“I don’t have back pain, why should I try chiropractic therapy?”
Anatomy 101 answer: Your brain controls every muscle, organ, and cell in your body. Your nervous system is an extension of your brain, acting like billions of telephone lines, sending and receiving information every second of your life. Our nerves travel through our spinal column, and sometimes these bones, and surrounding tissue, get in the way.
Does your Chiropractor want you to feel better? Of course! Our biggest goal for you, though, is to get your body FUNCTIONING and HEALING better! With increased function, comes increased health, which translates to less pain and illness.
So, here’s the down and dirty, super-summarized version of how this works. If you’re really interested in the physiology, check out some of these textbooks at your local library: Clinically Oriented Anatomy, Moore; Textbook of Medical Physiology, Guyton; Atlas of Human Anatomy, Netter.
Skull, Cervical Spine, Nerves, Blood Vessels
Research demonstrates substantial evidence that specific Chiropractic care could help to lower elevated blood pressure, in certain individuals. Regulation of arterial pressure occurs in an area of the brainstem known as the medulla. Special receptors in your aorta and carotid arteries communicate pressure readings, via nerve impulses, back to the medulla (Guyton, 8th Edition).The brain uses this information to decide if pressure should be higher, lower, or stay the same. Once a decision is made, more nerve impulses are sent, as instructions, to other systems in the body.
The medulla meets the spinal cord at the upper boarder of Atlas, the first cervical bone in the spinal column (Gray, 15th Edition). Misalignment of this bone has been correlated with hypertension, in previous studies, and can potentially interfere with brainstem neural pathways.
“We concluded that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.” (Journal of Human Hypertension, 2007)
In summary, participants were screened for hypertension and atlas misalignment. Once selected, they agreed to voluntarily suspend all hypertensive medication for the duration of the 8-week study. Imaging allowed researchers to measure the degree of atlas misalignment, and periodic blood pressure readings were recorded. On average, treatment group experienced improvements comparable to that of being on 2 hypertensive medications. The participants achieved these remarkable results naturally, with the help of chiropractic care!
- Systolic BP dropped 17.2 mm Hg
- Diastolic BP dropped 10.3 mm Hg
- Drug Free!
According to these results, a person with a BP of 142/92 could potentially see their BP lowered to 129/82, a reading that is not considered hypertensive.
The study met the same criteria, required by the Food and Drug Administration, prior to approving anti-hypertensive pharmaceuticals.
- Blinded design
- Placebo-subtracted reduction in diastolic BP of 5mm Hg, or more.
- Free of serious side effects
Some additional measures were required of participants, to reduce variability and ensure safety, such as; Participants must be 21 – 75 years of age, exhibit evidence of Atlas misalignment in preliminary screening, have a documented history of Stage-1 Hypertension, and sign an informed consent. Patients were excluded if they had a life threatening medical condition, were unwilling to come off of medication for study, were pregnant, or had a BMI over 39 (morbid obesity).
*Legal note: The purpose of this post is not to claim that chiropractic will cure Hypertension. It is a presentation of informative and exciting data, regarding the subject. Do come off any medication, without first consulting your doctor.
Bakris, G., Dickholtz, M., Meyer, P. M., Kravitz, G., Avery, E., Miller, M., . . . Bell, B. (2007). Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: A pilot study. J Hum Hypertens Journal of Human Hypertension. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1002133
Gray, H., & Carter, H. V. (2011). Gray’s anatomy. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Guyton, A. C. (1991). Textbook of medical physiology. Philadelphia: Saunders.