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Old 08-03-2007, 10:17 AM
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Default Neck Massage Helps Lower Blood Pressure

REGULAR neck massages can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, research suggests. High blood pressure, which often has no symptoms, doubles the risk of dying from one of the conditions and affects a third of adults.

Researchers from Leeds University found signals from the neck play a key role in helping the brain maintain blood pressure, heart rate and breathing when we change posture, for instance by standing up. When these signals stop - perhaps because the neck is stiff and not being moved - we can suffer from problems with blood pressure and balance.

The findings could explain research showing that easing pain by 'cracking' the neck lowers blood pressure. Neck pain, often caused by stress, affects one in ten Britons at any one time, with three- quarters of us suffering at some point in our lives.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Professor Jim Deuchars said the breakthrough could also explain why those with whiplash injuries can experience a change in their blood pressure. 'This work also contributes to the understanding of postural hypotension - fainting which can be caused by standing up too fast,' he added.

'The neck muscles could be part of the system which normally prevents this from happening by sending signals to the brain that posture has changed.'
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:22 AM
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Your blood pressure can be raised and not know it through painless neck problems. This study shows the right kind of massage can lower BP substantially if a misaligned vertebrae is the problem. People who spend a lot of time on computors are candidates for this neck problem.

Heart Beat: Big bend for blood pressure? Information on Healthline

Heart Beat

Subtle, precise nudges of a misaligned atlas can dramatically lower blood pressure. We are not talking about rearranging reference books, but about lining up the spinal column's topmost vertebra.

The C-1 vertebra is a doughnut-shaped bone at the top of the spine. It is sometimes called the atlas vertebra because it supports the head, much as the titan Atlas held up the sky in Greek mythology. Unlike the 25 vertebrae below it, which maintain their positions by nestling one into the other, the atlas is held in place mostly by muscles and ligaments. A link between a misaligned atlas and high blood pressure has been known since the 1960s.

Now, a Chicago-area team has tested whether realigning a skewed atlas could improve blood pressure. It was headed by Dr. George Bakris, an eminent hypertension expert at the University of Chicago who helped write the national guidelines for blood pressure treatment.

Fifty volunteers with modest high blood pressure and a misaligned atlas vertebra volunteered for the trial. Half had the bone gently nudged into place by a chiropractor who specialized in adjusting this one vertebra. The other half, the placebo group, received a manipulation that let the atlas remain cockeyed.

After eight weeks, systolic blood pressure had fallen by 3 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic pressure by 2 mm Hg in the placebo group, suggesting a small placebo effect. In the realignment group, systolic blood pressure dropped a whopping 17 mm Hg and diastolic an equally impressive 10 mm Hg. Those are substantial improvements in blood pressure, far surpassing what is usually seen in tests of single blood pressure medicines. The results were published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Fixing an out-of-line atlas vertebra is not going to be a miracle cure for high blood pressure. The procedure was tested only on people with a misaligned top vertebra. And it was just a pilot study � a larger one needs to be done to see if the effect was real, and how it might work.

A misaligned atlas vertebra doesn't cause pain or curve the spine. So how would you know if yours is off kilter? Take off your shoes and lie flat on your back, legs stretched out straight in front of you. If one leg is slightly longer than the other, and the position of one heel moves when you turn your head to the left and right, the chances are good that your atlas vertebra is awry.
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