Dr Merri's Blog

Mid Back Pain and Hunched-Over Posture Improved with Chiropractic

Posted: September 30, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science published the results of a case study on October 31, 2019, documenting the reduction in mid-back pain along with the improvement of excessive mid-back curvature in a patient undergoing specific chiropractic care.

The authors of the study begin by noting that poor posture is a significant and common problem that can have profound effects on health. Reporting on other studies they stated,  Recently, the European spine study group published a report on poor posture having significant negative effects on the quality of life (QOL) of affected persons; moreover, in comparison to several other well-known diseases, including arthritis, chronic lung disease, diabetes and congestive heart failure, those with poor posture were more significantly affected by having a lower QOL. 

In an article earlier in the year in the US News and World Report, 10 things were identified as problems that can result for poor posture. These include exacerbating arthritis, poor circulation, fatigue, negative mood, forward head posture, jaw pain, breathing efficacy, headaches, shoulder and back pain, and sexual dysfunction.

The issue of poor posture is not uncommon in children. This problem has increased with the addition of electronic devices such as smart phones and pads. Studies have shown that poor posture in early life has been shown to translate into back pain as an adult. The study points out that  Since back pain is a leading culprit of adult disability, the correction of poor posture in younger individuals should be a priority. 

In this case, a 16-year-old girl went to the chiropractor for complaints of mid-back and lower back pain. She described the pain as an ache that was made worse by standing, resulting in it being very difficult for her to stand for more than an hour at a time. The girl also reported that the pain also occurred at night making it difficult for her to sleep through the night. She noted that her pain had been occurring several times per week over the past few months, and she rated the pain as a 7 out of 10 with 10 being the worst. There was no known past injury or incident that could be identified as the starting point of her problems.

X-rays of the girl's spine viewed from the side showed a hunched-over appearance with an increase in the mid-back curvature, and an accompanied loss of the normal lower back curvature. Specific forms of chiropractic care were started to address the spinal postural deformities along with home instructions for exercises.

After 8 weeks of chiropractic care, as well as the patient being vigilant on the home exercises, a re-assessment was performed. The girl reported that her back pain had reduced from a 7 out of 10 to just 1 out of 10. She noted that she could now stand for extended periods of time and could sleep throughout the night without being woken up by the pain. She also volunteered that her mood had improved as well. Follow-up x-rays confirmed that the curvatures had started to improve toward the more correct positions.

15-year-old boy suffering from post-concussion syndrome and whiplash helped by Chiropractic

Posted: September 8, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

A study published on July 27, 2020, in the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic documented the improvement of a 15-year-old boy suffering from post-concussion syndrome and whiplash who was helped by chiropractic. Post-Concussion Syndrome is an alteration in brain function or other brain pathology caused by an external force. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) which usually occurs after a blow to the head or whiplash injury and is considered a non-lethal type of brain injury.

The study begins by reporting that "The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 10 million people are affected annually by traumatic brain injury (TBI), and it is an injury that will surpass many fatal diseases as the primary cause of death and disability in 2020." In New Zealand, where this study occurred, it is estimated that there are 24,000 cases of concussion each year. The Brain Injury Research Institute estimates that in the United States between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year.

The symptoms of a concussion could include headaches, cognitive changes such as feeling like you're in a fog, loss of consciousness, amnesia, neurological deficits, balance impairment, gait unsteadiness, irritability, slowed reaction times, and sleep disturbances.

The history of this case involved a 15-year-old boy who fell forward headfirst into a bed frame and struck the front of his head. This caused hyperextension, or whiplash-like force to his cervical spine along with external injuries to his head from the impact. The boy was admitted to the hospital and released after two days. About a week after the injury, the boy started experiencing concussion related symptoms of headaches, dizziness, behavioral changes and an inability to conduct his activity of daily living.

After a chiropractic examination, specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started. The boy was also given stretching exercises to perform at home and some nutritional supplements. Over the course of his chiropractic care, the boy showed continual improvement as well as testing improvement in concussion protocol test conducted by his MDs. Within a three month period, the boy reported having felt that he had 98% returned to normal with a disappearance of his concussion symptoms.

