In a media atmosphere ripe with negative medical "news" about the alleged danger of stroke from chiropractic care, it may be refreshing to provide your patients with information on the beneficial effects of chiropractic care on the cardiovascular system. Not only is this news much more positive than stroke stories, it is much more evidence-based. The following article is based on research presented at the 1995 Washington Centennial Celebration by Dr. Mark Jarmel's team from Cleveland Chiropractic College (Los Angeles). Feel free to reproduce it for your bulletin board, as a handout after lectures or table-side talks, or in your practice newsletter.
A recent research paper discussed 11 healthy volunteers who underwent Holter (24-hour EKG) monitoring before and after chiropractic care. Although the subjects in this study were free from any apparent heart disease, a number of them demonstrated abnormal heart rhythms. These abnormal rhythms are referred to technically as "arrhythmias." A common arrhythmia present in this group of otherwise healthy volunteers was "premature ventricular contraction" or PVC. Sometimes, one becomes conscious of PVCs or other arrhythmias due to a sensation of "skipped beats."
Following a series of three chiropractic visits per week for four weeks, there was a substantial improvement in the arrhythmias noted on the initial Holter monitoring. The authors of the research study point out that cardiac rhythm is influenced by nerves from the neck and upper back. When these nerves are disturbed by spinal misalignments or restrictions (subluxations), normal cardiac rhythm may be disturbed.
While more research in this area is needed before any definitive conclusions can be reached, the initial results imply that chiropractic care may help people with healthy hearts become even healthier, or that chiropractic care may intervene in the early, symptom-free stages of certain types of cardiac arrhythmias. Either way, that's good news.
Charles Masarsky, DC
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