Have you ever been a part of one of those great conversations, at a time when you least expected it, that leaves you thinking about how awesome life can be?  That makes you appreciate what you have and stop all the silly worrying about what you don't?

Well, I was privileged enough to have one of those conversations last weekend.  My wife and I sat down with my grandparents for a great meal and a fascinating discussion about life.  It was insightful, it was engaging, and it really put things into perspective.  I walked away from it thinking about the little things in life - which I've written about at length in the past - and how those things should overshadow all the potential daily concerns we all seem to have.  My grandpa was doing a lot of the storytelling and talk eventually lead to the prospect of him writing a book - or at least putting his memoirs on paper.  After 2 hours of listening, I felt more on purpose and focused than I had in weeks.  Please write that book, Papa...imagine what hours of reading could do for us...

So, 'tis the season to be jolly.  Be jolly.  Enjoy the things in life that matter most.  You only live once - make the most of it. 

Condition of the week: High Blood Pressure

Normal "blood pressure" was developed from a large clinical trial.  For each participant, the pressure was measured for both the process of blood circulating throughout the body (what is called systole) and the reverse process of blood returning to the heart (diastole).  The averages were taken to give us the standard, mean BP.  Hypertension is a condition in which the pressure needed to pump blood to the body via the arteries and pump blood back to the heart via the veins rises above that long established "normal" level.  To this point, "essential" hypertension, the broad category that makes up for about 95% of all high blood pressure cases, remains without a cause - according to the medical profession.  Let's try to find one.

The heart is a vital organ - a muscle.  The aforementioned systole and diastole processes result from the heart contracting (to pump blood out of the heart) and relaxing (to allow blood to re-fill the heart).    All that 120/80 stuff you hear...that's 120 (systolic pressure) / 80 (diastolic pressure).  Pretty simple, yet very important function.  Well, just like any other vital organ, it is controlled by the brainstem and nerve system.  In this case, the brainstem is directly responsible for the heart and its function.  It sends signals to the heart through the four nerves that supply each of the four chambers to the heart - boom - your heart beats and does what it needs to do. 

The brainstem is located in the most delicate, sensitive area of the body - where the upper cervical spine meets the base of the skull to protect the brainstem.  Throw out the term alignment.  When we hear alignment, we think bone cracking, right?  So, let's use the word "arrange."  The anatomy that surrounds the brainstem is arranged in such a way that protects, yet does not interfere it.  However, the area is easy to injure.  Held in place only be eight tiny muscles, the C1 vertebra has a particularly difficult time staying arranged properly with the base of the skull - that spot where the head and neck meet.  If not arranged properly, the first cervical vertebra can place abnormal irritation on the brainstem, interfering with its ability to do its vitally important job - a part of which is to call down to the heart what it needs to do, how it needs to do it, and how often it needs to be doing it. 

When this "re-arrangement" occurs, the brainstem's signals to the heart become distorted.  That distortion, in a large part of the population, causes the heart to beat too fast, thus leading to the pressure increasing in order to more quickly drive the blood to and from the heart.  Removing that irritation to the brainstem and, thus, properly arranging the bones around the brainstem, is a proven method to lowering blood pressure - for obvious reasons.  A University of Chicago Medical Center study involving Upper Cervical corrections vs. traditional medications was conducted.  The results supported that one upper cervical specific correction was more effective than any medication for lowering BP.  Given what you now know...does that surprise you?

Give the gift of knowledge for Christmas - tell your friends about upper cervical care...

Thinking good things for you, as always,

Dr. Chad

PS- I'm trying to find another Christmas poem from which to do another special holiday edition of Weekly Well-Being.  Any ideas?