In their discussion, the authors reviewed additional research on this subject and reported, "The current research suggests that spinal misalignments can change the way the central nervous system (CNS) processes sensory motor integration. The current research demonstrates improvement in sensory integration following spinal manipulations, indicating there is scope for chiropractic research to investigate these sensory integration functions." They concluded "This case study demonstrates improvements in post-concussion symptoms and whiplash in a 15-year-old male following chiropractic care."

Child Saved from Possible Adenoids and Tonsil Surgery with Chiropractic

Posted: August 31, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

In the August 8, 2019, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, is a case study documenting the resolution of a case of swollen tonsils that was recommended for surgery but became unnecessary after chiropractic care was started.

The adenoids and tonsils are both part of the lymphatic system and therefore an important part of a defense system from parasites and bacteria. Years ago, it was common practice to remove tonsils and sometimes adenoids if these were infected or swollen. The U.S. Library of Medicine Medline describes these organs by saying, "The lymphatic system clears away infection and keeps body fluids in balance. The adenoids and tonsils work by trapping germs coming in through the mouth and nose. Adenoids usually start to shrink after about age 5. By the teenage years, they are almost completely gone. By then, the body has other ways to fight germs."

Although the adenoids and tonsils are important parts of the body's defense against germs, there are times when these become enlarged to the point where they can cause sleep problems in children. If medications fail to reduce this situation, surgery is a common medical recommendation to address this issue, even though it may leave the child more susceptible to other types of respiratory issues and infections.

In this case, a mother brought her 2-year-old daughter to the chiropractor for a consultation and possible care. The girl was suffering with swollen tonsils and adenoids which was causing sleep problems. Her sleep disturbances observed by her mother included snoring, mouth breathing, choking in her sleep, and waking up on average three times per night.

Several months prior to the chiropractic visit, the girl's mother took her to the pediatrician and related that her daughter was having the variety of symptoms she had been observing. Her MD diagnosed the girl with hypertrophy (swelling) of the tonsils and/or adenoids. The child was prescribed medications and referred for surgery for removal of the adenoids and tonsils in a month.

A chiropractic evaluation was performed on the child which included a postural inspection and palpation. It was determined that subluxations were present. With the mother's permission, specific age-appropriate adjustments were started at the rate of two times per week.

The study reports that following the first adjustment, the child's mother reported that her daughter showed improved sleep, less snoring and was not waking up as often at night. Her mother estimated that the girl was 50% improved after just the first adjustment. As chiropractic care continued, the girl continued to show improvement. After 12 weeks of chiropractic care, the girl was examined by her pediatrician who stated that there was no evidence of swelling of the tonsils or adenoids and surgical intervention was longer necessary.

Chiropractic Creates Improvement in Strength and Balance in Stroke Patient

Posted: August 20, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Published in the December 12, 2019, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research is a case study documenting the improvement of a stroke victim in motor strength and balance after undergoing chiropractic care.

The study begins by noting that there are two categories of causes of stroke - ischemic and hemorrhagic. A hemorrhagic caused stroke means that there was a rupture in a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. An ischemic caused stroke, which is far more common accounting for over 80% of all strokes, is when there is an occlusion in a blood vessel that feeds a part of the brain.

The study reports that it is estimated that 17 million people suffer a stroke each year world-wide. As a result, approximately 5 million of these people suffer long-lasting physical disabilities following their stroke. They report, "One of the most commonly occurring and long-lasting physical deficits following a strokes is hemiparesis, which can impair limb movement and function and an individual’s ability to stand, balance or walk."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list several facts about stroke in the U.S. which include that "Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes." Additionally, "Stroke kills about 140,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths. Stroke costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed days of work."

In this case, a non-smoker 40-year-old man was suffering with right-sided lower limb weakness following an ischemic stroke seven years ago, presented himself to a chiropractor. After his stroke, the man received eight months of rehabilitation and Botox therapy to try to help reduce muscle tension. After his therapy, the man still suffered with lower back and right leg weakness. He remained active and continued to go to the gym regularly.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included a postural analysis, palpation, as well as Surface EMG (sEMG) and thermography studies. The determination from these tests was that there were multiple areas of vertebral subluxations present in the man's spine. A series of specific chiropractic adjustments were then started to address the subluxations.

