New Research on Chiropractic & Cardiovascular Health

Research News Staff
New Research on Chiropractic & Cardiovascular Health

Chiropractic Shown to Help

Recent research reporting on a 74-year-old woman who was suffering from low heart rate reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in caring for people with this condition.  The research reported in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research showed improvements in heart function after chiropractic adjustments to the upper part of the neck. The researchers measured the woman's heart rate variability (HRV) before and during care.

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“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between structural abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and cardiovascular health” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Research shows that the proper development and function of the cardiovascular system relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.” 

Research has shown that the cardiovascular system is affected by abnormal spinal structure and joint movement and that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in the regulation of heart rate are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “Heart rate may be related to how the nervous system communicates with the brain and the most critical area for this is the spine and the most critical area of the spine is the upper part of the neck.” 

According to McCoy, “In a healthy organism, higher heart rate variability represents greater adaptability to stress from the internal and external environment. When the nervous system is free of obstructions, it can better regulate anatomic, physiologic, and biochemical alterations and adapt to stress as needed.” 

The 74-year-old woman in this study had low heart rate following eye surgery.  She noticed she began getting tired more easily and light-headed.  She also began to fall asleep while sitting down more frequently.  She was on medication for high blood pressure and diabetes and one side of her heart was larger than the other. 

The chiropractor examined her and found structural shifts in her upper neck.  She had postural changes and tight muscles in her neck and mid back.  X-rays and other testing confirmed these findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Following upper cervical chiropractic care, her structural shifts improved along with her heart rate problems. 

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in these patients.

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research
McCoy Press