Does Chiropractic Work for High Blood Pressure?

Does Chiropractic Work for High Blood Pressure?

Does Chiropractic Work for High Blood Pressure?

            There are a great deal of Americans afflicted with high blood pressure, about 75 million in the United States alone, and can lead to various other serious conditions if not monitored and treated properly. Although there is no known cause, and much to the surprise of many patients, chiropractic care can decrease high blood pressure. There are various options for patients in standard medicine to mitigate high blood pressure, and these are helpful for some people, but there are also many side effects. Adding chiropractic as a treatment for high blood pressure in addition to medication may throw some patients off, but it is safe and effective for high blood pressure and overall health.



Understanding High Blood Pressure


            Being that 1 in 3 adults suffer with hypertension, and about only 1 in 4 adults that have high blood pressure actually have it under control meaning it is vital for chiropractic providers to understand high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is what happens when the blood pressure builds to unsafe levels, typically 18i0/120 or higher. The concern here is that leaving this untreated can lead to even more harmful conditions like stroke, heart disease, or kidney failure, not to mention that initially, there aren’t symptoms and a patient wouldn’t know unless they were being monitored.

 Untreated Hypertension Can Cause Damage to:


  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Kidneys
  • Brain
  • Organs

If there are any symptoms, it is important for patients to pay attention to any symptoms that are out of the ordinary.


Indicators of High Blood Pressure:


  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision

Unfortunately, having high blood pressure affects the whole of the circulatory system, which can also lead to aneurysms or weakened arteries and in severe circumstances can even rupture causing internal bleeding. Although the cause of high blood pressure has yet to be pinpointed, there are currently various reasons that can potentially cause high blood pressure. Additionally, there are some of those reasons that can leave a patient at high risk of developing high blood pressure.


Potential Causes of High Blood Pressure:


  • Stress
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Race
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use
  • Salty diet
  • Family history
  • Age

Essentially, in a patient with high blood pressure, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood, therefore making it a dangerous condition if not treated.


4 Blood Pressure Categories:


  • Normal Blood Pressure – lower than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Prehypertension – the top number is between 120 mm Hg and 129, and the bottom number is below 80 mm Hg.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension – the top number will range from 130 to 139 mm Hg with the bottom, and the bottom number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 Hypertension – the top number will range from 140 mm Hg or higher, and the bottom number is 90 mm Hg or higher.

These numbers become an emergency when they reach 180/120 at which point the patient needs emergency medical attention. Patients, especially those with a family history of high blood pressure, should be having their blood pressure checked at least every 2 years starting at 18 years of age if not each year at their yearly exam. However, it is important that patients understand how chiropractic along with standard medicine can work to avoid this situation and keep their blood pressure at a safe level.



Chiropractic for High Blood Pressure


            Typically, when a patient is diagnosed with high blood pressure they will be prescribed with medication that will help to get the symptoms under control and lower the blood pressure to a normal range. However, these medications, much like with other conditions that chiropractors treat, don’t treat the underlying cause of the high blood pressure making it potentially not as effective as one would hope. It is important as chiropractic providers that we perform a proper full patient history in order to uncover the source of the high blood pressure so that our patients can have the most success possible and hopefully not make this a lifelong condition. According to research, there is an area of the spine that can be adjusted that is suggested to lower blood pressure, and it involves adjusting the Atlas bone and the Axis.


The Atlas Bone:


  • Location – At the top of the spine just under the brainstem affecting a multitude of bodily functions, and when adjusted with the second vertebrae, the axis, it has been linked to lowering blood pressure.
  • Why adjust? – this affects the blood flow surrounding the base of the skull, and will open the arteries so that blood can flow freely through the area lowering blood pressure. It will allow the blood to also flow more freely to the heart allowing the heart to not work as heart to pump blood.

There are obviously multiple factors with chiropractic treatment that can aid in lowering blood pressure. It all involves adjusting the neck and lower back to stimulate the nervous system which will lower both the heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, stress unbeknownst to patients, plays a major role in so many conditions including high blood pressure. Mental stress can also disrupt the function of the central nervous system, and if not functioning properly, can cause high blood pressure as well. Lastly, pain. Any pain that the patient may be in can also lead to more mental and physical stress can release more stress hormones playing back into how stress negatively affects the body and blood pressure.


In fact, in 2020 a review was done, Chiropractic Care for Hypertension, and it found that chiropractic care for hypertension showed promising results, and more research should be done on the matter. Another case study, Special Chiropractic Adjustment Lowers Blood Pressure, showed after two groups were given either sham or real chiropractic adjustments, that there was a significant decrease in blood pressure within the real adjustment group. Any misalignments in the spine, as we know, can cause arteries to contract disrupting blood flow and causing high blood pressure which is what needs to be understood by patients.



Chiropractic Works for High Blood Pressure


            Even though chiropractic is much more mainstream than in years past, patients are still unsure about its benefits other than with things like back or neck pain. The main point to drive home is that essentially, spinal health will affect their overall health including and not limited to high blood pressure. If there are any vertebrae misaligned it can interfere with nerve communication coming from the brain causing an increase in blood pressure. A neurological assessment of our patients as well as a physical exam is essential if there is suspicion of high blood pressure issues, and will allow chiropractic providers to get to the root of the problem to hopefully bring their blood pressure numbers to a normal state. Any nutrition and lifestyle modifications offered can also make the world of difference for our high blood pressure patients. Between spinal manipulations, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications, chiropractic providers can lower blood pressure naturally from the root, and hopefully reduce or eliminate the need for medications.