The study states that on his third chiropractic visit, the man reported being aware of greater strength in his right leg, which continued throughout his care. As care continued, he also reported that his balance had improved. On his ninth visit, the man reported that his leg strength had improved to the point that he was able increase the weight he was using in his leg exercises.

In their discussion, the authors of the study stated, "This case documents a course of chiropractic care associated with the improvement in residual lower limb motor weakness and balance in a 40-year-old male who had experienced an ischemic stroke 7-years prior. Chiropractic care focused on the assessment and correction of vertebral subluxation." The authors further concluded, "This case provides supporting evidence that stroke survivors may benefit from chiropractic care."

Proper Sleep is Important for Your Health

Posted: August 12, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

During times of stress and crisis, proper sleep is more important that ever to help overall health and your ability to cope with difficult times. To help with this effort, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) published a paper on May 5, 2020, that offers "Tips for Better Sleep to Encourage Overall Health and Well-Being".

The F4CP paper begins by noting, "Staying up late and sleeping in may be a common habit for many Americans, but it could be harmful to our health. A study published this year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology comprised of nearly 2,000 people whose sleep patterns were tracked over three years found that those with irregular sleep schedules had a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease."

The NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute also stressed the importance of proper sleep on their website. "Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others."

The F4CP wants the public to know that the month of May is Better Sleep Month. Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president of F4CP, noted that proper structure is important for proper sleep. "With all of the overwhelming research demonstrating sleep’s health benefits, anyone experiencing disrupted or inadequate sleep for an extended period, for whatever physical or emotional causes, should seek help from a healthcare provider to help them find a solution," Dr. McAllister said. "Not only could correcting the cause of the disturbance improve their rest, but increased sleep quality and quantity will help them feel much better as well.

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) also stresses the importance of sleep on its website. "Sleep is vital to the normal biological and psychological/emotional functions that humans must engage in to survive. Sleep enables the body and mind to rejuvenate, reenergize, and restore. Sleep allows the brain to perform vital tasks such as organizing long-term memory, integrating new information, and repairing and renewing tissue, nerve cells and other essential biochemical processes."

The ICA offers some practical tips for proper sleeping which include avoiding sleeping on your stomach. But for those with chronic sleep issues, the ICA offered the following advice. "See a doctor of chiropractic if you continue to have trouble sleeping. If you consistently find yourself feeling tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder. Your family doctor of chiropractic can evaluate your needs and develop a personalized comprehensive care and wellness plan, and, if necessary make an appropriate referral to another professional or professionals."

Improvements in Heart Rate Variability Following Chiropractic Care

Posted: July 30, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

Improvements in Heart Rate Variability Following Chiropractic Care

In the journal The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research is the result of a case study published on June 29, 2020, documenting the improvement on heart rate variability of a patient under chiropractic care. The importance of heart rate variability is that is can shed light on the overall function of the autonomic nervous system.

The study begins by noting that "The autonomic nervous system is understood to have two branches, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system." It goes on to further explain that "Both branches of the autonomic nervous system play a critical role in the overall picture of health, as both are critically necessary in their own respect and must work in tandem for optimum health to be achieved."

The heart is predominantly under the control of the autonomic nervous system. In response to activities, the heart should vary the rate at which it beats. A lower rate of variability means the heart is not reacting properly to change which is an indicator of health issues. A higher heart rate variability, but not too high, is a healthier response.

Chiropractors have maintained that subluxations to the spine affect nerve system function. This could then have a negative effect on heart rate variability. In this study, a 38-year-old man went to the chiropractor primarily for lower back pain that started two weeks earlier.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included palpation, range of motion, spinal thermal scans, surface EMG scan and spinal x-rays. A significant reduction in the man’s spinal range of motion was noted. Additionally, a pulse wave profiler was utilized to determine the man’s heart rate variability to see if there could be subluxations affecting the autonomic nervous system.

The authors explained why this procedure was done by saying, "The effects of chiropractic care on autonomic dysfunction can be analyzed through heart rate variability. This helps determine one's overall ability to adapt to the environment."

