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Chiropractic Research Review

Can Chiropractic Play a Role in Treating Angina?

Angina pectoris, commonly known as chest pain, affects more than 6 million Americans every year. The painful and sometimes suffocating attacks can be brought upon by a lack of oxygen in the blood due to the heart working overtime because of physical overexertion or stress.

In a study performed by researchers in Denmark, positive results were shown for weekly chiropractic adjustments in patients with a specific type of angina - stable (chronic) angina.

Of the 275 participants, only 50 were diagnosed with cervicothoracic angina (CTA), chest discomfort originating from the cervical spine and the thorax. These individuals were placed into the treatment group. The remaining 225 patients who were found to be CTA-negative made up the control group. Before the start of the treatments, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire that recorded the intensity of pain and established overall quality of life by assessing their physical and mental state. The control group also filled out the questionnaire, but after being told they were CTA-negative, they were not offered therapy.

CTA-positive patients received eight treatments over a four-week period by the same chiropractor. During each session, patients received at least one manual thrust applied with high velocity and low amplitude force directed at one or more restricted cervical and/or thoracic joint segments. The clinical practice was followed by trigger point therapy intervention, as well as manual pressure and deep stroking massage on the different trigger points. After the final treatments, the same questionnaire was given to the patients to evaluate any changes due to the chiropractic sessions.

Approximately 75 percent of the participants who underwent the chiropractic treatments reported an improvement in pain and general health at the conclusion of the sessions. The CTA-negative patients only recorded a 22 to 25 percent improvement. The questionnaires reported a significant drop in pain in the treatment group compared to the control group. Although the results were positive, the researchers noted that further studies would have to be performed to validate their findings since a positive CTA test result is often associated with a good diagnosis.

Christensen H, Vach W, Gichangi A, et al. Manual therapy for patients with stable angina pectoris: a nonrandomized open prospective trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, November 2005;28(9) 654-661.

Chiropractic Research Review

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