A double blind study of 75 patients in 1988 was performed to fully analyze the reports that chiropractic care could help stabilize blood pressure in patients. The study had three groups. First group of patients with elevated blood pressure received adjustments to the thoracic spine area. The second group received placebos (movements that appeared to be adjustments), and the 3rd group received no treatment. The result was that the adjusted group experienced decreases in both systolic & diastolic blood pressure while no change was noted in either the control or placebo group.
A study at the University of Chicago, with placebo controls, found that a chiropractic adjustment to the upper cervical region can significantly lower high blood pressure. “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, told WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Dr Bakris who is the director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.
8 weeks after the procedure was complete, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who received a fake chiropractic adjustment. “When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was way too good to be true,” Bakris says. “The statistician said, ‘I don’t even believe it.’ But we checked for everything, and there it was.”
Those patients in the Chicago study who received the real chiropractic procedure saw an average of 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (top number) and an average of 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (lower number). This was a greater effect than 2 powerful blood pressure medications given in combination.
In a third double blind research procedure, Dr. Yates examined the effects of upper thoracic chiropractic adjustments on blood pressure using 21 patients with hypertension. The subjects who were given the adjustments showed statistically significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The placebo and control groups demonstrated no such changes and both of these groups showed no significant changes from each other. Results support that chiropractic adjustment of the thoracic region significantly reduces blood pressure of patients with elevated blood pressure.
McKnight ME, DeBoer KF. Preliminary study of blood pressure changes in normotensive subjects undergoing chiropractic care. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1988 Aug;11(4):261-6.
G Bakris, M Dickholtz Sr, P M Meyer, G Kravitz, E Avery, M Miller, J Brown, C Woodfield, B Bell. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. Journal of Human Hypertension. March 2, 2007.
Yates RG, Lamping DL, Abram NL, Wright C “Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Blood Pressure and Anxiety: A Randomized, Controlled Trial” J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1988; 11(6): 484-488.