From the examination, it was determined that subluxations were present. A series of specific chiropractic spinal adjustments were done to address the subluxations. On a subsequent re-examination, the man’s symptoms had improved. The pulse wave profiler was again used to access any changes to the heart rate variability. On this follow-up evaluation, significant increase in the heart rate variability was noted indicating improved function of the autonomic nervous system.

In their conclusion the study authors state, "Heart rate variability is demonstrated to be a valid and reliable indicator of overall health and indicates that a decreased heart rate variability is consistent with poor health and autonomic function." They go on to say, "Evidence supports that chiropractic care should be utilized for individuals who demonstrate autonomic dysfunction."

Milk Production Dysfunction Resolved Under Chiropractic Care

Posted: July 14, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on March 5, 2020, documenting the chiropractic resolution of a case of a mother who was unable to produce enough milk for her newborn twins.

The author of the study begins by noting the importance of the problem of milk production. "Unsuccessful breastfeeding is an issue that is affecting most of the world and is becoming more of a recognized problem by lactation consultants, pediatricians, midwives and alternative healthcare providers." The author reports that most of the studies related to chiropractic and lactation are related to the baby's inability to latch to the mother and suckle properly.

The positive effects of breastfeeding are well documented. The study reports, "The benefits of breastfeeding to the infant are not merely nutritional in value. When comparing breastfed to formula fed babies, studies also show a decrease in the risk of newborn diseases, such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea as well as many other long term conditions including obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma and many other chronic illnesses."

In this case study, a 36-year-old woman who had delivered twins two weeks earlier sought chiropractic care because of her inability to produce enough milk during nursing. She also suffered from pain in her right upper back and neck into her right shoulder. The study noted that the woman was growing more depressed about the struggle to produce breast milk.

A chiropractic examination showed a reduction of spinal range of motion in the woman's neck along with multiple areas of muscle spasm. It was determined that subluxations were present in the woman's lower neck and upper back areas. Specific chiropractic adjustments were given to address the issues found.

The study recorded that immediately after her adjustment the mother felt more relaxed and had full range of motion in her neck, upper back and shoulder areas. She also commented that she felt an increased blood flow to her arm and hand.

Later after her first adjustment, the woman contacted the chiropractor's office to report that she was able to produce much more milk, doubling the amount she was previously able to produce. Follow-up evaluations showed continued improvement in her range of motions as well as continued success in breastfeeding. The woman also reported her stress levels were much lower and she was feeling happier and emotionally more stable.

In the study conclusion the author wrote, "An important and overlooked variable in successful nursing is the nursing mother's health and wellness. Removing subluxations in her nervous system has the potential to allow her body to respond properly to nursling and recover from the stress of labor and delivery. A healthy nervous system and a nursing relationship should be a priority to both the mother and the baby and also their healthcare provider."

Become a Least Vulnerable Person and Family

Posted: July 11, 2020
By: 100 Year Lifestyle

You and your family can take steps right now and become ‘Least Vulnerable People’. Here are 15 things you can stop doing and start doing that will make a difference.

Becoming A ‘Least Vulnerable Person’

There is growing concern about COVID-19, the flu, and other infectious diseases affecting the most vulnerable people. Who are these most vulnerable people and what choices can you make for yourself and your family to become a Least Vulnerable Person. Fortunately, most of these options are under your control!

Who Are The Most Vulnerable People


Elderly people are the most at-risk population for infection and serious complications due to COVID-19 or any other virus. The reason is not just because of their age. In fact, there was a recent report of a 102-year-old woman who recovered from the COVID-19 virus. What makes them most vulnerable is that many of them are living lifestyles that include all of the additional factors listed below.

Underlying Health Conditions

People with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions, are more vulnerable as well. Their immune systems are already stressed and challenged, which makes them less able to ward off other types of infections.



Polypharmacy is a term used for people who take multiple medications. This can alter blood and brain chemistry causing immunosuppression, hindering the body’s innate ability to fight infections.

Marlo Sollitto, author of Polypharmacy in the Elderly, states that “Being on too many medications can lead to potentially dangerous drug interactions and exposure to many side effects at once. Keep in mind that this applies not to just prescriptions, but also over-the-counter medications… The average adult takes four or more prescription drugs each day.”


