Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Blood Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Study Review

Abnormalities of the cervical spine at the level of the Atlas vertebra, the C1 vertebra at the top of the spinal column, are associated with an inadequate supply of blood to the brainstem and increased blood pressure (BP). Manual correction of this mal-alignment has been associated with reduced blood pressure.

A preliminary study tested the theory that correcting mal-alignment of the Atlas vertebra would reduce and maintain a lower BP. Using a double blind (both doctor and patient don't know who receives which treatment), placebo-controlled design (one group gets the real procedure, the other receives a fake procedure) 50 patients participated in the trial at the same treatment center. Patients were divided into 2 groups: 26 patients who had never received medication for high blood pressure and 24 patients who had previously taken medication, but were no longer receiving it. All had early Stage 1 hypertention and were randomized to receive either a National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) procedure or a fake procedure. Patients received no antihypertensive medications during the 8-week study period.

The primary study point was a change in systolic and diastolic BP between the beginning of the study and the end of the study at week 8. The study participants had an average age of 52.7 years and consisted of 70% males.

At week 8, there were significant differences in systolic and diastolic BP among patients who received the NUCCA procedure. There was an average reduction of -17mm Hg of systolic pressure in patients who received the NUCCA procedure versus -3mm Hg in patients who did not. Diastolic BP had an average reduction of -10mm Hg in the NUCCA procedure group versus -2mm Hg in the group that did not receive the procedure. No adverse effects were recorded. The authors concluded that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of a two-drug combination therapy.

Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B.Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush University Hypertension Center, Chicago, IL, USA. gbakris@earthlink.net. Publised in the Journal of Human Hypertension. May 2007;21(5):341-342.

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