Sunday, 24 June 2007

chiropractic reduces high blood pressure

Researchers from the University of Chicago say that a minor one-time adjustment of a the Atlas, or C1 vertebra in the neck can lower blood pressure by the same amount as the combination of two blood pressure medicines at once. The pilot research program adjusted the vertebrae of 25 people with high blood pressure.

Amazingly they discovered that both their systolic and diastolic readings decreased significantly. Previous anecdotal reports have linked blood pressure and neck pain, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, but no one investigated this further.

Dr. George Bakris, director of the hypertension center at the University of Chicago Medical Center said "Even back in the 1960s and '70s, neurosurgeons and some specialized chiropractors knew that things change when you realign C1. But there has not been the rigor of the scientific method applied to see what's going on. We wanted to find out if this effect lasts longer than a week or two."

The C1 vertebra is not like the other vertebrae because it is not anchored like other vertebrae. It is held in place solely by muscles and ligaments and can easily slip out of alignment. There may not be any pain associated with this condition and it often goes undetected and untreated.

The Tribune reports that there were chiropractic specialists aware of the phenomenon. Some specialists limited their practice to manual alignment of the C1. They make up the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Patients from Chicago NUCCA specialist, Marshall Dickholtz Sr., were sent for the study.

Half the patients received a tailor-made adjustment while the other half received a "sham intervention." Patients were assessed after the alignment and after eight weeks.

"We were shocked to find out that we got more than double what we expected in blood pressure reduction," Bakris said. Patients did not need to resume taking blood pressure medicine. The effect lasted for months.

George Bakris, MD

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