According to the National Institute of Health, obesity, and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the US, close behind tobacco usage. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic.

Poor Posture

Chiropractors have been labeled Essential Service Providers by the US Department of Homeland Security, which is why we are open, taking the proper precautions, and serving our community.

Poor posture can make you more vulnerable by increasing stress, reducing lung capacity, straining muscles, causing fatigue and contributing to many other factors that affect your immune system.  A recent Harvard study showed that people who sat with good posture showed a 25% decrease in Cortisol, the stress hormone.


On average, Americans sit for about 11 hours per day. Sedentary lifestyles are a contributing factor to every lifestyle disease and a risk factor including cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Erin Michos, the associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease explains “A large review of studies published in 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that even after adjusting for physical activity, sitting for long periods was associated with worse health outcomes including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Sedentary behavior can also increase your risk of dying, either from heart disease or other medical problems.”


Smoking is known to compromise the immune system. This increases the risk for many immune and autoimmune disorders, conditions that occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues.

Becoming aLeast Vulnerable Person’

Here are some important lifestyle changes you can make to help you and your loved ones become ‘Less Vulnerable People’.

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology can improve your health and immune system function. According to Johns Hopkins expert, Lisa Yanek, people with a family history of heart disease who had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or cardiovascular event within 5-25 years compared to those with a negative outlook.

Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology compared optimistic vs. pessimistic first-year law students regarding their performance in the upcoming school year. The study showed better functioning immune cells in the optimistic students versus the pessimistic students.

Physical Activity

Physical activity and movement is a keystone in maintaining optimal health. A study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science illustrated the following:

  • Acute exercise is an immune system adjuvant
  • A clear inverse relationship was found between moderate exercise training and illness risk
  • Habitual exercise improves immune regulation, delaying the onset of age-related dysfunction

Reduce Stress and Get Plenty of Sleep

Stress is not an outside thing, it’s an inside thing. You have the opportunity to choose how you react to any situation. It is true that chronic stress reduces the capabilities of your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to disease. According to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D and author of the Biology of Belief, your body cannot be in positive production mode and defense mode at the same time. He explains this concept in detail in this video.

Quality sleep is important. Minimize your stress so that you sleep well. This will certainly make you reduce your vulnerability.

Improve the Function of Your Nervous System

Your nervous system is your body’s main communication highway, relaying nerve signals to every single, cell, tissue and organ in the entire body, allowing the body to perform all vital functions in order to sustain life. It is ESSENTIAL to maintain the integrity of this communication highway in order to live a healthy lifestyle. More importantly, the nervous system supplies communication to the thymus, spleen, adrenal glands, and lymph glands, all of which play pivotal roles in the function of your immune system.

Chiropractic care improves posture which can improve the health of your nervous system In addition, correcting spinal imbalances can influence basic physiological processes affecting oxidative stress and DNA repair. Reducing oxidative stress is an important factor in immune function.

In a study by Ronald Pero Ph.D, subjects under chiropractic care demonstrated higher mean serum thiol levels than patients with active disease and produced some values that were higher than normal wellness values.

Social Interaction

Community equals immunity. The NCBI states that Social relationships-both quantity and quality- affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk…..Social isolation of otherwise healthy, well-functioning individuals eventually results in psychological and physical disintegration, and even death.

Good nutrition

Make good nutrition your new lifestyle by choosing QCs over ECs, quality calories over empty calories, every time you’re faced with a food choice. A proper nutritional regimen consisting of lean proteins, organic green leafy vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of monounsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds are important to help provide your body what it needs to be healthy, and strong.

  • Choose Quality Calories over Empty Calories
  • Supplement Your Diet
  • Avoid Processed Foods
  • Avoid Canned Foods
  • Avoid White Rice, Sugar, Flour and Pasta
  • Avoid Regular and Diet Soda
  • Minimize Caffeine and Alcohol


Limiting technology use can improve your health dramatically. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, developmental delays, unintelligible speech, learning difficulties, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are associated with technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate.”1

Raise a Least Vulnerable Family

Apply these principles to raising your family and everyone you love will be healthier for it, becoming less vulnerable to infections and experiencing better health now and for a lifetime.

