Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Every year one in four deaths is caused by heart disease. It’s common knowledge that maintaining a healthy diet and exercising are key factors in preventing heart disease, but did you know that chiropractic care can be an effective means to fight heart disease?
Research indicates that regular chiropractic adjustments may prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relieve chest pain and support the cardiovascular system. A study conducted by Palmer Chiropractic College investigated the effects of chiropractic treatment on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in reference to an analysis of heart rate variability. Findings indicated that chiropractic adjustments reduced pain and lowered participant's mean heart rate.
Chiropractic treatment also has a significant effect on blood pressure and anxiety levels, according to a study reported in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. The study examined systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and patients' anxiety levels before and after an adjustment. In all cases, those subjects who received active treatment experienced a distinct drop in blood pressure and a decrease in their anxiety levels. Results of this study provide evidence that chiropractic treatment offers support to the cardiovascular system.
The sympathetic nerves originate from the thoracic spine and cause the heart rate to speed up. The parasympathetic nerves originate from the brain and cause the heart rate to slow down. This is an oversimplification, but the bottom line is that the cardiovascular system is controlled by the nervous system. The brain receives communication from the body for an increased or decreased demand and relays that demand to the heart via the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are also called the autonomic nervous system because this part of the nervous system works automatically. You do not have to try to make your heart speed up or slow down, the brain regulates it automatically via nervous system communication.
This is why chiropractic care can make a difference. The primary function of the spine is to protect the nervous system. When the spine gets misaligned by an injury or stress it can cause interference in nervous system communication. This area of misalignment is called a vertebral subluxation. Chiropractors adjust the subluxation to restore nervous system communication. When the nervous system is able to communicate freely with the rest of the body, optimal health is possible. The body’s amazing ability to adapt and heal is called homeostasis. For there to be homeostasis in a body there must be proper communication between the brain and tissue cell. If there is interference in the communication, optimal health is not possible.
We know that diet and exercise are important in helping to prevent heart disease, but without proper nervous system communication, your diet and exercise may not be as beneficial. Cardiovascular exercise is supposed to help with heart health, but if the nervous system does not have proper control over the heart function due to vertebral subluxation (communication interference), the exercise can stress the heart beyond the normal beneficial range.
As February is American Heart Month, it’s time to utilize all of the weapons at your disposal to fight heart disease. Chiropractic care is the perfect complement to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. You should have your spine adjusted on a regular basis because the nerves don’t just go to the heart, they control every single organ in your body!
Palmer Chiropractic College: Effect of Chiropractic Care on Heart Rate Variability and Pain in a Multi-site Clinical Studyhttp://w3.palmer.edu/ctl/Docs/Research/Zhang%20article.pdf
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial; RG Yates, et. al, December 1998http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3075649
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine,: Sympathetic and parasympathetic responses to specific diversified adjustments to chiropractic vertebral subluxations of the cervical and thoracic spine; Arlene Welch, et. al.; September 2008http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686395/