Cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke is the nations leading killer among men and women. We all know the risks related to hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure. That is why I am delighted to find research is being done to quantify the benefits of chiropractic therapies. A recent reporting in the Journal of Human Hypertension (May 2007) found that correcting a misalignment in the spine was able to reduce and maintain lower blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Study
The pilot study involved patients with early-stage high blood pressure randomized into groups to receive a chiropractic adjustment to the upper cervical spine or a sham procedure. Patient’s were examined to determine if there was a misalignment of the Atlas (first vertebra at the top of the spine) and manipulation was used to correct the position of the vertebra in the test group. During the 8-week study, no medications were given to either group to help lower blood pressure.
At the end of the 8-week pilot study, statistically significant changes were seen in systolic and diastolic pressure compared to the placebo group. (When checking blood pressure, systolic blood pressure is the top number and diastolic is the bottom number measured.) On average, patients who got the real procedure exhibited 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure and 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic pressure, than the sham-group. No adverse reactions to the treatments were noted and at week 8, most of the improvements in blood pressure were maintained. The results that were seen in the study were considered to be similar to benefits from taking a combination of two drugs for HTN.
A Piece of the Puzzle, Chiropractic Care
The study leader noted that he was prompted to start this study when a fellow physician, noticed an interesting trend in his family practice. The doctor had been referring some of his patients to a chiropractor and some of them had high blood pressure. When his patients returned for follow-up, he found that their blood pressure had returned to normal and some were able to stop taking medications to reduce their high blood pressure.
Correct positioning of the Atlas vertebra is important for proper functioning in the neck and throughout the body. Patients with headache and neck pain often have trouble with alignment at this level of the spine. When the Atlas is out of alignment, there can be consequences beyond high blood pressure. Further, if people do have HTN, this is a possible indication that the spine is not aligned properly.
Having the spine checked for misalignments can be the first step in helping to reduce aches, pains, and many other health problems. For further information please contact our offices for an appointment and let us help you to better health.