Well­ness Arti­cles

Chi­ro­prac­tic Cuts Blood Pres­sure

The above head­line comes from a March 16, 2007 arti­cle on WebMD. The arti­cle is based on a study done at the Hyper­ten­sion cen­tre at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago Med­ical cen­tre and pub­lished in the March 2, 2007 issue of the Jour­nal of Human Hypertension.

In this study, 50 patients with hyper­ten­sion were divided into two groups of 25 each. One group of 25 received a spe­cific light force chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ment (admin­is­tered by a chi­ro­prac­tor) to the Atlas ver­te­brae (upper­most bone in the neck). The other group of 25 received a sim­i­lar pro­ce­dure but with no adjust­ment being given. Researchers called this pro­ce­dure the “sham adjust­ment”. Since the type of adjust­ment given was very light force, the patients involved in this study did not know if they were receiv­ing the real or sham adjustments.

The results were sur­pris­ing to even the med­ical researchers con­duct­ing the study. After 8 weeks of care the 25 peo­ple in the group receiv­ing the real chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments all showed a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in blood pres­sure com­pared to the group that received the sham adjust­ment. Those patients who got the real adjust­ment showed an aver­age of 14 mm Hg greater drop in sys­tolic blood pres­sure (the top num­ber in a blood pres­sure count), and an aver­age of 8 mm Hg greater drop in dias­tolic blood pres­sure (the bot­tom blood pres­sure num­ber) over those who got the fake or sham adjustment.

In his inter­view with WebMD, study leader George Bakris, MD com­mented, “This pro­ce­dure has the effect of not one, but two blood-​pressure med­ica­tions given in com­bi­na­tion. And it seems to be adverse-​event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.”

When they first ana­lyzed the data, Dr. Bakris and his sta­tis­ti­cian had trou­ble believ­ing the data. He noted, “When the sta­tis­ti­cian brought me the data, I actu­ally didn’t believe it. It was way too good to be true. The sta­tis­ti­cian said, ‘I don’t even believe it.’ But we checked for every­thing, and there it was.”

X-​rays were used to con­firm that the chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments actu­ally changed the posi­tion of the Atlas ver­te­brae. Dr. Mar­shall Dick­holtz was the chi­ro­prac­tor who per­formed the spe­cific adjust­ments and com­mented in WebMD, “At the base of the brain are two cen­tres that con­trol all the mus­cles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain — if the Atlas gets locked in a posi­tion as lit­tle as a half a mil­lime­ter out of line — it doesn’t cause any pain but it upsets these centres.”

Even with the over­whelm­ing results, the authors of the study were cau­tious in their con­clu­sions and posed sev­eral ques­tions. They com­mented, “The mech­a­nism as to why this improve­ment in blood pres­sure occurs is unknown and can­not be deter­mined by this study”. They con­tin­ued, “The data pre­sented, how­ever, raise a num­ber of impor­tant ques­tions includ­ing: a) How does mis­align­ment of C1 affect hyper­ten­sion?; and b) If there is a cause and effect rela­tion­ship between C1 mis­align­ment and hyper­ten­sion, is mal­po­si­tion of C1 an addi­tional risk fac­tor for the devel­op­ment of hypertension?”

Ran­dom Article

This Feb­ru­ary 8, 2006 USA Today arti­cle starts off with a grave warn­ing to preg­nant women, “Women who take a com­mon type of

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