It's All In The Mind

By Mha Atma S. Khalsa, DC

In over 25 years of chiropractic practice, I have observed a consistent and remarkable correlation between my patients’ state of mind, their stress levels, their attitude...and the speed of their healing as well as their overall health.  Often, patients report the sudden onset of a major episode of back or neck pain or some other ailment without any obvious injury or physical cause—but they often admit to being “stressed out” or experiencing some difficult emotional challenge.  I have also seen patients whose chronic pain or illness improved dramatically when they made an emotional breakthrough in their life.

There is plenty of research and experience to tell us that the stress in your life and how you handle it has a huge impact on your physical health.  A recent published study indicated that people with an optimistic attitude about life had a significantly lower death rate than folks who tended to be pessimistic.  Another recent study found that folks with a positive attitude had one-half as many heart-related “adverse events” as their pessimistic counterparts.  Still another study demonstrated that laughter speeds recovery from allergic reactions (see the next page for summaries).

In his books “Healing Low Back Pain” and “Prescription for Pain,” John Sarno, MD describes how severe, disabling back pain along with many other chronic painful conditions are often psychologically based, and that just becoming aware of this fact, without necessarily even resolving their emotional challenges, has “cured” numerous people of their chronic pain without any other treatment.  Many people have experienced their chronic pain going away just from reading one of his books.

There are many things we can do to help release emotional stress, including deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and the use of affirmations and visualization.  Asking for support is most often helpful or even essential—whether it comes from talking to a friend or loved one, joining a 12-step or other support group, or visiting a mental health professional.  And it is important to remember that, just as our mental outlook and emotional stress can powerfully effect our physical health—our physical well-being can profoundly effect our emotional state.  So exercise, eating a healthy diet and regular chiropractic adjustments can all be a vital part of regaining and maintaining emotional balance and a life of satisfaction and inner peace.