Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Impact on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability

Effects of Upper and Lower Cervical Spinal Manipulative Therapy on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability in Volunteers and Patients with Neck Pain: A Randomized controlled cross over preliminary study.


This paper was designed to test a connection between neck pain, Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Blood Pressure (BP), and Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). The results showed a significant decrease in neck pain after upper and lower cervical SMT as well as changes in BP. In our office neck and back pain are the chief complaints our patients report when initiating care. Then we correct their Upper Cervical Spine and see changes throughout their whole body not just their neck. We see these changes in how their whole body functions because the nervous system is the master control of the body. If you know of someone that is experiencing whole body dysfunction, getting their nervous system checked by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor is a great place to start. Call us today to find out more.

Why is the cervical spine and the nervous system so important? The answer is in how the Nervous system is broken up. There are two main branches to the Nervous system: the Central or CNS, and the Peripheral or PNS. The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord and this is the master control of the body. The PNS is made up of the nerves that come out of the spinal cord and brain and direct function to the extremities, torso, muscles, and organs of the body. The PNS is then broken down into the Autonomic System, which is our basic Automatic control of organ function and reflexes. This Autonomic system is often known as the “Fight or Flight” and the “Rest and Digest”. This Autonomic system is very helpful when studied in showing how well the body is functioning. In this paper neck pain was reduced by adjusting the Cervical spine while simultaneously seeing changes in HRV and BP. Call us today to find out more about the alignment of your spine. 603.380.9184

What is HRV and why does BP change when the cervical spine is adjusted? Well Heart Rate Variability is measured in the intervals between heart beats. It is the shape and length of the QRS wave which is the one beat of the Heart Rate. Spread across time you can measure the heart beats against each other for many different qualities, but the goal is to have a regularly changing heartbeat. If the heart beat is the same every time that is what we call a pattern of pathophysiology or bad physiology that can set the body up for a problem. In chiropractic, we are always trying to make the body adapt better, and measuring a thing like HRV allows us to tell if we are making good changes in the nervous system. Finally, Blood Pressure or BP is influenced by Autonomic nuclei in the cervical spine as well as the Vagus nerve which has a neurological link to the cervical spine. There have been studies that have shown good sustained change in Hypertensive patients as well as Hypotensive patients with gentle, specific, upper cervical corrections. If you are interested in finding out how to get your body back on track, getting your nervous system checked by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor is a great start. Call us today!