Archive for July, 2010

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Chiropractic And High Blood Pressure

********Dr. Price’s Comments********

The below article is a great article and video regarding the benefits of Chiropractic care for conditions other than Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, or Headaches.

The Central Nervous System (Consisting of the brain and Spinal Cord) are the central control of every function in the human body.  The brain actually controls and coordinates the function of every cell in the body.

If the brain is allowed to communicate with the body, without interference then the body can function at 100%.

This is not a new concept….Hipocrates who is known as “The Father of Medicine” is well known for stating “For the cause of all disease, first look to the spine.”

This article is a great example of how the power of regular chiropractic care, leading to a healthy nervous system, can change your life!

(Dr. Sean Price is a Chiropractor in Fort Walton Beach.  Feel free to visit his website at or call his office at 850-862-2224.)

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
Study Finds Special ‘Atlas Adjustment’ Lowers Blood Pressure
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 16, 2007 — A special chiropractic adjustment can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests.

“This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.

Eight weeks after undergoing the procedure, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who underwent a sham chiropractic adjustment. Because patients can’t feel the technique, they were unable to tell which group they were in.

X-rays showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas vertebra — the doughnut-like bone at the very top of the spine — with the spine in the treated patients, but not in the sham-treated patients.

Compared to the sham-treated patients, those who got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number).

None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.

“When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was way too good to be true,” Bakris says. “The statistician said, ‘I don’t even believe it.’ But we checked for everything, and there it was.”

Bakris and colleagues report their findings in the advance online issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.
Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension

The procedure calls for adjustment of the C-1 vertebra. It’s called the Atlas vertebra because it holds up the head, just as the titan Atlas holds up the world in Greek mythology.

Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, of the Chiropractic Health Center, in Chicago, is the 84-year-old chiropractor who performed all the procedures in the study. He calls the Atlas vertebra “the fuse box to the body.”

“At the base of the brain are two centers that control all the muscles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain — if the Atlas gets locked in a position as little as a half a millimeter out of line — it doesn’t cause any pain but it upsets these centers,” Dickholtz tells WebMD.

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 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 medications.

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 research.”

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 misalignment causes.

“On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment,” he says.

When To Use Heat vs. Ice For Pain Relief

One of the most common conversations that I have with a patient goes something like this:

Patient:  “I picked up my ____________ and felt something in my back go out.  I immediately put a heating pad on it and it seemed to feel better but then later the pain got worse.”

Doctor Price: “…ok, and then what did you do?”

Patient: “Well, I put the heating pad on it and it started feeling a little better, but by the time I went to bed I was in agony, the pain was up to a 10/10..”

Doctor Price:  “….wow, sounds miserable, then what happened?”

Patient: “Well, I slept on my heating pad, and I when this morning finally came around, I couldn’t move, and knew I needed to call you to come in.”

Does this conversation sound familiar to you?

Unfortunately, sometimes the right thing to do is counter-intuitive.

For example, whenever we have an acute injury, sometimes we feel like it would help to put heat on the area to “loosen it up.”

While this seems to make sense, more times than not, putting heat on an acute injury actually makes the pain worse.

So what do  you need to know, and when is it appropriate to use heat vs. ice?

Watch todays post to get all of the details….

An acute injury is an injury that has lasted for less than 72 hours.  The general rule of thumb is that for an acute injury, you want to use ice.  The best way to do this is to wrap an ice pack with a thin wet towel and place it on the painful area for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.

The reason that this works best is when you have an acute injury, the body responds by rushing blood and inflammatory agents to the injured part of the body, in an attempt to protect the injured joint by preventing more movement.

For example, we have all sprained an ankle before, and seen the ankle swell up almost immediately.   This is the body’s way of stopping you from running or walkin on the ankle so that it cannot be injured further.

So the point of the ice is to help limit that inflammation.

After an injury has been present for 72 hours, and has not resolved itself, then we move into a “chronic injury.”  A chronic injury is anything from 72 hours on….

When dealing with a chronic injury, I usually recommend to patients that they begin with contrast therapy, in which they will put ice on for 15 minutes immediately followed by heat.  This will help maintain any inflammation but also allow the blood flow to be returned to the joint without an over inflammatory response.

After the patient has determined that they will have a good response to the heat without an increase in pain, then the patient can move into using only heat in 15 minute increments.

It is never recommended that the patient sleep on a heating pad.  Not only can it be a fire hazard if it is electric, but also you risk burning yourself or causing an overinflammatory response to occur again.

The important thing to remember is that by keeping your spine in line and your nervous system functioning through regular spinal adjustments, and making sure that your body is not in an inflammatory state by following a good nutrition program, you give your body the best chance of avoiding injury in the first place.

If you find yourself injured, contact us immediately to make sure what the right steps are to follow.  If you follow the guidelines above, as a general rule, you will be doing the right thing, but remember, everyone is different, so always contact either our office or your primary care physician before you apply any therapy.

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