Heart Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Heart health probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about chiropractic care. Although most people associate chiropractic treatment with back and neck pain relief, treatments also help you improve your heart health. In fact, regular visits to the chiropractor offer a simple way to protect your heart.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease or vision loss. In some cases, high blood pressure can be caused by a misaligned Atlas vertebra in the neck. Located at the top of the neck, the Atlas vertebra connects your head to your spine and helps keep your spine stable. Car accidents, injuries or poor posture can cause the vertebra to move out of alignment.
In addition to causing high blood pressure, misalignment of the Atlas vertebra may trigger:
- Neck and Back Pain
- Shoulder, Hip, Knee or Ankle Pain
- Back Spasms
- Stiff Neck
- Difficulty Turning the Head
- Ringing in the Ears
- Trouble Sleeping
The University of Chicago Medicine researchers discovered that realigning the Atlas vertebra with a chiropractic adjustment can lower blood pressure in people who have high blood pressure. The adjustments dropped blood pressure by the same amount as taking two blood pressure medications at once. Chiropractic adjustments, also called spinal manipulation, involve quick thrusts to the spine that realign the vertebra and restore normal function.
Chronic inflammation causes or contributes to a variety of health problems ranging from arthritis to heart disease to type 2 diabetes. Inflammation may make it easier for plaque to form in your blood vessels. The fatty, waxy substance clogs the vessels, decreases the amount of oxygen your tissues and organs receive, and may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney damage, vascular dementia and other health conditions.
Adjustments and other chiropractic treatments relieve inflammation naturally. In a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, spinal manipulation treatments had a positive effect on key inflammatory markers in the body in patients with low back pain.
Improved Nervous System Function
The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems help control your heart rate variability (HRV), the time between heartbeats. HRV varies naturally depending on your emotions and activity level. Your HRV is considered high if there are variations in the time between each heartbeat. If you have a low HRV, the time between heartbeats doesn’t change much. A high HRV is a good sign and means that your heart can easily adapt to a variety of environments and circumstances. A low HRV may increase your risk of heart disease, inflammation, depression, obesity and other diseases and conditions.
Your nervous system may not work as well as it should if misaligned vertebrae or tight tissues press on the nerves, irritating them. Unfortunately, that might increase your risk of low HRV. Adjustments and other chiropractic treatments relieve pressure on the nerves, allowing them to function normally once again.
Better Lung Function
The heart and lungs together work together to keep your body healthy. The oxygen from the air you breathe passes from your lungs into your bloodstream. Every beat of your heart sends oxygenated blood to your organs and tissues. Your heart won’t receive the oxygen needs if a misaligned vertebra presses on a nerve that serves the lungs.
Relieving pressure on the nerve with a chiropractic adjustment may improve lung function, which in turn helps keep your heart healthy. Treatments also loosen tight chest or back muscles that may be affecting your ability to take deep breaths.
Chiropractic care is a good option for anyone but may be particularly helpful if you have a condition that affects breathing, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Are you ready to enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of chiropractic? Get in touch with us to make an appointment.