The human body is an excellent example of pure homeostasis. When each bodily system achieves balance, we experience a form of living free from pain, fatigue, and illness. Should one of these systems become compromised due to internal or external influences, however, a host of ailments is soon to follow. Few biological complications result in such disastrous results as hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure.
Defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries, blood pressure is an essential component within the cardiovascular system. While blood pressure naturally ebbs and flows throughout your day, should its levels remain high for an extended period of time your body becomes vulnerable to a host of serious conditions, such as stroke and heart disease. For over 75 million Americans, the adverse effects of hypertension are far too real.
Treating hypertension, and preventing its onset, must be a priority to avoid entering into the realm of cardiovascular illnesses. While medication and lifestyle alterations are paramount to normalize blood pressure, recent studies suggest the application of chiropractic care may be an effective treatment and prevention option.
Adjusting Pressure One Vertebra at a Time
To understand how chiropractic treatments can positively influence cardiovascular health, it’s essential to recognize how every bodily system works with each other to achieve optimum balance. It’s not uncommon for an imbalance in one part of the body to negatively affect another. A study published in the June 2013 edition of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine clearly demonstrates how our skeletal system communicates with our cardiovascular system.
Throughout the study, 24 participants received a total of 23 chiropractic sessions. At the conclusion of the study, researchers noted statistically significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic readings. Another placebo-controlled research study experienced similar results.
Within this eight-week study, published by the Journal of Human Hypertension, researchers from the University of Chicago Hypertension Center performed a C-1 vertebra, or Atlas vertebra, adjustments. Results from the experiment revealed an average 14 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and an average 8 mmHg reduction in diastolic pressure. These results were achieved without the use of medications, but only via isolated chiropractic adjustments.
It’s believed these results are due to the position of the vertebra. Located at the base of the brain, when the Atlas vertebra is out of alignment, even by a millimeter, unnecessary pressure is placed on specific areas of the brain that control muscles. Researchers hypothesize its misalignment may trigger signals to contract arteries, which ultimately increases blood pressure.
While scientists are unsure of the exact mechanisms, by correcting the Atlas vertebra alignment, it’s possible to reduce vertebra-induced hypertension. If you’re experiencing neck pain and high blood pressure, treatments by a professional chiropractor in Vancouver, WA may prove beneficial.
High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet, cdc.gov
Blood pressure changes in African American patients receiving chiropractic care in a teaching clinic: a preliminary study, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Chiropractic and high blood pressure, journal-advocate.com