What is Hypertension?
As the heart pumps blood out to the body, pressure is exerted outward on the artery walls. This pressure is measured with two numbers. The large number is systolic and the lower number is diastolic. Systolic around 115-125 is normal but over 140 is high. Diastolic around 80 is normal but over 90 is high.
Commonly referred to as “high blood pressure,” hypertension is painless and therefore often referred to as the “silent killer.” It can affect the brain, heart, kidneys and other organs leading to an increased risk for strokes, heart attack, kidney failure, and ultimately death.
Why is it important?
The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease and about ⅓ of all Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure). For this reason, high blood pressure is a great concern among physicians. Medical treatment for hypertension consists of diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, etc.
These drugs have been clinically proven to force blood pressure down, but they don’t address the cause of why it is high in the first place. I mean who’s ever heard of a deficiency of a Beta-blocker? And with all those medications, heart disease is STILL the leading cause of death. This is true even though the US consumes more drugs than any other country in the world.
Medical Studies Have Shown NUCCA Can Help Treat Hypertension
Back in the 1990’s a relationship was forming between a NUCCA chiropractor and a family physician. The family physician had noticed many positive side effects in his patients that visited this particular chiropractor. In 2005 they decided to do some research together and approached the National Institute of Health (NIH) for funding to further study the beneficial effects of NUCCA on TMJ problems. The NIH quickly shut them down saying in essence “no one cares about TMJ, why don’t you study something important like blood pressure?” So they did. By October of 2007, NUCCA stunned the medical world with a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension. This study shows how important the upper cervical spine and the brain stem are with regards to blood pressure.
In this study, 50 people with hypertension were divided into 2 groups. One group got a real NUCCA correction (adjustment) to the Occipito-Atlantal-Axial joints just under the skull. The actual correction is so light, that it could be faked. The second group was then the control group and received a faked correction (adjustment). Both groups had only one visit to the chiropractor’s office and were then tracked for 8 weeks. The control group saw little to no improvement, but the group that received the real NUCCA correction saw their blood pressure drop by an average of 17 points on the systolic measurement. That is equivalent to two medications taken simultaneously, but with only positive side-effects (less back pain, less headaches, etc).
Consider what it would be like to receive an occasional NUCCA chiropractic correction to help regulate blood pressure instead of taking Lisinopril and its common side effect of a dry throat which drives your wife nuts with a constant little cough 1,000 times throughout the day. This is the difference between true health care and the current medical standard of disease management.
How does NUCCA help lower blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured by the brain using baroreceptors found in the bifurcation (split) of the Carotid arteries going up through the neck. The common carotid splits into the internal and external branches on the way to the brain and head. In the middle of this split is where the Glossopharyngeal nerve has pressure sensing baroreceptors embedded into the artery wall. This nerve then synapses (connects) in part of the brainstem called the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius (NTS) located in the medulla. The NTS has an influence over the part of the brain that determines blood pressure. If there is a misalignment of Atlas/C1 (top of the neck), it can cause a slight ischemia (lack of blood flow) in this part of the brain.. This, in essence, makes the brain register the blood pressure as too low and raises it accordingly. As such, any treatment to alleviate hypertension that does not address Atlas is just a Band-Aid. However, with a proper NUCCA correction, the Atlas can be adjusted and aligned to make sure the correct signals pass to the brain for proper registering of blood pressure – thus potentially lowering a patient’s blood pressure.
Most people have a misalignment of Atlas and just don’t know it. The consequences of a misalignment can vary and are not limited to blood pressure. But, someone with hypertension should definitely be checked by a NUCCA, or other Upper Cervical trained chiropractic specialist. Secondarily, most of the time someone with a misalignment of Atlas will go on to develop neck pain, headaches, low back pain, etc. which pain can also secondarily raise blood pressure. The simple task of getting checked for a misalignment would help avoid decades of needless medication and their side effects and any hypertension associated problems.