Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
Study Finds Special 'Atlas Adjustment' Lowers Blood Pressure
WebMD News Archive
Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension continued...
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
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
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
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
"On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a
tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment," he says.