There are natural ways to help lower blood pressure including losing weight, eating a diet rich in greens and healthy oils and fats, and receiving chiropractic care. Upper Cervical chiropractic can lower blood pressure by aligning the lower part of the brain stem and taking pressure off the nerves and blood vessels.
What is happening in your body when you have high blood pressure?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: What’s happening with high blood pressure, is essentially your heart is working harder than it should be. It is normal to have high blood pressure when you’re running or you’re exercising, you’re lifting something heavy. Your muscles are being used, your heart increases the pump rate, starts working harder, and you get more blood flow to the muscles.
Now, what happens with high blood pressure is you’re sitting on the couch watching TV, reading a book, and your heart’s working like it is when you’re exercising. It is basically just high blood pressure at the wrong time. What is going on? Why would your heart work harder than it needs to? Well, there are a few reasons that can cause that, but that’s essentially what’s happening; your heart is just working harder than it should be.
What causes high blood pressure?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: There’s a few pretty straightforward causes, and sometimes there’s some more complicated issues; but one of the biggest causes is first, inflammation. Chronic inflammation creates hard, brittle blood vessels. They’re not smooth and lubricated like they should be, and so it makes it a lot harder for your blood to travel throughout your body, and then as a response, your heart starts working a lot harder to get that blood.
Some simple things you can do with chronic inflammation is one, improve your digestion. That affects inflammation. I’m not going to get into all the different pathways, but just improving digestion helps with inflammation, so probiotic, fish oils, good fats, coconut oil, things like that help with inflammation. Getting a lot of greens in your diet, greens every day. That is why I take Wuji Chlorella every day to help minimize inflammation.
Second thing is, you can just be overweight or obese, and then just walking around, sitting, your body is working, it is carrying a much heavier load, it has a lot more cells it needs to feed with blood, so your heart has to work a lot harder when you’re overweight or obese. Losing weight will many times help blood pressure.
Then the last thing is alignment. I have a lot of patients that come into my office, they’re healthy, they eat all the right stuff, they’re in shape, and yet they have high blood pressure. When you have something like that where it doesn’t make sense, you want to look at alignment. The upper cervical alignment protects the lower portion of the brain stem. When that part of your neck goes out of alignment, it can pull or create tension, pressure around the brain stem affecting brain stem function. We know the brain stem is responsible for heart rate and blood pressure. That can affect it and cause high blood pressure.
Can chiropractors help patient to lower their blood pressure with chiropractic care?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Yeah, now we’re not treating high blood pressure, obviously. What we are doing is improving alignment. There is a study that comes out of Chicago, it was done actually by a hospital, and they checked patients after they received an upper cervical adjustment. This is the first time I ever heard of upper cervical. I was going to chiropractic school about ’06, ’07, and I heard this study come out and this doctor in Chicago that did upper cervical, he did the NUCCA technique which we were trained in, and he adjusted these patients and they found that their blood pressure lowered as much as two medications.
Yes, kind of a side benefit of upper cervical chiropractic care, and I’ve seen it happen many times in my office, is blood pressure lowering. Now, we’re not treating high blood pressure. I am not recommending people get off their medication, but yes, many times when you realign the upper neck you get the brain stem functioning right, you get people moving right, many times as a side benefit, blood pressure will lower.
Is there a specific chiropractic treatment used on patient with high blood pressure?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Yes, so you are doing upper cervical chiropractic. Now, there’s a few different types of upper cervical. The ones we’re trained in are Orthospinology and NUCCA, N-U-C-C-A. With this type of chiropractic technique, what you do is you come in, you get a postural evaluation, we do a history and all that of course. You look at the posture, and one thing you want to look at right away that is real simple is just look at ears and shoulders. If the ears are not level, one ear is a lot lower than the other and the shoulders are not level, then you know that neck is out of alignment.
Then you take x-rays and you do some really specific x-rays. We measure everything down to a hundredth of a degree. We have a whole mathematical equation. We do the analysis with that, so you figure exactly the angle that you need to adjust. Then what I do, is I then lie people on their side and give a very gentle adjustment. It is only a few grams of pressure, it feels like almost nothing, to help get the head and neck centered, essentially, and untwist it. That will level out the shoulders, you will see the ears level out, and then we take x-rays after we see postural improvement to see where their body has moved to. It is a corrective technique. You actually want to see change and you want to see the body hold in alignment afterwards. We are not twisting or cracking anything and we are not seeing you three times a week forever. Once you hold, we go longer and longer between appointments.
Can ongoing chiropractic care from a young age help people avoid getting high blood pressure?
Dr. F.J. Schofield: Absolutely. Chiropractic care, especially upper cervical chiropractic care, what that’s going to do is we’re going to get the head and neck in alignment. I check my own baby, she is six weeks old now. I checked her a few hours after she was born, her atlas was out, and just a real gentle pressure. Usually it is pretty simple with babies, they haven’t been out of alignment that long, and everything balanced. I think I’ve adjusted her neck twice in six weeks, and now she has been holding for several weeks.
A lot of times you see babies and kids, because they don’t have the stress and they haven’t been out of alignment for years and years, you’ll see them hold adjustments for weeks and months and you don’t have to see them that often. Yes, getting them in alignment right away is going to ensure good nervous system function and good musculoskeletal function. The muscles, the joints, the shoulders, the hips will be level. They’ll move, sit, standing, grabbing in nice balanced position. That is going to help them.
Then obviously very important, exercise, good nutrition, make sure your kid is eating greens, not eating high sugar cereals all the time, and a lot of other things. Yes, good alignment along with other good healthy lifestyle choices will definitely lower your risk of high blood pressure.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. F.J. Schofield visit www.westbendchiropractor.com or call 262-334-8188 to schedule an appointment.