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Dr. Corinne: Panic Attacks: Is Anxiety Holding You Back From Living Life to the Fullest?

Dr. Corinne Weaver : Mar 21, 2019

I believe stress and how our body deals with stress is the main cause of disease.

Imagine, that you are sitting in a restaurant. At some point during the meal, you notice that your heart is beating faster than normal and that there is slight pressure in your chest. You feel like you are having difficulty breathing and you also notice that the lights in the restaurant are starting to bother you. You begin to hear every noise around you: a child clinking his silverware against his glass, the waiter writing down an order and conversations becoming increasingly louder. Suddenly, the restaurant feels overwhelming and small, at which point you may feel a tingling sensation down your arms or your stomach cramping. You may be thinking, is this a heart attack? Why can't I get a deep breath? Why is it so loud in here? What's happening to me? (Image: Pixabay)

What exactly is an anxiety attack?

Chances are, if you have experienced any parts of the above scenario, you've had a panic attack. Panic attacks can occur anywhere and at any time. A panic attack is often classified as feeling profound moments of anxiety that can present themselves in physical symptoms or feeling of doom. (1) They typically last for about 10 minutes but can take a few minutes to hours to calm down.

Anxiety enlists the body's natural "fight or flight" response. This type of innate response kicks in when we perceive a harmful event or threat to our survival. The body will produce a flood of hormones to help enhance our speed, heart rate, reflexes and circulation. (2)  Anxiety can also tap into this "fight or flight" system. This can help explain for example why we may feel "nervous or anxious" before giving a speech in public or before flying. In order to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the symptoms must persist for months. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 40 million adults age 18 and above have an anxiety based mental illness. That is nearly 18 percent of our population.

The seven common types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms

(3) There are seven common types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety disorder. (3) Anxiety can present itself in a variety of different symptoms and forms. Much like the restaurant scenario, it can be an emotional and or a physical response. 

The emotional response can include but is not limited to the following examples (3):

  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of apprehension
  • Feelings of danger
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Trouble with concentration or mind goes blank
  • Feeling irritable

Some examples of physical responses to anxiety (3):

  • Increase in heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Shortness of breath

Anxiety and the spine connection

So many times, I hear people say, "Dr. Weaver, I can breathe and smell better after you correct my upper cervical spine."  Just recently I saw a young man who has been having anxiety for about a year. He had trouble sleeping, shortness of his breath and mid back pain. He went to his doctor and his doctor prescribed some anti-anxiety meds. He told me the meds made him feel weird and he did not want to take them. My heart went out to him because I knew I was unable to see him many times due to him living 640 miles away.

After I made an upper cervical correction to his spine, I made him rest with proper spinal alignment and I had him do some breathing techniques. About 30 minutes later I woke him up and he had this big smile on his face saying "I can breathe, and I feel amazing!"  I smile every time I hear someone tell me they can breathe better because I still remember my first upper cervical correction. I had no idea that day was going to change my life forever.

The gut connection

Did you know digestion issues can lead to anxiety? Because of that, I recommended a probiotic for him, along with vitamin D, fish oil, magnesium, adaptogen herbs, and my essential oil roller blends to help his body recover. Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut." We have now proven his theory.

Gut health determines brain health. It's not rare to hear those who complain of mental health difficulties mention diet and a difficult relationship with food and stress-eating as part of the symptoms of their illness they experience.

I believe stress and how our body deals with stress is the main cause of disease. I created a kit to help people on their road to recovery. If you would like a kit you can order one on this link

What could you do to help reduce anxiety?

  1. Optimize your gut flora. The gut and the brain work together and can influence one another. A study was conducted on mice with infectious colitis and the use of a probiotic Bifidobacterium Longum. Anxiety like behavior was assessed and during the study, the mice that had received the probiotic had a reduction in anxiety symptoms. In fact, the study found an anxiolytic (inhibits anxiety) effect of the probiotic involving the vagal pathways of the gut-brain communication. (4)
  2. Supplement with omega 3 fats EPA and DHA.A 12-week study including 68 medical students, provided blood samples to be analyzed on low stress days and on days leading up to an exam. The randomized controlled trail had students receive either a placebo or supplemented with omega 3s. The group supplementing with omega 3s had a 20% reduction of anxiety symptoms as well as a 14% reduction inflammation. This data suggests that there is potential to help individuals with anxiety disorders. (5) 
  3. Running or walking can help improve symptoms of anxiety by releasing hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine. This phenomenon is known as the "runner's high" post workout. A review conducted by the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience concludes that exercise can work like an antidepressant and can also help promote growth of brain neurons. (6) 
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet.Your body needs the proper fuel to support its functions. Eating foods that are processed (artificial and sugary) reduces the body's ability to properly function. It would be equivalent to putting the wrong gas into your car. It may function for a little bit, but over time it damages the engine.
  5. Take a deep breath.If you find yourself feeling anxious or in a panic attack, try focusing on your breathing. This will help if you find yourself in a hyperventilation situation. Take a deep breath in through your nose for at least 5 seconds. This should be felt in the chest and abdomen, then slowly exhale out of your nose. Depending on the level of anxiety, this may take a few minutes before feeling calmer. (3) As Christians, we believe God created humanity from dust and that He breathed life into us to make us live. (Genesis 2:7) Breathe in the Breath of God today and Praise Him.
  6. Reduce time on electronic devices.The usage of electronic devices has increased dramatically over the last 5 to 10 years. Electronic devices used before bedtime have the potential to reduce the production of melatonin. Melatonin is needed to help regulate our sleep wake cycle. Without it, we may have trouble falling or staying asleep. Lack of sleep can elevate stress and anxiety within the body.

It is important to discover what vitamins and minerals you need in order to alleviate stress so that you can live a life of optimal health. If you need more personalized help, I can help get you on the right track with individualized dietary and supplement guidelines based on your blood test results. You can email me at

I am deeply passionate about helping people become the very best versions of themselves so that they can live out God's purpose for their life. I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing his gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Keep Breathing,

Dr. Corinne Weaver


Works Cited:

  1. Shaikh, Faiq: "How Long Do Anxiety Attacks Last?" Can Anxiety Cause Weight Gain?
  1. "Anxiety in Your Brain: What Happens When Anxiety Attacks?
  1. "Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety."
  1. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Dec;23(12):1132-9.
  2. Brain Behav Immun.2011 Nov;25(8):1725-34. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229. Epub 2011 Jul 19.
  3. "Dietary Fiber Consumption Can Impact Your Brain."

The information in this article and is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a qualified, licensed medical professional. The facts presented in this article are offered as information only, not medical advice, and in no way should anyone infer that we are practicing medicine. Seek the advice of a medical professional for proper application of this material to any specific situation. No statement in this article has been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory authority. Any product mentioned or described is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing anything.

Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.

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