I want to talk to you about high blood pressure. Why is it that our patients who experience high blood pressure, or hypertension, have great results with upper cervical care?
When we look at the nervous system, the brainstem comes out of the bottom of the head and down to the second bone (called Axis) in the neck. The brainstem houses 10 out of 12 cranial nerves. Number nine – the ninth cranial nerve – is called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for mediating our parasympathetic nervous system.
Our parasympathetic nervous system does things like rest and digest. It has control over heart rate, too. But, when there is a misalignment in the top of the neck putting pressure on the brainstem, that vagus nerve can have interference to it. This means that the vagus nerve is not communicating with the rest of the body like it should, including the heart. This may cause the heart rate to speed up, which research shows us that increased heart rate is associated with high blood pressure. That is why an upper cervical adjustment, taking pressure off of the vagus nerve, allows the blood pressure to reduce.
Correcting the misalignment fires up that parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the vagus nerve to communicate with the heart like it should, telling the heart, “Hey, you can slow down,” and thus, the blood pressure is able to come down for long periods of time. Actually, chiropractic research shows that upper cervical adjustments were found to have a hypotensive effect and that six of eight patients under chiropractic experienced relief of symptoms and lowered blood pressure after chiropractic care.
Now, our bodies are constantly in a sympathetic state. We are constantly stressed out by dealing with everyday life and a big reason for that is pressure on the brainstem. When we remove that pressure and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to express itself, we see things like lower blood pressure and an overall increase of function in general.