Patients suffering from insomnia can be very unhappy and deserve attentive, compassionate chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic adjustments, diet, and lifestyle suggestions can help your patients recover from insomnia and develop healthier sleep.
A recent article published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders suggests that some cases of insomnia could be caused by complex chemical interactions in the brain resulting from subluxation. This would possibly explain why chiropractic adjustment brings relief to many patients with insomnia. Author, Lenard Vernon, DC, in his article, “The Chiropractic Subluxation and Insomnia: Could There Be a Link?”, Suggests that a pattern of chronic insomnia can develop over time and add to further discomfort and insomnia.
Successful treatment of patients with insomnia may require adjustments to correct the subluxation and affect chronic insomnia. In addition to adjustments, other treatments and lifestyle interventions can promote sound sleep and help your patients heal.
Assess the source of insomnia
To effectively treat patients with insomnia, chiropractors should carefully examine the patient and develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
“In my clinical experience, a combination of treatments is most effective,” said Scott Schreiber, DC of the Delaware Back Pain and Sports Rehabilitation Center. “I find that insomnia is the clinical manifestation of many other subclinical problems.”
Schreiber suggests that chiropractors look for other health problems that appear and contribute in addition to insomnia, such as thyroid problems and mental health issues. Patients should be asked about sleep habits, diet, stress levels and daily routine. Failure to follow the body’s natural circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can also negatively impact insomnia sufferers, according to Schreiber.
Adjustments for insomnia
“The high-speed, low-amplitude manipulation (HVLA) on the areas with joint dysfunction will immediately relieve pain and induce muscle relaxation,” says Schreiber. “This alone will allow the body to feel more comfortable and to fall asleep more easily.”
As Vernon’s article explains, subluxation can contribute to endocrine system problems by creating unhealthy nerve impulses. This chemical dysfunction then causes an imbalance in brain chemistry, which contributes to primary insomnia in patients. By treating the subluxation, the adjustment can help correct dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, thereby providing possible relief from insomnia.
Chris Mabry of Ability Chiropractic in Columbus, Ohio claims adjustment can also combat insomnia by improving other aspects of nervous system function, such as heart rate variability.
“It is postulated that the improvement is due to a more efficient function of the spine and nervous system … A predictor of sleep efficiency is heart rate variability, which is positively influenced by chiropractic,” says Mabry.
Other strategies for treating insomnia
In addition to the adjustments, you may want to recommend other interventions to your patient. As part of your comprehensive treatment plan, you may need to suggest dietary supplements and other lifestyle changes.
Schreiber says patients should reduce their intake of caffeine and sugar and consider stress management techniques like exercise or yoga. Patients can also use dietary supplements to treat insomnia with careful guidance from the chiropractor.
“These are magnesium, valerian root, passion flower, 5-HTP, melatonin and tryptophan. These either promote relaxation or increase the body’s own production of serotonin, the sleep hormone, ”says Schreiber.
Look for improvements
Over time, sleep should improve and other symptoms should go away. Patients should be monitored regularly for progress. If necessary, change the treatment plan and look for other possible strategies. Insomnia is complex and treatment may not be immediate.
“It will take some time. As the quality of sleep improves, the patient becomes less tired, more alert, less stressed and less sick. Anxiety and depression can also improve, ”says Schreiber.
“Vernon, Leonard. “Chiropractic subluxation and insomnia: could there be a connection?” J Sleep medicine disorder. 2015 2 (5): 1032.