Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Medical study suggests NUCCA may impact high blood pressure

Maria DiDanieli   

Features Research

NUCCA adjustments can
significantly lower high blood pressure, a
placebo-controlled study suggests.

Study leader Dr George Bakris is the director of
the University of
Chicago hypertension
center. 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.

He notes
that the adjustments are adverse-event free, with no side effects of problems
arising during the study, and that NUCCA seems to have a profound effect on
high blood pressure. 

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 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 mmHg greater drop in systolic
blood pressure and an average 8 mmHg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure.

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

Bakris and colleagues report their findings in
the Journal of Human Hypertension.

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."

What does this have to do with high blood 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.

While still at Rush University,
Dr. Bakris designed the pilot study with 50 patients. Following the success of
this pilot study, he is 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."


News of this study has MDs on the lookout for further
studies.  Good morning America
medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, notes: “While the study presents some
interesting ideas, it has its limitations. There are a lot of unanswered
questions. But I'm telling you, this catches our attention because of a
significant drop in blood pressure. It absolutely deserves more study."



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