Booking an appointment with a chiropractor may not be your first choice if you’re worried about your heart. Sure, you might consider going to see a chiropractic doctor if you’re experiencing back pain or neck pain. That makes sense: chiropractors make small adjustments in the alignment of the spine that can lead to more fluid movement of the bones, tendons, and muscles. However, chiropractic care may be far more complex than simply improving mobility.
A recent study has found that getting chiropractic treatments could help reduce some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. The study involved the case of a 54-year old man who was suffering from high cholesterol that required multiple medicines to manage. This patient was considered high risk and, in fact, had already suffered a heart attack and undergone angioplasty to free up his arteries.
The patient was put on a six month course of chiropractic treatments. No other interventions were used in this study. The patient continued to eat the foods he was accustomed to eating and continued to exercise only when he felt motivated to do so. Before beginning the chiropractic treatments, the gentleman was diagnosed with abnormally high levels of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. The story goes that the man wished to stop taking so many prescription medications and had heard from a video on YouTube that chiropractic treatments could help lower cholesterol levels.
Chiropractic adjustments were administered to correct vertebral subluxations in the neck, pelvis, and sacrum. New lab work showed that the patient’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels had improved. The patient also reported improvements in his mental and physical health. The chiropractic treatments also improved pain symptoms associated with the misalignment of his musculoskeletal system.
The researchers involved with the trial hypothesized that minor disturbances in spinal alignment could be a factor in triggering a number of diseases. Spinal disturbances can interfere with the nervous system, throwing off the body’s ability to function normally. Interfering with the neurological structures in the spine can adversely affect many processes in the body.
Chiropractors refer to misalignments or abnormal motions of the spine as vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations result not only in structural interference to the spine but can also cause neurological interference throughout the nervous system. When these spinal misalignments are corrected, the body rebalances itself and re-establishes its homeostasis.
As for plain, old ordinary back pain—do chiropractic treatments still help? In one recent trial, researchers tested chiropractic care in pregnant women. Pregnancy tends to put a great deal of strain on the back and many women complain of back pain, knee pain, and pelvic pain. Pregnancy causes a woman’s center of mass to shift to the back. The extra strain can trigger a condition called lumbar lordosis. The researchers found that both massage therapy and chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, are safe and effective forms of treatment for pregnant women suffering from low back pain.
Now, it may not be pregnancy that’s causing your back pain, of course, but other causes should respond equally well to chiropractic adjustments.
Zeilinski, E.L., “Chiropractic adjustments shown to prevent heart disease,” Natural News web site, , Dec. 15, 2013; http://www.naturalnews.com/043246_chiropractic_adjustments_heart_disease_vertebral_subluxation.html, last accessed Dec. 18, 2013.
Oswald, C., et al., “Optimizing pain relief during pregnancy using manual therapy,” Can Fam Physician. August 2013; 59(8): 841-2.