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Nearly a third of Americans have high blood pressure, putting them at risk for heart disease, stroke, and number of health conditions. While medication is the primary treatment for hypertension, there are several non-pharmaceutical ways to manage high blood pressure including, stress reduction, weight loss, and diet changes. Now, a growing body of research suggests that chiropractic care could help.

Researchers from Sherman College of Chiropractic have found preliminary evidence that regular chiropractic care reduced blood pressure in middle-aged African Americans. Earlier research has suggested that chiropractic adjustments can decrease blood pressure in patients with cervical spine dysfunction or anxiety. However there have been no age and racial-specific studies on the effects of chiropractic on blood pressure.

Researches conducted a non-randomized, non-controlled pragmatic study to evaluate the feasibility of a future clinical trial. The results are still considered preliminary, but since they support earlier findings, they are highly suggestive as to the potential effects chiropractic can have on blood pressure.

The study included 58 hypertensive patients of African American descent who were over the age of 40. Patients received one year of chiropractic care for various spinal conditions, and their blood pressure was taken three times throughout the course of the study.

The researchers discovered that in patients with a BMI lower than  50, diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased over the course of treatment. Patients with a BMI higher than 50 (considered severely obese), did not experience the same drops in blood pressure. This lead researchers to suggest that obese patients may be “more resistant” to blood pressure reductions when it came to chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care isn’t the only hands-on therapy that may help with hypertension. A study published earlier this year showed that massage decreased blood pressure in pre-hypertensive women.