt better when they left. He also does a lot of therapy (he's had a lot of training in physical therapy), which I think helps. I'll second the caveat that if they want you to sign up for a huge treatment plan, walk away. While the doctor I worked for recommends a lot of treatment the first two weeks, it shouldn't cost thousands of dollars.

  94. So glad you found something that helps and so glad you were willing to look outside of "standard" medicine! It boggle my mind when people who are suffering and can not find relief from typical Western medicine refuse to look into other approaches because they seem too "weird". Also for those who have mentioned not having insurance or not being able to afford it, chiropractors (at least the ones my family have used) are usually less expensive than an MD so you should find out how much a visit will actually cost before giving up. My mother goes regularly to her chiropractor who, besides giving the usual adjustments, has also recommended several natural supplements that have helped her with stress and digestive issues.

  95. Hi, Jen. I am wondering if you considered that chemicals might be contributing to the anxiety? I know it sounds totally out there but I have severe reactions to artificial scents and various plastics and pretty much any petroleum-based product that gives off fumes. I had to cut out all artificial scents and such but the improvement has been immense. I suffered from panic attacks that were also completely out of the blue, which lasted for literally hours every day. It was horrible, but over time cutting out exposure to things that emit VOC's has completely gotten rid of all my attacks, plus the vertigo I was having. Yoga helped too, and regular massage. I wholeheartedly endorse alternative medicine and exploring solutions for yourself. I used to be extremely skeptical of anything kooky or "new age" but as others pointed out, these things have been around longer than Western medicine after all. Best wishes,


  96. Hi Jen,

    I just wanted to chip in my two pence, as I feel there aren't many of us coming at it from the other direction. As someone who studies your bones for a living (well, not *your* bones), but people's bones (well, *dead people's* bones) and the associated pathologies AND as someone with scoliosis who suffered from back pain for years before it was finally brought under control, I can hopefully add to the discussion.

    First off, adjustments (e.g. the popping, cracking, clunking, etc) of joints isn't necessarily a bad thing (as lots of anti-chiropractors often cite), but it should only be done where force isn't required. I admit, I crack my own back all the time, but I don't force it (force is such a finickity term, obviously in scientific terms I am applying force when I twist or bend my back, but it is only of a limited and reasonable amount). Often chiropractors will force 'adjustments' to joints, which affects the soft tissue structure and in the end will lead to you needing to return to have it adjusted continually, as your body's natural joint management is chucked out of whack. Sooo, just be wary of this! I'm not saying don't keep visiting your chiropractor if it works for you (and what right would I have if I did), but just keep this is mind as he's heave-ho-ing away at your back!

    The best way to get your joints under control (especially your back) is... I know everyone will hate me for this... to exercise. You may need specific exercises for specific issues (I read that your chiropractor has already provided you some), but without stretching and strengthening the soft tissue that supports your skeletal system, any benefit from your adjustments will always be temporary. Exercise can genuinely provide a long-term solution. I speak from personal experience on this one! The alignment of you skeleton can affect soft tissue, but it goes both ways baby! And you can impact this change and it's never too late to start!
    My back pain was in the same area as yours. Pain between your shoulder-blades is often caused by weak lower/lateral back muscles (which comes from the crappy posture that most of us have, with the rolled/hunched shoulders). By over-relying on upper back/neck muscles and under-relying on lower/lateral back muscles, it constantly pulls our shoulder blades up and this affects the associated muscles. A lot of time when people try to fix this posture, they roll their shoulders back and down (streeeeetch... creeeeeak...) and while the position of your shoulders end up in is correct, this ain't going to help with the pain. Rather than 'pushing' them down, you should 'pull' them down into this posture/position (I say you, but I mean anyone suffering from back pain in this area).

    Now, if you're like me, you'll probably site there going, "WHAAAAAT? How the hell do I do that? What muscles do I need to use? You can MOVE those muscles?!" And then contort your face into ridiculous expressions while you desperately try to engage the muscles that might make this happen through sheer force of will. It's not going to happen right off the bat, but with the correct exercises to strengthen these muscles (and by continually reminding yourself to use them to correct your posture) I can pretty much guarantee your back pain will be sorted (whether or not this helps your anxiety, I don't know, but I'm not very well versed at mental health - other than I know it's good to be mentally healthy).