Immune Function and Chiropractic

Posted: July 8, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

On March 28, 2020, the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) released a 26 page report titled, "Immune Function and Chiropractic, What Does the Evidence Provide?" This comprehensive report looks at how immunity works, its relationship to the nerve system, and how chiropractic can have a positive effect on immune function.

The report establishes that the immune system is influenced by the function of the nerve system. "Considerable evidence has mounted to support active communication between the nervous system and the immune system. The nervous system, including the brain and the peripheral divisions can either stimulate or inhibit various activities of both the innate and adaptive immune systems."

Dr Steven Welsh, president of the ICA, clarified the relationship between immune function and chiropractic by saying, "Although there are no clinical trials to substantiate a direct causal relationship between the chiropractic adjustment and increased protection from the COVID-19 virus, there is a growing body of evidence that there is a relationship between the nervous system and the immune system."

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by D.D. Palmer, who asked the question 120 years ago as to the nature of infectious disease when he said, "One question was always uppermost in my mind in my search for the cause of disease. I desired to know why one person was ailing and his associate, eating at the same table working in the same shop, at the same bench, was not. Why? What difference was there in the two persons that caused one to have pneumonia, catarrh, typhoid or rheumatism, while his partner, similarly situated, escaped? Why?"

The report cites numerous other scientific studies and reports linking chiropractic to the effect on the nerve system, and in turn, the nerve system's affect on stress and immune function. The report notes, "As an essential health care provider, the chiropractor is in a unique position to assist their patients during this time of heightened stress. Although there are no clinical trials to substantiate a direct causal relationship between the chiropractic adjustment and increased protection from the COVID-19 virus, there is a growing body of evidence that there is a relationship between the nervous system and the immune system."

The reports conclusion states, "Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. It is founded upon the principle that the body’s innate recuperative power is affected by and integrated through the nervous system."

Improvement of Heart Rate Variability in Patients Undergoing Chiropractic

Posted: June 30, 2020
By: Dr. Meredith Oudt

In the December 2019 issue of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia are the results of a study documenting that patients who were under continuous chiropractic care showed an improvement in Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

According to Marcelo Campos, MD, in his article in the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing, "HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. This variation is controlled by a primitive part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system (ANS)." He points out that a high rate of HRV indicates a better ability to adapt and a healthier functioning nerve system. Conversely a lower HRV is associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetic neuropathy, depression, sleep disorders, and cancer.

As this study points out, vertebral subluxations create nerve system interference that can then affect HRV. The study states, "The primary objective of chiropractic care is to optimize health and wellbeing through the enhancement of nervous system function by reducing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxations." They continue by noting that the Australian Spinal Research Foundation defines vertebral subluxation as "a diminished state of being, comprising of a state of reduced coherence, altered biomechanical function, altered neurological function and altered adaptability."

In explaining the rational for this study the researcher noted, "Research over the past 2 decades has shown that the chiropractic adjustment (also referred to as chiropractic spinal manipulation in the chiropractic research literature) results in changes in spinal biomechanics and structure, central nervous system function, motor output, and autonomic output. while under chiropractic care."

In this study, 6 patients between the ages of 25 and 55 started chiropractic care for correction of subluxations. The patients were specifically screened to assure that medications or stressful life events would not create any changes in their HRV during this study. The three men and three woman each had their HRV monitored before they started chiropractic, and then routinely every 12 visits to see if correction of subluxations would affect their HRV. These results were also compared to HRVs from control patients who did not receive any chiropractic adjustments.

The results of the study showed a consistent and sustained improvement in HRV in each of the patients who received chiropractic care. There was not only an improvement in their HRV as compared to before starting chiropractic. There was also a demonstratable improvement between the 6 patients receiving chiropractic and the control patients who did not.

In discussing the results of the study, the authors noted, "This case series chronicles HRV changes of 6 adult patients receiving chiropractic care using (specific) adjusting techniques for the correction of vertebral subluxation. The data described here are consistent with immediate and long-lasting neurophysiological changes effected by chiropractic case management."

In the conclusion the authors wrote, "The data presented demonstrate a sustained improvement in HRV over a course of chiropractic care that is consistent with improved health outcomes."