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

September 2015 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort
» Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.
» Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

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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How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort

A recent report studied how using foam pillows of three different heights affected the comfort and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles of participants. The study was performed by a team of therapists and researchers in the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in São Paulo, Brazil. Performed in 2014 and published in 2015, the study revealed the associations among pillow height, EMG activity, and perceived comfort. Twenty-one asymptomatic adults were observed using three different foam pillows of 5 cm, 10 cm and 14 cm, or approximately 2 inches, 4 inches and 5 1/2 inches. Study participants rated their comfort using a 100-mm visual analog scale, while researchers calculated EMG activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles, called the sternocleidomastoid and upper and middle trapezius muscles. Participants considered height 1 (approximately 2 inches) to be the least comfortable and height 2 (approximately 4 inches) the most comfortable. In addition, all muscle groups showed statistical differences in EMG activity between heights 1 and 2, but not between heights 2 and 3. Individuals who prefer sleeping with a flat pillow may want to think twice, as a four-inch pillow may be the best choice for perceived comfort and back and neck support.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: JMPT. Volume 38, Issue 6, Pages 375-381.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.

Adult bicycling injuries increased sharply between 1998 and 2013, according to a new study that also reveals the increase is largely among cyclists over age 45. Bicycling is a popular among people of all ages for sport or commuting, but a growing number of adults embrace cycling as a low-impact exercise. The survey comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data that includes bicycle-related injuries of those over age 18. Between 1998-1999, there were an estimated 96 bicycle-related injuries and about 5 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Between 2012-2013, however, those numbers rose to 123 injuries and about 11 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Researchers further examining the data discovered the correlation between injuries and age. In 1998, 23% of reported injuries were in riders over age 45. In 2012, this figure rose to 42% of injuries. Compared to younger individuals, older riders are more likely to be hurt in crashes or collisions. The study found that extremity injuries are less common, but head and torso injuries have risen. These findings demonstrate the importance of wearing appropriate safety gear as well as the need for U.S. cities and communities to support better bicycle riding infrastructures.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: 
JAMA, online September 1, 2015.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

A targeted study by researchers at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea has found that getting too much or too little sleep can contribute to the "hardening" of arteries. This condition, caused by calcium buildup in the arteries, can be an early warning sign of heart disease or lead to heart attacks. The study involved over 47,000 men and women, with an average age of 42, who completed a sleep questionnaire and underwent a series of tests. These tests measured arterial stiffness and evaluated calcium and plaque deposits in arteries. The average duration of sleep among participants was 6.4 hours per night. Researchers categorized those who slept five hours or less each night as "short" sleepers, and those who slept nine hours or more each night as "long" sleepers. The study found that poor sleep quality can lead to stiffer arteries whether an individual sleeps too few or too many hours. Researchers subsequently determined that those who slept an average of seven hours per night and reported good sleep quality had the lowest levels of vascular disease.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, online September 10, 2015.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2015


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