It may sound like a crazy question and well it may be, but some recent chiropractic case studies have some interesting suggestions. Published in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, some new cases showed correlation between chiropractic adjustments and improvements in heart disease. While case studies are not very high on the evidence hierarchy in science, these reports may be reasons for further study that justifies such claims.
One of the case studies involved a 54 year old man who had a history of myocardial infarction and angioplasty who was taking several medications but was still not well controlled. Apparently, after six months of chiropractic his numbers improved. Although no causal conclusion can be driven by this, it is an interesting correlation and one that should be studied further. It likely does not mean he can get off of his medications though, although chiropractic optimists may suggest that.
People who are pro chiropractic suggest that perhaps nerve interference due to misalignment, etc. may be throwing off the body’s homeostatic mechanisms to regulate itself thereby worsening certain conditions. The idea is that chiropractic adjustments can help offset these imbalances and potentially allow the body to better deal with some ailments internally. The view is controversial, however, as there is not much biological evidence that supports such a connection between nerve geography and lipid regulation within the body.
One thing that can be agreed upon is that finding the causes of cardiovascular disease and tackling those is very important. Whether spinal misalignment is one of those causes is yet to be seen. In this case, the chiropractor who the patient saw diagnosed the patient with vertebral subluxations in the neck, pelvis, and sacrum. He did his procedures to help correct the issue and a few months later routine blood work showed that there were improvements in LDL, HDL, and TGs. The patient also reported positive outcomes including improved mental and physical health and fewer complaints of musculoskeletal issues and pain.
Typical treatments in medicine for increased lipids include routine medications such as statins for cholesterol. There is also great emphasis placed on therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) including eating diets which are low in cholesterol and fats and higher in fiber and protein. TLCs also include daily exercise include cardiovascular exercise if possible. Certain diets like the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet may help as well. These are likely to help a person get healthier in either case- chiropractic care or traditional.
With just one case study, there really is not much that can be said from an evidence based medicine standpoint. It will take much larger studies and ones that are randomized and controlled to really draw conclusions on this matter that can be trusted, but case studies like this are often the very initial building blocks that eventually lead to larger studies and more sound science to address our questions. It will be interesting to see where this goes because the implications may be titanic. Cardiovascular patients everywhere will likely be interested in any science that results of this.
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