9 May 2015
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Research Report Chiropractic Adjustment & High Blood Pressure ABC News Good Morning America

GMA on call! Millions of Americans take medication to lower their blood pressure but new research suggests there may be a better solution. The idea is that some people may be able to toss their pills and visit a chiropractor instead. So how does it work? And is this method right for everyone?

One in three adults suffer from high blood pressure. Nobody can say for sure what makes it rise but now a new medical study is cautiously suggesting an unusual way to bring it down. Realign the spine.

“If the spine is misaligned compact all types of things, all types of diseases conditions.” Dr Marshall Dickholtz Jr. A professional chiropractor stated.

The idea is that the C1 Vertebra located at the top of the spine 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. Today Snyman suffer from neck pain.

X-ray showed her C1 out of alignment. A special chiropractic adjustment lower the pain and her blood pressure at the same time.

“My blood pressure dropped tremendously” Snyman said after experiencing chiropractic.

Could there be a connection?

Dr. George Bakris explained, “We designed a double-blind steady to really look and see if in fact this procedure was affecting blood pressure.”

25 patients got the special adjustment, 25 others a fake one. The once 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 added.

But before you run out and get your neck adjusted you should know that only a handful chiropractors are qualified to do this kind of thing. The study is still being reviewed and though blood pressure was still down eight weeks later nobody can say for sure how long the adjustments will last.

I want to thank our fabulous chicago station WLS for all their help on this story. Now for more the possible connection between your spine and your blood pressure, our medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson joins us now from Boston. So Tim, tell me what do you think the study?

“Well it’s obviously very intriguing, the idea that a simple manipulation of the neck might result in a very significant lower your blood pressure. There obvious limitations this of study. Only 50 patients,only for 25 treated, only eight-week follow-up, a very special kind of chiropractic training required but it certainly intriguing and deserves for the study and in fact a larger study is now underway.” Dr. Johnson said.

And so tell us how in theory, how is this work? Realigning the neck, the spine.

Dr. Johnson’s answer, “Well the truth is we really don’t know but that vertebra at the top of the neck is in a very critical area where the brain stem. The lower part of the brain is involved with the regulation of blood pressure so it’s theoretically imaginable that changing the anatomy that area might have some effect on the regulation of blood pressure.”

So people at home, and you’ll start to feel around the back of their neck right now saying, so how do you know if it’s an alignment?

“Well aside from having pain that might bring you to a doctor or to a chiropractor you really wouldn’t know unless you get an xray and so the the intriguing question with further study that verifies that this might be a possibility will be how do we suggest which people go and get their necks X-rayed and maybe have this kind of manipulation that a lot to sort out? but I’m telling you the medical world will pay attention to this because of the very significant drop in blood pressure and eventually I think we’ll sort out which people should go and have their next X-ray.” Dr. Johnson’s added.

That’s huge because I was automatically, when I heard about this yesterday my mother has battle with high blood pressure I know that she has a little bit of curvature of the spine and wanting to know of course she is 84, so you have to know if this is right for each particular personal, and also how long does it actually last? You just pass the pills? or you have to do so often?

Dr. Johnson’s answer, “We don’t know that these people had just one manipulation and eight weeks later their pressure was still down how long that will last is what will be required for further study. So lot about answering questions but, I’m telling you this catches our attention because of the significant drop in blood pressure it absolutely deserves more study.”

And it’s help knowing you are a doctor as you have always said that make sure you check with your family doctor and ask about this and see what’s right for you?

“Yeah I wouldn’t consider the chiropractor that come now the primary care doctor for people high blood pressure. But should absolutely go to their own doctor, but in talking with their doctor if there having neck problems they might want to entertain the idea looking at this, especially will get more data to sort it out.”

All right Tim thanks for the house call this morning, certainly do appreciate it. Have a good day.

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