    On a final note, I am glad that you have managed to control your anxiety in the last few years and I do hope that for anyone suffering from anxiety, they find something that works for them (be it exercise, medication, therapy, or any combination of the above or other alternatives).

  97. P.S. Also, someone commented about chiropractors using x-rays as a part of their service (other than the initial assessment) and I just have to stress that I think people should avoid unnecessary x-rays at all costs! Obviously if it's medically necessary, no problemo, I know they're regulated and perfectly safe, but there is no reason to expose your body to more radiation than you need to, if you can help it.

  98. Thank you so much for sharing with us such a personal thing. I really want you to kow that after reading "Anxiety Bustin'" I felt such relief. For years I assumed that I was the only woman who suffered from anxiety issues; not to mention who also loved geeky things! Thank you again for opening up and in the process helping others feel better! I plan on asking friends if they can recommend a chiropractor ASAP. I'm so excited about the possibility of not taking daily medication. THANK YOU!!!!

  99. That's wonderful, Jen! I'm so glad that you found a healthy solution to your ongoing problem. Someone very dear to me suffers from panic attacks and I will be sure to pass along your story to her.
    You are amazing and truely brave. For bravery is fighting in the face of fear.

  100. Hearing your stories makes me feel like I am not alone. As I have gotten older (I am ONLY 33) I have found myself in a world full of anxiety. I too, go to a chiropractor once a week, as well as a counselor, but as of today, I thought only the counselor was helping with my anxieties. This post does put a new twist on things for me. My anxiety gives me headaches on almost a daily basis. The chiropractor helps with the pain. I missed this week because it snowed and my anxiety forbade me to drive a few miles to get there and I am already feeling the effects. By the way, I am a long time follower, but first time commenter. Another anxiety...ugh. Thank you for being AWESOME!!

  101. I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I know all about panic attacks. My biggest worry is "What if the chiropractor thing doesn't help" and all these what-ifs. It's a vicious cycle, I tell ya!

    Thank you for sharing your story, and it's good to know that I'm not alone as an anxiety nutcase!!

  102. I'm so glad you are getting relief! I have tried telling my mother to go to a chiropractor but she won't. I believe in it.

    Something else I think would be worth a try is a Cranial-Sacral specialist. It's a massage therapy technique that is amazing.

    I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and studying to become a massage therapist and the C-S teacher did a demonstration on me.

    My son was a forward and low pregnancy which caused major pain in my lower back. At that point I was reduced to shuffling.

    Well that night when I went to pick up my husband from work, I danced a jig. I felt SO GOOD and all from 10 minutes of totally non-invasive massage therapy work. It's non-rubby too if that bothers people.

    I believe in Cranial-Sacral work, as well as massage therapy on top of chiropractic work.

    Keep going Jen! I believe that you're doing amazing things. ^_^

  103. That book saved my marriage, and possibly my husband's life. (LONG story) I recommend it to anyone with anxiety issues. Glad you found something that works!

  104. I never thought about a link between anxiety and chiropractic. I'm very glad to hear it's been beneficial to you.

    I love my chiropractor (and if you're in the Atlanta area and need an awesome one, let me know) and have noticed a huge improvement in my over all quality of life since I've started going.

    So, uh.. keep calm and chiro on?

    1. I am in Atlanta. Who is your chiro? Kat

  105. I was so happy to read this! I do not suffer from anxiety, and I can't imagine what it must be like, but I'm so glad you've found a good treatment and I admire you for putting your story out there like this! You go, girl! :) My mom works for a chiropractor, of whom she is also a patient. In her case, migraines are the problem. Unfortunately, she doesn't get adjustments as often as she should due to sheer lack of time, but sometimes even a back massage (provided by me) is enough to stave off a migraine if one starts.
    Best of luck to you, and I'm so glad to hear of your recovery!

  106. I'm with you! I was super sceptical with my chiropractor (not only because I'd had chronic back pain for 2 years, but also for the anxiety). I currently get adjusted about every 3 weeks (stepped down from daily initially due to the back pain) and I don't regret it at all.

  107. The more I read stories from others, the more I see myself.

    Thank you for making me feel I'm not alone and that there *just might* be hope.

