Many patients receiving chiropractic care for other problems will notice a drop in blood pressure during this treatment. Only recently have researchers begun to investigate this relationship.
Researchers studied the effect of chiropractic manipulation on blood pressure in 75 young individuals with either normal or only slightly high blood pressure. In 14 subjects who had borderline high blood pressure, there was an average drop in blood pressure of approximately 15 points.
In a similar research study, doctors from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and McGill University tested the ability of chiropractic treatment to lower blood pressure in 21 patients with diagnosed hypertension. An average drop of 16 points was seen in both systolic and diastolic pressures and occurred even in those patients who were already taking medication for high blood pressure. The lasting effects of this reduction of blood pressure remain to be investigated.
In an attempt to find out how chiropractic treatment could lower blood pressure, other researchers have studied blood aldosterone levels before and after treatment. Aldosterone is a hormone that causes the kidneys to retain more sodium and thus more water. The increase in water retention elevates blood pressure. Many blood pressure medications are aimed at reducing the effects of aldosterone.
In this study of 18 subjects with high blood pressure, there was a significant drop in aldosterone levels following chiropractic treatment. The authors speculated from this research that the reduction of aldosterone levels following chiropractic treatment may be one mechanism for blood pressure reduction.
While much remains to be known about the effects of chiropractic treatment on high blood pressure, it appears that this treatment may be of benefit to some individuals with this disorder.