Atlas Chiropractic Adjustments to Reduce Hypertension

An article appeared on Web MD in March 2007 about a study which shows some rather impressive results in the reduction of hypertension. The article was specifically about an upper cervical chiropractic procedure called NUCCA. NUCCA is one of a handful of upper cervical chiropractic adjusting procedures that has arisen from the efforts of Dr. John Grostic.

Dr. Grostic found in his studies that lower forces, not higher ones, are best suited for adjusting the upper cervical spine. (As my mentor, Dr. Roy Sweat used to say “light is right.”) After Grostic’s death, others thought that there might be even better ways to correct atlas misalignments. The NUCCA and Atlas Orthogonal techniques (developed by Dr. Roy Sweat of the Sweat Institute in Atlanta, Georgia) were eventually developed by the doctors who were originally chosen by Dr. Grostic to teach the Grostic method. The two techniques have evolved into what they are today.

Since high blood pressure is such a dangerous symptom of over-all health problems and a predictor of mortality, don’t you think there should have been a huge headline about this study somewhere?

If Pfizer, Merck, or GSK had developed a new drug, the media would be climbing over themselves to print the article first, thereby saving the world. Who cares about side-effects when you have a gargantuan spin machine like the pharmaceutical industry?

There are no negative side-effects from upper cervical chiropractic adjustments, especially those of the light-force variety. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. The whole chiropractic profession can boast a nearly identical number to describe the size of its spin-machine.

The Atlas is the first cervical vertebra under the skull or Occiput. It is also called C1. The atlas vertebra gets its name from Greek mythology. Atlas was the name of the titan who supposedly balanced the world on his shoulders. Likewise, this particular vertebra balances your world on your shoulders. Because it forms a ring around the spinal cord (actually the brain stem) it has the potential to irritate or stimulate many nerves around the cord. Many different parts of the body can be affected by its improper alignment.

With respect to this article, hypertension can be caused by irritation to certain nerve control centers which control muscle activity, by atlas misalignment. The arterial walls are lined with smooth muscle fibers which contract and relax according to the signals provided by the brain stem, based on input which it receives from various other centers of the body. Aberrant signals telling the arteries not to relax or to contract would be the cause of this neurologically produced hypertension. This is similar to the way cervicogenic headaches and migraines can be caused; both of which upper cervical chiropractic can prove beneficial.

This research was done by George Bakris, MD, director of the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago and by Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, Chiropractic Health Center, Chicago. It was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, advance online publication on March 2, 2007.

Interestingly, the research began as a result of a family practice doctor telling Bakris that something strange was happening with some of his patients. He had been sending some of his patients to a chiropractor for unrelated conditions. Some had high blood pressure and they were coming back to him with normalized blood pressure. Some of them were even able to come off their blood pressure medications altogether.

Related Articles: Search WebMD for the article on hypertension and chiropractic. Also search for the Pub Med version of this research.

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