  108. So very happy for you! Our young adult daughter has anxiety and I will suggest a chiropractor to her. She also recommends Dr. Farrell's book http://www.drfarrell.net/index.html

    Happy Anniversary--I look forward to celebrating your 3rd one next year.

  109. Jen, I'm really glad you shared this story with us. I've just started having panic attacks, and I'm at such a loss as to how to handle them. My doctor put me on medication, but I like knowing that there are other options out there. And I like knowing that I'm not alone in having these attacks. My family doesn't really understand, which is sad because most of the time they push me into an attack. So again, thanks for sharing. I've been following you ever since you started EPBOT and I've found that you really have great advice. Maybe I'll give seeing a Chiropractor a chance, see how things go.

  110. I find Tai Chi to be an enormous help in managing stress and anxiety. I learned a very simplified version with only 8 movements, and I run through my warmups and the routine at the bus stop every morning. It only takes about four minutes, but it means having a good day. I can even run through the whole thing in my mind, if I'm in bed or something and panicking, and it slows my heart rate down very quickly.

  111. I totally understand how you feel. I was in a car accident many years ago and was ok for awhyle but as time went on, I would get migranes. Only the day before that time of the month. I tried to explain this to doctors and they said it was rediculous and one had nothing to do with the other. It took me a long time to let some one talk me into seeing a chiropractor because my mother had seen one in the 60's and he broke her hips and was a quack. The headaches were getting more frequent(we are talking years after the accident) and not just once a month any more. A friend I realy trusted recomended I go to his chiropractor. That was life changing. I had whiplash and my body was telling me to get help. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it was to get rid of those migranes. It has been 30 years now and to be honest, I'd rather see my chiropractor than a regular md any day.

  112. Thanks for having the courage to post about this.

  113. I used to be skeptical of non-Western treatments until I tried acupunture for my sciatica pain. After months of seeing various specialists and being prescribed muscle relaxers, strong anti-inflamatories, steroids and narcotics, what finally relieved my sciatica pain was 5 trips to an acupuncturist. I only wish that I'd tried that sooner. Now whenever I feel a flare-up coming on, I schedule 2 appointments, and that has been enough to help me manage the pain.

  114. Thank you for sharing! I have anxiety attacks too and any advice is helpful.

  115. I'm glad you got a careful, reputable chriopractor. 20 years ago, I had a chiropracter screw up my neck so badly that I now will have to have surgery to fix it. I still say they're not to be trusted but I'm awfully glad it worked for you. You're a really special person and I'm thrilled to see your world opening back up for you. Best wishes!

  116. At 15 I was suffering from almost daily excruciating migraines and stomach pain. I couldn't eat, concentrate or function normally. Multiple doctors, tests and hospitalizations revealed nothing substantial to explain the pain and at one point I was taking 6 different medications just get through the day. My father finally took me to a chiropractor and after a couple of adjustments the haeadaches and abdominal pain disappeared. I have been a convert to alternative medicine ever since and chiropractors in particular.

  117. I worked for a Chiropractor for over two years, and saw many people get adjusted and just feel so much better because of their treatments. However, one thing that really bugged me is that the doctor wanted the patients to pay upfront for 36 to 42 visits. If you go to someone who asks that, walk out. Better yet, ask what they do for payment when you call the office. If they say you have to pay up front, call someone else. And if you do go to a bad one, go somewhere else. I have seen 4 different chiropractors in a 6 year time frame. Each has been better than the rest, and the last 2 just had me pay per visit.

    I m so glad that you are doing well, and I hope others see this as well and go. I can go an entire month without a headache now, and I used to get 3 or 4 a week. :)

  118. I'm so glad that chiropractics have worked well for you! I'm in high school and started going to a chiropractor a year ago when I began having pain in the ribcage area. It was probably caused by bronchitis but also worsened by school stress and the anxiety that I was having unexplained chest pain, besides bad posture and being at the computer a lot. It has helped so, so much. I have less physical pain and definitely feel like I can manage my responsibilities so much better now.

