Reports from chiropractic journals say that manipulating the neck region helps reduce blood pressure in some people.
Prof. Jim Deuchars from the University of Leeds in the UK and coworkers have examined pathways between the neck and the brain to help define how neck muscles could play a crucial role in controlling blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
The area of the brain where the signals from the neck terminate has been known for more than 100 years. But what happened after these signals arrived remained a largely overlooked area of research.
Researchers have identified a link between these cells and the nucleus tractus solitarius — an area of the brain that controls autonomic functions (body functions under unconscious control). They propose that nervous signals from the neck could play a key role in ensuring that adequate blood supply is maintained to the brain as we change posture, such as from lying down to standing up. When this signaling fails, there can be problems with balance and blood pressure.
The bottom line?
The findings offer a rationale for manipulative treatments.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.