High blood pressure (hypertension) affects many older Americans. While medications work in some cases, they also have side effects and can be expensive. You might not know that chiropractic treatment is often effective in relieving high blood pressure. Here’s the skinny from Dr. Shane Silver, of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Spine and Blood Pressure
Spinal alignment affects nerve function. That makes good sense if you think about how the nerves that affect the body run between the bones (vertebrae) as they come off the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury has long been known to affect blood pressure. Patients with spinal injury above the level of T-9 – the ninth thoracic vertebra – are subject to a condition called autonomic dyslexia, in which the nerves cannot regulate the blood pressure, causing hypertension.
The atlas is the highest vertebra in the spine and supports the head. Research has shown that if the atlas is out of alignment, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Alignment problems in the thoracic spine, which affects the function of the chest, heart, and lungs, can also result in hypertension. Chiropractors can adjust both of these areas using special techniques. They may perform the adjustment with their hands or special tools.
What the Research Shows
Research into the connection between spinal alignment and high blood pressure showed that many patients had a significant reduction in blood pressure after alignment. Some showed immediate effects, while others did not show the effects for 12 to 24 hours. The spinal adjustments were tested against sham adjustments, which produced no change in blood pressure, indicating the actual treatments were effective. Some of the patients were able to get off of blood pressure medications entirely.
In addition to the direct effect of spinal adjustments, chiropractic treatment can help relieve muscle tension and chronic pain, both of which can contribute to hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, consider chiropractic. Please contact our office for an assessment or to schedule therapy. You don’t have anything to lose but your high blood pressure.