Can Chiropractic Lower Blood Pressure?
By Drs. Doug and Angela Kloss: Downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado 100% Chiropractic A Wellness Center
A basic philosophy of chiropractic is that the body naturally seeks the proper balance among all the systems of the body and that these systems are meant to work together. A second basic principle is that proper structure is necessary for proper function. If a structure is impaired by injury or stress, its function can be adversely affected.
For example, when the vertebrae of the spine are not positioned normally, known as a subluxation, it can irritate the nerves exiting the spine. When spinal nerves are irritated, they do not function normally and can affect the function of the tissues and organs they control. Thus chiropractic focuses on the integrity of the spine and its surrounding tissues as a means to enhance normal human function and health.
Today we are going to discuss the effect that a Chiropractic adjustment can have on lowering blood pressure.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.
“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has HBP. The condition itself usually has no signs or symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, HBP can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.
Blood Pressure Numbers
Blood pressure is measured as systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-ah-STOL-ik) pressures. “Systolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart beats to pump blood. “Diastolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
The table below shows normal blood pressure numbers for adults and which numbers put you at greater risk for health problems.
Category Systolic (top number) Diastolic (bottom number)
Normal Less than 120 And Less than 80
Prehypertension 120 – 139 Or 80 – 90
High Blood Pressure – –
Stage 1 140 – 159 Or 90 – 99
Stage 2 160 or higher Or 100 or higher
The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who do not have short-term serious illnesses.
Blood pressure does not stay the same at all. It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you are excited, nervous, or active. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you are at risk for health problems. The risk grows as blood pressure numbers rise. “Prehypertension” means you may end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it.
What Does a Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure Mean?
If you are diagnosed with HBP, your medical doctor will prescribe medication for treatment. Your blood pressure will be tested again to see how the treatment affects it.
Side effects from blood pressure medication include but are not limited to: constipation, dizziness, light headedness, fainting, frequent urination, headaches, loss of potassium, upset stomach, and tender, swollen or bleeding gums.
What Effect Does Chiropractic Have on High Blood Pressure?
A study conducted at The University of Chicago Hypertension Center demonstrated that patients who received Chiropractic adjustments showed lowered blood pressure equal to two blood-pressure medications.
Eight weeks after undergoing Chiropractic adjustments, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than the 25 similar patients who underwent a placebo chiropractic adjustment.
X-rays showed that the real adjustments realigned the Atlas vertebra (the bone at the very top of the spine) with the rest of the spine. The placebo-treated patients fake adjustments did not realign the Atlas vertebra.
Compared to the placebo-treated patients, those who received the real adjustment saw an average of 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number). None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.
The study leader, George Bakris M.D., director of the University of Chicago Hypertension Center told WebMD “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination and it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.”
“When the statistician brought me the data, I actually did not believe it. It was way too good to be true,” Bakris says. “The statistician said, ‘I don’t even believe it.’ But we checked for everything, and there it was.”
Bakris and colleagues report their findings in the advance online issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.
Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension
The procedure calls for adjustment of the C-1 vertebra. It is called the Atlas vertebra because it holds up the head, just as the titan named Atlas holds up the world in Greek mythology.
At the base of the brain is our brainstem. When the Atlas vertebra is subluxated (misaligned) as little as a half a millimeter, it can create abnormal pressure on the brainstem. Our brainstem has many important functions including control of our cardiovascular system.
It is imperative to have your spine evaluated for any subluxations by a Chiropractor. We know for a body to function optimally at its full potential, you must have a properly aligned spine which allows for the nervous system to operate at 100%.