Newsletter Archives > ChiroPlanet.com Monthly Health Newsletter: May 2015 Health Newsletter

May 2015 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Chiropractic For Tension Headaches
» Research Calls for Conservative Treatments Before Painkillers for Low-Back Pain
» Mediterranean Diets With Olive Oil and/or Nuts Improve Brain Health

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

March 16, 2007 -- A special chiropractic adjustment can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests.

"This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination," study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. "And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems," adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.

Eight weeks after undergoing the procedure, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who underwent a sham chiropractic adjustment. Because patients can't feel the technique, they were unable to tell which group they were in.

X-rays showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas vertebra -- the doughnut-like bone at the very top of the spine -- with the spine in the treated patients, but not in the sham-treated patients.

Compared to the sham-treated patients, those who got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number).

None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.

"When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn't believe it. It was way too good to be true," Bakris says. "The statistician said, 'I don't even believe it.' But we checked for everything, and there it was."

Bakris and colleagues report their findings in the advance online issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension

The procedure calls for adjustment of the C-1 vertebra. It's called the Atlas vertebra because it holds up the head, just as the titan Atlas holds up the world in Greek mythology.

Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, of the Chiropractic Health Center, in Chicago, is the 84-year-old chiropractor who performed all the procedures in the study. He calls the Atlas vertebra "the fuse box to the body."

"At the base of the brain are two centers that control all the muscles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain -- if the Atlas gets locked in a position as little as a half a millimeter out of line -- it doesn't cause any pain but it upsets these centers," Dickholtz tells WebMD.

The subtle adjustment is practiced by the very small subgroup of chiropractors certified in National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) techniques. The procedure employs precise measurements to determine a patient's Atlas vertebra alignment. If realignment is deemed necessary, the chiropractor uses his or her hands to gently manipulate the vertebra.

"We are not doctors. We are spinal engineers," Dickholtz says. "We use mathematics, geometry, and physics to learn how to slide everything back into place."

What does this have to do with high blood pressure pressure?

Bakris notes that some researchers have suggested that injury to the Atlas vertebra can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Dickholtz thinks the misaligned Atlas triggers release of signals that make the arteries contract. Whether the procedure actually fixes such injuries is unknown, Bakris says.

Bakris began the study after a fellow doctor told him that something strange was happening in his family practice. The doctor had been sending some of his patients to a chiropractor. Some of these patients had high blood pressure. 

Yet after seeing the chiropractor, the patients' blood pressure had normalized -- and a few of them were able to stop taking their blood pressure medications.

So Bakris, then at Rush University, designed the pilot study with 50 patients. He's now organizing a much bigger clinical trial.

"Is it going to be for everybody with high blood pressure? No," Bakris says. "We clearly need to identify those who can benefit. It is pretty clear that some kind of head or neck trauma early in life is related to this. This is really a work in progress. It is certainly in the early stages of research."

Dickholtz has been teaching, practicing, and studying the NUCCA technique for 50 years. He says high blood pressure is far from the only thing an Atlas misalignment causes.

"On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment," he says.

 

 

Author: www.WebMD.com Health News by Daniel J. DeNoon
Source: Rush University Hypertension Center Chicago IL
Copyright: Journal Of Human Hypertension 3


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Chiropractic For Tension Headaches

A good portion of those seeking chiropractic care do so for the relief from headaches. Of all the different types of headache, tension headaches are the most common representing approximately 60% of all headaches. Tension headaches are caused by the sustained contraction of the muscles in the neck and head region. Sufferers experience a constant tight or pressure sensation with mild to moderate pain, generally feeling like a tight band is wrapping around the head, lasting from hours to days. According to a new Danish study, tension headache sufferers exhibit neck and shoulder strength up to 26% weaker than in non-sufferers. Also found in those with tension headaches were muscle imbalances between sets of muscles that hold the head straight. Researchers weren’t sure whether the measured muscle weaknesses and imbalances were the result of the tension headaches or a cause of them. The good news is that most chiropractors have great success treating tension headaches. Biomechanical imbalances of the cervical and upper thoracic spine, and, muscle weakness and dysfunction are all things most chiropractors evaluate when treating tension headaches. Chiropractic adjustments along with stretching and strengthening exercises are commonly utilized with much success. If you believe you’re suffering from tension headaches, call your local chiropractor today!

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: 
Cephalalgia, online April 1, 2015.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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Research Calls for Conservative Treatments Before Painkillers for Low-Back Pain

Arlington, Va. – The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), in response to recent research calling into question the efficacy of acetaminophen in the management of spinal pain, strongly encourages patients and healthcare providers to consider the benefits of a conservative approach to back pain. According to the British Medical Journal study, the widely used painkiller is ineffective against low-back pain and offers only "minimal short-term benefit" for people with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Similar conclusions were reached in a study published in The Lancet in July 2014, that acetaminophen "does not ease low-back pain."
 
"People need complete information about their treatment options," said ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC. "Research supports the use of more conservative treatments as a first-line defense against pain. This sensible approach not only reduces healthcare costs, but may also help some patients avoid riskier treatments altogether."
 
A "conservative care first" approach to health care encourages emphasis on more cost-effective and safer approaches over potentially addictive medications for pain management and health enhancement. Conservative management of painful conditions may include chiropractic manipulation combined with exercise and stretching prior to moving on to high-risk procedures. Chiropractic physicians are the highest-rated healthcare practitioners for low-back pain treatments due to their patient-centered, whole-person approach that provides greater interaction and communication for appropriate diagnosis and development of more cost-effective treatment plans.
 
"There are effective, more conservative treatments that help many patients lessen reliance on addictive painkillers and get back to their normal lives and activities," said Dr. Hamm. "The services provided by chiropractic physicians are not only clinically effective but also cost-effective, so taking a more conservative approach at the onset of low-back pain can also potentially save both patients and the healthcare system money down the line."
 
Numerous recent studies have clearly shown the dangerous overreliance in the United States on prescription painkillers. This has tremendously increased Americans’ risk for overuse, and abuse of these drugs if taken for long periods, leading to more than 17,000 related deaths in 2010 (more than heroin and cocaine combined). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the abuse of prescription pain medications an "epidemic."

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: Acatoday.org, online April 10, 2015.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2015


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Mediterranean Diets With Olive Oil and/or Nuts Improve Brain Health

Looking to enhance your brain function and improve memory? New research out of Barcelona, Spain indicates a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and/or mixed nuts can do just that. Researchers randomly assigned 447 healthy aging individuals (average age 67) who were considered at high risk for a cardiovascular complication to 3 different dietary groups - A Mediterranean diet group supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (1 liter per week), a Mediterranean diet group supplemented with mixed nuts (30 grams per day), or a control diet group where participants were advised to reduce dietary fat. All participants received cognitive function tests at the beginning of the study, and those remaining in the study (approximately 75%) after approximately 4 years received the testing again. In general, participants consuming the low-fat control diet experienced a significant decrease in memory and cognitive function. Conversely, participants consuming the Mediterranean diet with nuts experienced significant improvements in memory, while those adding extra virgin olive oil experienced significantly better cognitive function. Both nuts and olive oil contain oleic acid which is one of the most common fats making up the brain which is 70% fat and is dependent upon getting its nourishment from the foods we eat. The antioxidant-rich foods in Mediterranean diets as well as nuts and olive oil provide nourishment to the brain and appear to help protect against overall brain health and cognitive decline.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, online May 11, 2015.

Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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