Elevated blood pressure is one of the leading preventable risk factors for mortality. Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from it, and its causes are diverse.
In this article, we will look into one surprising cause of hypertension, and one convenient, non-invasive treatment — chiropractic treatment!
What are the Two Types of Blood Pressure?
Many people use digital sphygmomanometers or blood pressure monitors to keep track of their blood pressure levels. However, its measures remain cryptic for some patients. So, what’s the meaning of those numbers? The first two values are linked to the two types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic.
- The top reading indicates systolic blood pressure: With each beat, the heart pumps blood into the arteries. This force creates pressure on the blood vessels, called systolic blood pressure. Since the force needed for pumping blood throughout the entire body is considerable, systolic blood pressure is naturally higher.
- The bottom reading represents diastolic blood pressure: After each beat, the heart relaxes, but the pressure in the arteries remains as the heart fills with oxygen-rich blood. Diastolic blood pressure is naturally lower than the systolic type.
Interpretation is the next step toward ascertaining your blood pressure levels:
- Systolic blood pressure: normal levels (<120 mm Hg); elevated (120-129 mm Hg), stage 1 high blood pressure or hypertension (130-139 mm Hg); stage 2 high blood pressure (>140 mm Hg); hypertensive crisis (>180 mm Hg; in such cases, we strongly encourage calling 911).
- Diastolic blood pressure: normal levels (<80 mm Hg); stage 1 high blood pressure (80-89 mm Hg); stage 2 high blood pressure (>90 mm Hg); hypertensive crisis (>120 mm Hg; call 911).
Why High Blood Pressure Is Dangerous
Failure to supervise and treat hypertension can lead to various life-threatening conditions, starting from vascular diseases, going through blood circulation blockage, and leading to organ failure:
- Heart attack
- Blindness or vision impairment
Hypertensive patients should seek medical treatment according to the specific cause of their hypertension. Some patients only require dietary changes, while others may need more complex treatment. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment suitable for every hypertensive patient.
Can Cervical Spondylosis Raise Your Blood Pressure?
Cervical spondylosis is a condition that occurs in the higher spinal region (i.e., cervical region) due to disk degeneration. Frequently, disk degeneration occurs at the level of the C-1 vertebra, also called the Atlas vertebra. Its name comes from Greek mythology — Atlas is the giant holding the world upon his shoulders.
The Atlas vertebra is the base upon which our head sits. Specific brain centers responsible for muscle control are found in the proximity of the Atlas vertebra. Patients suffering from Atlas misalignment (i.e., the C-1 vertebra being slightly out of place), even if they don’t report any neck pain, are at risk of developing symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and hypertension.
Misaligned vertebrae in the upper cervical region, especially Atlas misalignment, frequently come with vertigo or dizziness. Researchers have linked these symptoms to lower blood flow to the posterior part of the brain (i.e., vertebrobasilar insufficiency).
Our body sometimes tries to compensate for this burdensome insufficiency by increasing the heart’s pumping force. Such is one cause of hypertension in patients with cervical spondylosis. A possible interpretation links hypertension to sympathetic nerve fiber stimulation, identified in patients suffering from C-1 vertebra misalignment.
Can Chiropractic Care Lower High Blood Pressure?
Recent clinical research shows that Atlas realignment (i.e., chiropractic adjustment) efficiently reduces blood pressure!
Atlas Adjustments for Lower Blood Pressure
Atlas adjustments consist of realigning the C-1 vertebra. Atlas misalignment is pain-free in many cases, which sometimes makes its diagnosis difficult and puzzling. As we’ve already outlined, one pain-free symptom of cervical spondylosis is hypertension.
During Atlas adjustments, chiropractors use their hands to gently manipulate the troublesome vertebra to get it back into its designated place.
The benefits of chiropractic techniques for Atlas realignment have been proved in the case of hypertensive patients. Thus, such a procedure can be an efficient alternative treatment plan to blood pressure-lowering drugs.
Researchers witnessed that, following a chiropractic adjustment, previously hypertensive patients had an average 14 mm Hg more significant drop in systolic blood pressure and an average 8 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure. In addition, there was no need for blood pressure medications because patients’ blood pressure remained between healthy boundaries.
During a clinical study, two groups of hypertensive patients suffering from Atlas misalignment were chosen and separated. One group received a chiropractic adjustment; the other underwent an indistinguishable “sham intervention.” The results for the first group are truly encouraging: blood pressure reduction following chiropractic Atlas adjustment is similar to the one brought by two blood pressure-lowering pills and drugs taken at once.
Chiropractic Care is a Non-Invasive Path for Hypertensive Patients
Fusion or other invasive treatments for cervical spondylosis are effective, but their invasive nature comes with some risks. However, chiropractic care is a non-invasive, medication-free approach to Atlas realignment and lowering high blood pressure induced by cervical spondylosis!
Dealing With Hypertension? Bergen Chiropractic Can Help!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- “Blood Pressure Chart & Numbers (Normal Range, Systolic, Diastolic).” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-and-systolic-blood-pressure-know-your-numbers. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.
- Peng, Baogan, et al. “Cervical Spondylosis and Hypertension: A Clinical Study of 2 Cases.” Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4602471/. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.
- “High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.