Blood Pressure, Hypertension & Chiropractors
Chiropractic may have a positive impact on hypertension
Really!! High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) affects 1 in 4 Americans.* You or someone you know probably has it. Now, am I suggesting that Chiropractic is a cure for high blood pressure/hypertension? No, no at all. Should you stop taking your medication and go to the Chiropractor for your hypertension problem? Definitely not. However, recent research out of the University of Chicago suggests that Chiropractic adjustments to a specific area of the neck can lower specific types of blood pressure an average of 14 mm/hg systolic (the top number) and 8 mm/hg diastolic (the lower number).**
“How is this possible?” you may ask. Medical Textbooks teach us that the brain and nervous system control every function of the body. The base of the brain/top of the spinal cord controls much of the pressure regulation mechanism of our circulatory system among other things. The first bone in the neck, called the “atlas” (or C1) can put pressure on the base of the brain and spinal cord and create dysfunction of the vascular system causing an artificial pressure increase. When the bone is moved (micro millimeters) by a Chiropractic adjustment, pressure is taken of the brain and spinal cord and normal function resumes according to the study.
This kind of research isn’t as far-fetched and surprising as it may seem if we think more about it. Chiropractors work with headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, low back pain, sciatica, hip pain, and numerous other conditions in the same basic manner as the Doctors in the blood pressure study. Chiropractors treat patients every day with the understanding that the nervous system does indeed control and coordinate every function of the body. That is how we have consistently achieved the great clinical outcomes over the last century. This research piece shows that very relationship at work.
In the same breath, that in no way means that every condition is a Chiropractic case. However, a healthy nervous system will always contribute to overall well-being no matter where you stand on the health continuum (aged, young, sick, well, etc.) Every day, more and more research is showing a consistent relationship between a healthy nervous system and a better functioning body.
So, when under chiropractic care, it is essential to follow recommendations through your care plan for maximum benefit. In addition, as you have read, it can also play an important role in affecting other systems of your body and help with overall health and well-being. Continuing with wellness care is your choice and can most definitely affect your quality of life in a positive manner for years to come!
*Harvard Health Services
**“Chiropractic Cuts High Blood Pressure”, Journal of Human Hypertension (2007) 21, 347-352.
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