At this moment, you have blood pressure, but that’s OK, everyone has blood pressure – it pushes your blood through your miles and miles of blood vessels bringing oxygen and nutrition throughout your body.
Every time your heart beats it pushes blood through your arteries and the amount of this “push” is called blood pressure. There is no “just right” blood pressure, 120 over 80 is just average. Like the idle of a car, some people run a little high, others a little low. Blood pressure also fluctuates based on the time of day, exercise, age, gender, emotional makeup, drug use such as alcohol or medications and many other factors. If blood pressure is abnormally low, it’s called hypotension and when it is abnormally high it’s called hypertension.
The cause of hypertension in most people is unknown and is referred to as ‘essential’, ‘idiopathic’ or ‘primary’ hypertension. In some cases, there is a specific cause, often kidney disease or medication use, such as ibuprofen and other drugs).[i]
The Medical Approach:
To ensure optimal health, the body has various short-term mechanisms to control blood pressure levels. These include hormones and enzymes that affect the removal of salt and water from the kidneys, hormones that affect nervous system control of blood pressure and the function of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. Medications used to lower blood pressure manipulate these short-term controls, which are meant to be just that – short term. Medication does nothing to heal the underlying cause of hypertension and very often stops working after a while – leading to additional drugs as a previous one stops working.
The most popular classes of blood pressure medications are beta blockers, calcium channel blocker, diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and angiotensin receptor blockers.
Attempting to lower blood pressure with prescription drugs has some logic, but the deeper questions of, ‘What is causing the blood pressure to raise?’ ‘Is high blood pressure serving a purpose?, and ‘Are we just treating symptoms?’ are usually not addressed. Most drugs don’t heal disease because they don’t treat the cause of disease. A blood pressure pill or a cholesterol pill doesn’t reverse hardening and narrowing of the arteries, but eating the right food and ensuring you get an adequate supply of certain nutrients can.
High blood pressure really isn’t a disease in itself, but is rather a symptom of smoking, obesity or perhaps inactivity. . . perhaps physicians should stop taking blood pressures and should start weighing people and asking them about exercise, diet, smoking and work habits”.[ii] A recent review of studies on the relationship between drugs for treating mild hypertension (blood pressure up to 159/99) concluded that drug treatment has not been shown to reduce death or injury of individuals with mild hypertension.[iii]
Another possible role of high blood pressure is that in some people it is a defense and an elevated blood pressure helps protect the brain and spinal cord from compression due to spine and structural stress.[iv]
Side Effects of Medication:
Some blood pressure medications can cause rash, hives, sensitivity to light, joint aches, confusion, impotence, weakness, dizziness, lack of energy, numbness in the extremities, depression, anger, moodiness, muscle spasms and other symptoms. That may be why many people are investigating non-drug approaches. As the late Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. said “…Patients with coronary problems and high blood pressure are investigating Pritikin, Kushi, Airola, Fredericks, Pauling, and others who may not be medical doctors, but who do know about nutrition, allergy, acupuncture, chiropractic, biofeedback, meditation and exercise. . . medical schools do not produce physicians who possess this kind of knowledge.[v]
The Chiropractic Approach:
One of the best things you can do for your blood pressure, as well as the rest of your body, is to see a Doctor of Chiropractic. Doctors of Chiropractic perform spinal adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations or spinal nerve stress which upset body balance and nerve health.
For over a century chiropractic care has been a drug-free blessing to millions of people who thought they would have to face a life of medication. Chiropractic journals have often described the blood pressure normalizing effects that gentle, painless chiropractic spinal adjustments have on individuals.[vi][vii][viii]
One Final Note:
Chiropractic teaches us to remove all interferences to body function and to seek out more natural, conservative methods before submitting to more radical drug or surgical approaches. Proper nutrition, exercise, rest, emotional care, along with a healthy spine, are all vital for optimal well-being. Explore them all!
[i] Science News, Vol. 146 p.200. Sept. 24, 1994.
[ii] R.F. Bernard, O.D., Richmond, Michigan, Letter to the Editor, The People’s Doctor Vol. 8, No.5., 1986.
[iii] Diao D, Wright JM, Cundiff DK, Gueyffier F. “Pharmacotherapy for mild hypertension”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue8, Art. No.: CD006742.DOI:10.100/14651858.CD006742.pub2
[iv] Ward L.E., Spinal Column Stressology, Spinal Stress Seminars, Long Beach, CA 1982.
[v] Mendelsohn R.S., The People’s Doctor Newsletter Vol. 8, No.5., 1986.
[vi] Yates et. al. Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Blood Pressure and Anxiety: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1988; 11:484-488.
[vii] The types and frequencies of non-musculoskeletal symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. JMPT Nov/Dec 1999:22(9) 559-64.
[viii] The management of hypertensive disease: a review of spinal manipulation and the efficacy of conservative therapeusis. Crawford JP, Hickson GS, Wiles MR. JMPT 1986; 9:27-32.