Why it may work? The idea behind the realignment is that the C-1 vertebra, located at the top of the spine, operates like a fuse box in the body. When it's twisted, it can pinch arteries and nerves at the neck's base, which not only causes discomfort but also affects the blood flow. "When the spine is misaligned, it can affect all types of things, all types of disease conditions," said chiropractor Marshall Dickholtz Jr.
The Limitations. While the study presents interesting ideas, it has its limitations according to "Good Morning America" medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson. "There are a lot of unanswered questions. But I'm telling you, this catches our attention because of a significant drop in the blood pressure. It absolutely deserves more study."
A larger study has been commissioned; in the original study only 50 patients were treated, of which only 25 got the real adjustment, while others received a fake one. Afterwards there was only an eight week follow-up. Besides determining which patients would require x-rays to determine whether the procedure could help them, the procedure requires very special chiropractic training, Johnson said. And no one knows for sure how long the neck adjustments or blood pressure decreases will last.
Johnson said that people with neck pain and hypertension should visit their primary care physician first and not substitute the doctor's visit with a trip to the chiropractor. "But in talking with their doctor if they are having some neck problems they might want to entertain this idea."
March 25, 2008; Naaman and Ibanga; ABC News Internet Ventures