Chiropractic and High Blood Pressure
According to Blood Pressure UK, approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure (hypertension). This is significant as high blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart attack and failure. So how do we maintain our blood pressure at a risk free level?
The most commonly cited steps for helping lower high blood pressure are:
- Maintain an active lifestyle and regularly exercise
- Eat a natural, balanced diet with reduced levels of salt
- Reduce stress levels
- Maintain an ideal weight for your height and build
- Limit and avoid regular alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Stop smoking
These steps are well known and documented, however research is starting to suggest Chiropractic may help?!
How can Chiropractic help high blood pressure
A study conducted at The University of Chicago Hypertension Center has found a dramatic reduction in blood pressure following Chiropractic Adjustments. After 8 weeks of Chiropractic Adjustments to their Atlas (top of their neck) vertebrae, 25 patients with high blood pressure saw a significant and sustained reduction in their blood pressure compared to the 25 similar people who had a sham procedure. George Bakris M.D, the study leader stated “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood pressure medications given in combination”.
8 weeks after Chiropractic care the reduction in blood pressure was the same as taking two medications
Another research group looked at the change in blood pressure after a similar Chiropractic Adjustment in the neck on young people who had normal blood pressure and found no change in their blood pressure.
What does this mean?
The two research articles show a reduction in high blood pressure after Chiropractic Adjustments and no change in already normal blood pressure. This shows that Chiropractic doesn’t specifically lower blood pressure, it actually allows blood pressure to return to a more normal level.
Chiropractic helps the body to function optimally including regulating normal blood pressure
Chiropractic works by positively influencing the nervous system through restoring balance and function to the spine. The nervous system controls our whole body; every thought, movement, reaction and of course our blood pressure. The body is beautifully designed to maintain everything within its normal boundaries, and this includes maintaining our blood pressure at the right level. This is called homeostasis.
Naturally our blood pressure will fluctuate up and down. It will go up when we are exercising or feeling stressed out, and it will drop down when we are relaxing and asleep. The high risk factors of a stroke and heart attack come when our blood pressure remains at a higher level than normal when you are in a relaxed state. As before mentioned, this can be caused by factors like a poor diet and a non-active lifestyle, prolonged exposure to stress, also regular alcohol consumption and smoking. However, this new research apparently suggests that high blood pressure can also be caused by disfunction cervical (neck) vertebrae affecting the nervous system and therefore blood pressure.
The added bonus, in both studies no adverse effects or reactions to the Chiropractic Adjustments. With the combined effect of two blood pressure medications, could Chiropractic be a safer, more natural first option for those with high blood pressure before they start on a lifestyle of medications?
Contact our Bristol Chiropractors today to have your neck examined. Whether you blood pressure reduces or not, at least Chiropractic will get you turning your neck further and suffering less neck pain and headaches…
Bakris, G. et al. (2007) Atlas Vertebra Realignment And Achievement Of Arterial Pressure Goal In Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. J Hum Hypertens. 21(5): 347-52
Ward, J. et al. (2012) Immediate effects of atlas manipulation on cardiovascular physiology. Clinical Chiropractic. 15(3-4): 147-157