  119. Chiropractic is excellent for physical ailments, but I didn't know it could help with something such as anxiety. My daughter gave up going to our chiropractor when he moved his office out of town 6 years ago. She is now a college freshman with anxiety issues. I am going to try my darndest to get her to go back to him (or someone closer) when she comes home at the end of term. Thank you, Jen!

  120. Jen, Chiropractic is indeed a great thing. I have bulging disks, genetically fused vertabrae, and scoliosois that causes me to suffer from migraines. My top two vertabrae do NOT like to stay in alignment, and when ever I'm in pain, I feel almost immediately better. It's amazing what else is affected by your nerves though. I'm so glad you tried chiropractic and found some relief.

    It was also a chiropractor that discovered my high blood pressure a few years ago and it lead to me being diagnosed with a very rare and dangerous tumor.

  121. Another MD (your e-friend to whom you once recommended the school bread from Norway) here, and a psychiatrist to boot, chiming in with:
    1. I'm so glad that you found something that works! There are risks, as people have already shown, and I think anyone entering into any kind of long-term Tx (traditional or non) should know them. I also know that relieving pain, stretching and exercising can alleviate 20-30% of depression and anxiety Sx. I totally agree with those touting YOGA! Also, the people who mentioned vitamin are SPOT on, there are multiple studies to back that up!
    2. Just want people to know that chiros DO NOT go through the same training as MDs and DOs, otherwise they could Rx meds, and they would have done the same things as us such as surgeries, birthing babies, etc. The drs who DO go through the same training as MD ("allopathic") drs are DOs ("osteopathic"), with an emphasis on adjusting and manipulative medicine. I work with a lot of DOs and they are AWESOME. With your cool personality and particular issues, I'd highly recommend that you check out one locally! *looks at more comments* Ooooh, you're getting a Dole Whip with a cool DO-to-be chica, I am so happy yet so jealous.
    3. I'm not a huge fan of Xanax because it gives immediate relief but no long-term solution, and people can get hooked on it WAY too easily. Instead, I like a steady diet of CBT, DBT and anxiolutics/antidepressants as needed.
    All told, though, I'm super glad that you found something that works for you!

  122. I have to advise anyone out there who is interested in Chiropractics to be advised that although it can be helpful for many adults, children should not have it done. I was 10 when my mother started taking me to a chiropractor to stop me from passing out all the time (I have low blood pressure which wasn't found out for another 6 years) and the only result was 20 years of chronic back pain instead of curing me. I think it had to do with the fact that my body hadn't yet finished growing. An MRI 20 years later showed excessive damage to my spine. So go ahead and take care of your back any way you wish, but please avoid taking a child until they have finished growing.

  123. I also grew up with a mom who's an RN and our family had a very dim view of chiropractors in general. But a friend of mine who was 7 months pregnant was in a car accident and couldn't take any pain meds; a chiropractor saved the day. So when I switched from an active job to a desk job some years ago and started having all kinds of back pain, I rather reluctantly went myself. It absolutely helped and almost immediately. I only had to go a few times and the pain was gone.

    I'm now back in a sedentary job again so I try to get to the gym when I can but what has helped me the most is Iyengar yoga. I LOVE it--I have regained flexibility and strength and just feel so much better when I practice. The focus is on posture and alignment and is just amazing.

    All this to say: You are a smart and careful person,Jen. I never feel as though you're putting forth some "agenda" or espousing some weird and hurtful practice (well, other than some of those cakes!) If going to a chiropractor works for you, I am really glad. I appreciate you sharing your experiences with us and hope you continue to do so. Here's to your continued health and happiness!

  124. I have been under chiropractic care for years for migraines. Previous drug therapy from traditional medicine was useless. However, I have to say the Xray or some other imaging procedure is key to treatment. Be very careful about choosing a practioner, talk to friends and strangers and gather information. Chiropractors adjust your spine - they do no perscribe drugs or sell extraneous products.

  125. Hi Jen, Just wanted to thank you for posting this. I am a Chiropractor and am so happy that you're doing well with treatment. I love that you've opened up to share your tale with others. So many people don't realize that chiropractic helps more than just neck or back pain. It's always great to hear of a success story. I wish you nothing but the best!

