Chiropractic and Hypertension
The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study with a review of pertinent literature on March 6, 2017, documenting the positive effect chiropractic has on people with hypertension. The study defines hypertension as a systolic blood pressure of greater than 140 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg.
Treatment of hypertension is one of the most expensive components of medical care in the U.S., costing a total of $50 billion in the year 2009. Upwards of 78 million Americans are being treated for hypertension. According to the study, it is estimated that by the year 2030, the cost as a result of hypertension and related illness will reach $343 billion per year. It is estimated that 30.5% of men and 28.5% of women are hypertensive.
Hypertension itself is not the major concern. Of more concern are the health issues that come from long term hypertension which can be serious or even deadly. In reporting data on years of life lost due to related condition from hypertension, the study states, "...related diseases in 2010 was estimated at: 7.2 million as a result of ischemic heart disease, 1.9 million as a result of stroke, and 2.2 million as a result of the combination of chronic kidney disease, other cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, and hypertensive heart disease."
In this case, a 50-year-old man went to the chiropractor with no health complaint other than hypertension. He had been diagnosed with hypertension 24 years prior. His only other history concern was resolved back and neck pain 5 years earlier. He was previously taking a hypertensive medication which he self-discontinued due to his observation that it was not working. He had previously been under chiropractic care and was seeking care on this occasion for wellness purposes.
A chiropractic and general examination was performed on the man. At the time of the examination, his blood pressure measured 155/100 mm Hg. Additional findings of the examination showed a restricted cervical range of motion. Thermography and spinal palpation also showed spinal areas of concern that led to the diagnosis of multiple subluxation in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.
The man began receiving chiropractic adjustments at the rate of one per week. Blood pressure was measured before and after the chiropractic adjustments to record any changes. Palpation and thermography were also performed regularly to access progress of care.
The study reports that there was an average 8.39 mm Hg drop in systolic and 3.56 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure measured pre- and post-adjustment over the course of the chiropractic care.
The study authors reported on the literature available on the subject of blood pressure related to chiropractic and related care. They found that there were 40 articles in the current literature under the umbrella of chiropractic adjustments, spinal manipulative therapy, and osteopathic manipulation’s effects on blood pressure. They point out that the variety of research on chiropractic and blood pressure makes it difficult to make specific statements related to the type of chiropractic care best suited to affect blood pressure. However, they were able to conclude that "Results from these studies are largely varied as well with studies suggesting the chiropractic as effective in managing hypertension as the use of a two-drug combination therapy."