Feb 3, 2022 9:49:27 AM

Osteopathy helps Anxiety!

Osteopathy helps Anxiety! - featured image

Osteopathy, Stress and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Part 1. 

As we are going through waves of COVID 19,Omicron etc and many people are suffering from anxiety due to the lockdowns, rising cases, and many other restrictions. Moreover, this has led to some people suffering from increased stress to generalized anxiety disorder. Mental health has become an important topic today and has been part of the treatment plan of Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT).

CAMH stated that “It is normal to be feeling increased levels of stress and anxiety due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As social gathering restrictions and economic shutdowns have remained in place far longer than governments first anticipated, we understand that the activities and coping strategies you relied on to get through the past year may not be working as well as they used to”. 

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

CAMH defines Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as involving “excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for a period of at least six months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance)” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 222). It is characterized by “difficulty in controlling worry and at least three associated physical symptoms (e.g., muscle tension, sleep difficulties, trouble concentrating).”

Most people have systems and supports in place, that prevent them from reaching the GAD stage. Unfortunately, there are some who do not have the help that they require and suffer from GAD. Life has been turned upside down for them and they long for a “normal” way of life, but are finding it hard to make it through this pandemic. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that people with GAD “do not know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control”. That believe that worrying prevents bad things from happening and view giving up worry as risky. 

Signs & Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Crisis Just Ahead sign with a bad day-1Cognitive symptoms include thoughts such as:

  • “Something is going to go wrong.”
  • “This worry is going to make me nuts."
  • "I need to be sure nothing bad is going to happen." 

Physical symptoms include:

  • muscle tension
  • feeling keyed up or on edge
  • restlessness 
  • irritability
  • sleep disturbance
  • stomach aches and gastro-intestinal problemsYoung woman having neck pain after night
  • headaches
  • nervousness
  • increased heart rate
  • rapid breathing
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • feeling tired or weak 

Behavioural symptoms include:

  • avoiding news, newspapers
  • restricting involvement in activities due to excessive worries about what could happen
  • excessive reassurance seeking or over-preparingStressed out business man leading a successful corporate group under a money rain
  • difficulty concentrating
  • having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

The symptoms above can also be found in many anxiety and mental disorders. OMT can adapt to the different levels of anxiety, treating a wide range of patients and symptoms.

What Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT) can do for you ?

There are several osteopathic manual techniques that I use to help patients de-stress and release their tight muscles the are caused by stress, anxiety and GAD. This tightness and worried state of mind, can lead to fatigue and pain if not dealt with efficiently. With OMT decreasing muscular tension and pain, I can indirectly help relax the anxious patient’s mind and emotions through this muscular release. Many times, patients leave relaxed, loose and calm. 

For many of the physical symptoms mentioned above, OMT can release the structures surrounding the organs and its nerves that are being compressed by the tension caused by GAD. With the release of these structures, OMT can help decrease these symptoms. If they are not dealt with immediately and properly, this will lead to a vicious cycle of tension and anxiety making the patient feel worse and overwhelmed. OMT can also prevent stress and anxiety from becoming GAD. 

A chiropractor stretches a female customers leg in his surgeryAlong with what OMT can do for you, our Kinesiologists at Bodiworks Institute can also provide exercises to help deal with your symptoms which is a treatment option in addition to medication, relaxation and stress management techniques, counselling and cognitive behaviour treatment. In the end, seeking help when needed is the best course of action, be it through counselling, manual therapy and exercise.

Hopefully, most of you are handling this pandemic well and are getting the help that you need. In the next blog I will focus specifically on neck tightness and pain caused by stress and GAD, and what OMT can specifically do for this area of the body. Have a great day and take care. 











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