Study: Chiropractic Adjustment Could Lower Blood Pressure - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/26/07-Tyler

Study: Chiropractic Adjustment Could Lower Blood Pressure

Millions of Americans take medication to lower their blood pressure, but new research suggests there may be a more natural solution, tossing those pills and visiting a chiropractor instead. So how would it work?  And is this method right for everyone? A Tyler chiropractor weighs in.

A staggering one in three adults suffers from high blood pressure. Nobody can say for sure what makes it go up, but now a new medical study is suggesting a different way to bring it down: realign the spine.

"If the spine is not aligned properly then it won't function properly , the nerves that go to all the organs won't function properly," says chiropractor Dr. Stacy Godsey with Pro-Health Chiropractic in Tyler.

He explains the C-1 vertebra, the most important vertebra in the spine, is located at the top. It operates like a fuse box in the body.  When twisted, it can pinch arteries and nerves at the base of the neck, not only causing discomfort, but affecting blood flow, too.

"By adjusting C-1, it sends a signal to the brain stem, the medulla, which sends another signal to the heart, which lowers cardiac output," Dr. Godsey says.

And therefore, lowers blood pressure. Denise Nieman suffered from neck pain x-rays showed her C-1 out of alignment. A special chiropractic adjustment not only lowered the pain but her blood pressure too.

"My blood pressure dropped tremendously," Denise says.

So could there be a connection? Dr. George Bakris with the University of Chicago Medical Center says "yes."

"We set up a double blind study to really look and see if in fact this procedure was effecting high blood pressure."

Twenty-five patients got the special adjustment and twenty-five others got a fake one.  The ones who got the real thing saw their blood pressure drop an average of 17 points, a dip that usually takes two blood pressure medications to achieve.

"So pretty significant," Dr. Bakris says.

Dr. Godsey says if you have high blood pressure and it's caused by a mis-aligned C-1 vertebra, he can adjust it, but..."it takes multiple visits for this, you couldn't just do this in one day," he explains.

And it's not for everybody.  While the study is still investigational, the results could have you trading in your pills for a doctor's pair of hands . After the study, patients noticed their blood pressure was still down eight weeks later. But nobody can say for sure how long the adjustments will last.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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