  126. @Joelle: Please do some research before speaking against pediatric chiropractic. I understand that you've had health issues, but have they been proven to be an effect of your treatment? You possibly got a "bad" doctor. I got into the field because I started seeing a chiropractor at age 8. I was having migraines bad enough that I would pass out and end up in the ER. I few trips to the chiropractor and I was migraine free and off my meds. I've been adjusted every week or so since then. I haven't taken any medication for migraines in over 27 years now. Many chiropractors treat children successfully on a regular basis and the children grow up to be happy and healthy adults.

  127. Thanks to your post Jen, I went and saw my osteopath/chiropractor today. And for the first time in 6 weeks , my adrenal gland is not going into overload.
    Thank you thank you thank you !

  128. Jen,
    I wanted to tell you that you've done a great thing opening this topic up with your very positive experience. As a practicing chiropractor, I have some documentation that may help to explain more of the specifics of why and how your are really getting your results. I would be happy to send it to you with your permission. You can then go over it with your current provider. I may not get back to check this in the near future, so if you are interested contact me at dr.robert (at) bamachiro.com and I'll get the report titled, "Restoring the Balance" to you ASAP. You'd do me a favor if you mentioned the title in your email so I send you the right one.

    My mother had a similar experience with chiropractic and panic attacks.

  129. When I was a teenager I had panic attacks. My Dad gave me that very same book. I know this might sound weird, but thank you for mentioning it, him giving me that book is a nice memory all these years later.

  130. I don't normally comment on these things, but I just wanted to share my story. I started seeing a chiropractor in order to help with headaches and migraines and back pain. I had daily, constant headaches for years and suffered from migraines multiple times per week. I then started suffering from back pain that would come and go but was completely debilitating. I was on multiple over the counter pain killers, plus prescription drugs for migraines. I also suffered from panic attacks and had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 10 years prior. In short, I was miserable. I started seeing a chiropractor and after about 2 months I (and everyone else around me) noticed I was much calmer. It took me about six months until I mentioned it to my chiropractor - mostly because I thought it sounded ridiculous!

    I have managed to stay off drugs for my anxiety by seeing a therapist, regular exercise, and getting adjusted weekly or every two weeks. If I push it any longer and am under a lot of stress, then my panic attacks resume. However, they're different somehow and I can still function without the use of drugs, which previously I never could. I think as in any profession, there are good people and not so good people. I've been really lucky that my chiro is just a genuinely nice person. He was very adamant that my adjustments be tailored back after the first few months. When my anxiety started getting really bad after about a year (I was being adjusted once a month at that point but also going through some stressful events), he was excited that I wanted to try adjustments rather than medication but he also didn't jump at the chance to up the number of adjustments I was getting. Instead, he had me come in when I felt I needed it and didn't charge me (there were times that I was such a complete mess, I'm surprised he let me through his door!). Once things got under control and we both agreed that the adjustments (in addition to regular therapy sessions that I was already having with a psychologist) were helping, only then did he formally change my adjustment schedule.

    Chiropractic for anxiety may not work for everyone (and I would never suggest it as a solution on its own), but it has worked for me somehow. And I don't think it's a placebo since I wasn't expecting it in the first place. My anxiety is not completely gone - it's just different but I feel like I have more control when panic strikes. I'm glad to hear that others have had similar experiences!

  131. Thanks for sharing your story in detail, it's very informative.
    I was searching information on how much % of people with anxiety have Straight Neck as I have ( mine is pretty perfectly straight one, too, a result of working 9-10 hours in front of PC a day for years.. ), and here you are with a success story, and I'm excited.

    This is really encouraging news. I know how you had not much expectation on the treatment when you first went to the chiropractic session. Panic sufferers like us have been trying many methods that might reduce our symptoms, and it usually do not help us much.

    I have a couple of Panic/anxiety friends who I met on the internet, and they too have straight neck.
    I always have stiff shoulder since I was a young teen, and I have stiff neck, dizziness, eye tension/pressure, can hear blood stream in my ear, nausea, etc along with other Panic symptoms. I've once guessed of my posture to be the cause of all this, and went to see a chiropractor myself. But my experience did not go well. The chiro-doctor only taped my neck and it caused more tension building up, eventually induced me to have a major attack after I left the place, the experience really traumatized me because I was in a crowded train when I had it, and I still can't get on a train... I think the chiropractor didn't know what he was doing.

