Blood pressure measurements were then taken in both groups every two weeks for six weeks after the single chiropractic adjustment. The group that received the actual chiropractic adjustments showed significant lowering of both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure while the control group showed no significant differences.
According to the researcher who conducted the study, Dr. Scott Torns, “This investigation provides further evidence connecting upper cervical chiropractic care and blood pressure regulation.”
“Research is revealing that minor disturbances to spinal alignment and function may be a factor in a number of disorders. These spinal disturbances lead to nerve interference and can result in a host of health problems because the body’s homeostatic mechanism is thrown off” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. Other chiropractic researchers have reported on similar results in regards to blood pressure and chiropractic.
Several years ago blood pressure researchers George Bakris MD and chiropractor Marshall Dickholtz along with colleagues from the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush University Hypertension Center in Chicago, conducted a similar study on blood pressure, chiropractic and vertebral subluxation. Their study also found significant improvement in blood pressure following specific adjustments to reduce vertebral subluxation in the upper neck.
It makes a lot of sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy, “If you damage or compress or otherwise interfere with the neurological structures in the spine this can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body. Through research reports like this we are finding that correcting the misalignments or abnormal motion associated with these spinal problems reduces the nerve interference and people experience improvement. In this study it was a normalizing of blood pressure which is a significant risk factor in relation to cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in the United States.”
Once diagnosed, traditional medical treatment for increased blood pressure usually involves prescription drugs which can have unwanted side effects.
“Finding the cause of the high blood pressure and addressing that is a much better strategy” according to McCoy. One such risk is thought to be spinal misalignments and/or abnormal motion of the spine, termed vertebral subluxations by chiropractors, which result in structural and neurological interference to the spine and nerve system. It is this interference that may cause a cascade of neurovascular events that lead to abnormal blood pressure regulation. The theory is that once those spinal distortions are corrected the body is better able to balance its physiology and adapt to its environment.
Torns calls for more research exploring the role of vertebral subluxation correction in blood pressure regulation but in the meantime his data suggests that for patients suffering from high blood pressure they should be checked for vertebral subluxation and managed accordingly.