Most individuals believe that cardiovascular disease can only be mitigated through diet, exercise and keeping blood cholesterol and blood pressure in check, as well as getting a sound sleep and banning cigarettes. All of these disciplines are standard. Yet, studies have revealed that chiropractic care may have a more dominant impact on lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease than previously thought. It is exciting to read about studies showing that cardiovascular disease may take a dive with chiropractic care.
Can regular adjustments in the chiropractor’s office really help someone maintain cardiovascular wellness? Studies are indicating yes.
Minor dysfunctions in spinal alignment may be a significant factor in a number of disorders according to researchers. Such imbalances can aggravate a person’s nervous system and lead to a variety of different dysfunctions. According to Dr. Nate Blume, “The body’s homeostatic mechanism is thrown off.”
Blume helped direct a study that focused on two areas: the relation between blood pressure, and heart rates. Chiropractic research from other doctors have supported his findings.
One study conducted at a respected chiropractic college found that adjustments to patients helped lower average heart rates for those who had above average heart rates. The main reason thought to be the basis for this finding is that chiropractic care is therapeutic for the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, which can directly affect heart rate variability. Researchers have proposed that back pain, which chiropractic adjustments relieve, may have caused a raise in heart rates. Stress was probably another factor. Pain leads to higher stress, which in turn can cause an elevated heart rate. Thus, researchers have suggested that chiropractic intervention went right to the cause of the problem.
A related study investigated the connection between “systolic and diastolic blood pressure” and anxiety levels, and quantified the changes after subjects received chiropractic care. Results showed a lowering in not only blood pressure, but also anxiety, again boosting hope that cardiovascular disease may take a dive with chiropractic care.
In a more recent case study, a man at age 54 pursued chiropractic care and his lipid panel normalized following the recommended regime of the health program he followed. Only chiropractic care – not traditional care – was applied in his treatment. The man first came seeking care for dyslipidemia. He had a past history of myocardial infarction and angioplasty. His lipid panel showed abnormal levels of cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides. Additional complaints included emotional instability, constipation, and stiff muscles in his neck causing pain. He was stressed in his job and at home, and was suffering from depression.
The chiropractor evaluated him and found “vertebral subluxations” in three supporting spinal functions. As a result of ongoing chiropractic care, the man’s cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides had all improved and he reported an improvement in his emotional and cognitive functions. The authors are hoping to expand studies like these and quantify their results.
Dr. Matthew McCoy, published and conducted the above case study. He is both a chiropractor and public health researcher, and he stated that all of these findings make sense:
If you damage or compress or otherwise interfere with the neurological structures in the spine this can have far-reaching implications on the functioning of the body. We are finding that correcting the misalignments or abnormal motion associated with these spinal problems reduces the nerve interference.
McCoy explained that lowering nerve interference is the key to reducing problems related to cardiovascular disease, which is what the man in the case study experienced.
Regular procedures for patients with heart disease include a prescriptions for statins. This medication could cause potentially harmful side effects and does not necessarily extend the life span of a person.
Eric Zielinski, another author in the case study, said that the only real proven method in preventing cardiovascular disease is to instill healthy lifestyle habits:
Finding the cause of the cardiovascular disease and reducing those risks is a much better strategy.
Instead of limiting chiropractic care to injury therapy and prevention, it is important people learn how it can benefit their entire nervous system, which can potentially have a therapeutic affect on cardiovascular health. All of these studies support the therapeutic and medical benefits of chiropractic care and propose that it may be a factor in making cardiovascular disease take a dive.
By Danelle Cheney