    I have no intention of scaring people off, but I wanted people to know that we should look for a good practitioner who really can fix it.

    Do you think it will help if we stretch our neck backward?

  132. Thank you so much for writing this! I'm going to share it with a friend who has bad anxiety. Even if chiropractic treatment doesn't help I feel like just knowing that someone else is going through what you are going through can be helpful. I suffer from mild anxiety myself and use yoga and meditation to help control it but I found it really interesting that I could really feel my heart rate elevating as I read this :s.

  133. You are really helping me understand my daughter who suffers from migraines and anxiety. Love, love, love you!!!
    PS - I hope she finds someone like John someday. =)

  134. One other suggestions that's good for all emotional things from anxiety to PTSD to depression is called tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Look it up, it's amazing!

  135. I'm glad to hear you're able to get treatment, Lord knows I wish I could!!!! I know exactly what you go through!!! My neck is almost exactly like yours (side & front view) except.....mine is straight up until the last 2 vertebra & then it curves in the opposite direction that a normal spine should, So not only do I have the pain & all that goes with a straight spine but I also have the little extra from the curve of the wrong direction. I have tried chiropractors & massage therapy, however, my muscles stay so tender that the pain is to much to let them do anything. I have a VERY high tolerance to pain, but this is beyond my thresh hold. Same goes for my back...it's even worse. I also have degenerative, herniated & bulging disks of the neck & back. I've been told since 1999 at the age of 21 I needed back surgery, but I refused because I watched my father go through 15...YES, 15 of them. However now at 35, I can barely move without feeling like I'm being electrocuted either from the base of my scull down my arms & hands or my L5S1 down both legs to my feet. I have to move slow when turning cause when it hits, I literally drop to my knees. I get laughed at by everyone when I SNEEZE because of the position I have to get in...that is the most excruciating pain if I don't get into that position soon enough. I'm a good sport about it though, I laugh at myself along with those who laugh at me. HAHA BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR TREATMENT!!!

  136. This is me! I started having panic attacks this past spring when I laid my head in certain positions. It was driving me crazy. Chiropractor did help. Acupuncture also. I started having that because of interstitial cystitis. Acupuncture works wonders on stress! Thanks for posting!

  137. Hi Jen,
    I started seeing a NUCCA chiropractor for my vestibular migraine anxiety and depression. What type of chirodoes your doctor do?

    1. I've never heard of different branches in chiropractic, tbh, so I don't know! I do know each doctor seems to have his or her own slightly different methods, though. Mine does all our manipulations by hand (as opposed to using machinery, like some do) but beyond that, I don't have a basis of comparison to go off of. Sorry I'm not more help! o.0

  138. Hi Jen! I take care of this by lying on my back on my bed with my head hanging over the edge, and a towel rolled up under my neck. Do this 20 mins a day until your neck is back to a nice curve, then once a week or so after to maintain. I learned this from a chiropractor. It's basically homemade traction. Works just as well and is free. You must do it for 20 minutes though. It doesn't work if you do it for five minutes four times a day -- it has to be 20 minutes all at once. Somehow your tendons need that much time to get the message to change their shape.

  139. My parents initially started taking my siblings and I to a chiropractor because a couple of my sisters had relatively constant and repeating middle ear infections (the part behind your eardrum, but before the cochlea) and had to have tubes inserted to drain the infection. We started going when my sister Katt, who was getting the worst infections, was about four or five. She has never had another ear infection. I've been going since I was about two weeks old, I'm almost twenty now. Never had ear infections, persistent back problems, and it helps with my joints. I have hyper-flexible joints, mainly my knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists and a minor birth defect in my knees that occasionally causes nerve irritation. I go less frequently than I did as a kid, and I can go several months without any problem, but I always know when a something bothers me for more than a couple of days, whether I've had a persistent headache, or my back feels weird, or my knees are achey, that I need to see my chiropractor. I didn't realize for many years that it was considered "alternative" medicine. I called the chiropractor I went to as a child Dr. Heer (pronounce hair). He had certificates on his wall. He was just another doctor that I went to. My point, however, is that chiropractors are awesome and more people should see one. Proper alignment can help with many ails.


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