Love Your Heart with Chiropractic Care
February is celebrated world-wide as Heart Month. While much attention is placed on love, Valentine's Day, and my favorite, dark chocolate (!), the medical community turns the focus to much needed information on physical heart health. Media releases feature diet, exercise and prescription medications as topics for discussion; however, research indications also point to certain chiropractic procedures that could help to improve the overall health of the heart. Adjustments to the spine may lower blood pressure in individuals suffering from hypertension and result in a healthier heart rate.
Chiropractic Neck Adjustments Can Reduce High Blood Pressure
In a 2007 study conducted by the Dept. of Preventive Medicine at Rush Univ., realignment of the atlas vertebrae, also known as the C1 vertebrae of the cervical spine in the neck, was shown to be able to help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure. There appears to be a link between compression of the vertebral artery and an unhealthy elevation in blood pressure. By realigning the C1 vertebrae in the neck, restriction along the arterial wall is relieved and you may experience a decrease in both blood pressure readings, assisting the body whether it is active at play, work or at rest.
Health Studies Report Chiropractic Adjustments Help Regulate Heart Rate
There are also study indications that adjustments to the cervical spine, which are the seven vertebrae found in the neck, may help lower your heart rate. There are eight pairs of cervical nerves located within this neck region of the spine. The Upper Cervical Health Centers of America believe that interferences within these nerves can cause many health conditions, including those that affect the heart. When the cervical spine is placed in alignment, the nervous system is allowed to better communicate with the rest of the body. In relation to the heart, the improved communication can help bring your heart rate to a healthy level.
Although more research is needed to validate the above results, it appears that upper cervical chiropractic manipulation holds promise as an additional tool in the treatment of high blood pressure.
My Recommendations for Heart Health
Lack of Neck Pain Does Not Mean There is Correct Alignment
My recommendations for complete heart health include regular examinations of the neck for the possibility of any nerve-heart interferences. I have witnessed, in my nearly 30 years of practice, that neither neck pain nor heart pain necessarily indicates whether a problem exists that may be assisted through chiropractic care. Fortunately, I get the chance to educate and assist patients with this prolific health issue when patients come into the office for help with pain they are experiencing. Unfortunately, many others go uneducated and unprotected because they feel no pain, or because they ignore the neck/nerve/heart connection. A thorough exam has often alerted us to problems such as restricted range of motion in the neck, or the inability to look over your shoulder easily, which may point to those nerve/neck/heart conditions that chiropractic care may assist in correcting or preventing.
Treating Newborns to Golden-Agers
I feel everyone--from newborns to Golden-Agers--deserves a thorough chiropractic exam to rule out any current or potential heart problems that may be addressed and relieved - before conditions arise. And if you know that a heart condition, or blood pressure/pulse irregularity or problem already exists, you deserve to find out if chiropractic cervical care can be another regular tool in your arsenal for gaining, or retaining, good heart health.
My Best Advice
During your office visit, I'll be sure to remind you of the usual recommendations for proper exercise, diet and nutritional supplementation for optimum heart health. You'll get this advice from many sources, as well, but the advice on chiropractic care and heart health will most likely come only from me this February--and it is as rare, unique, and precious, as the most delicious dark chocolate!!