High Blood Pressure & the Neck
ABC News, "Good Morning America" Reports on Shocking New Blood Pressure Research... Medical Study Reveals Amazing NECK Treatment That Reduces Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients... Without Medication

     By Dr. Donald Liebell

   Dr. Timothy Johnson is one of the nation's most respected health information correspondents.  He provides on-air commentary on medical news for ABC's "Good Morning America," World News Tonight," "Nightline," and "20/20."  In this news segment, Dr. Johnson revealed the latest breakthrough in the treatment of high blood pressure: a specialized treatment to the upper neck (upper cervical spine).  A placebo-controlled study published in the March 2nd, 2008 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension revealed a significant lowering of blood pressure through upper cervical chiropractic adjustments

     The results of the research study conducted at the Department of Preventative Medicine, Rush University Hypertension Center in Chicago were astonishing.  The author of this study is Dr. George Bakiris, M.D., the director of the Hypertension Center, University of Chicago Medical Center.  According to Dr. Bakiris, “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination…and it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.”

    The procedure involves delicate re-alignment of the first bone of the neck—the Atlas Vertebra. It seems more like a feat of sophisticated engineering, rather than medicine.  There are very few doctors in the world who are licensed, trained and board certified in this amazing discipline, a specialty within the chiropractic profession.  The atlas vertebra, the 2-ounce bone that holds up your head, can get stuck out of position less than half a millimeter.  Although you can’t feel it, the effects can be far-reaching.  Researchers suggest that injury to the atlas affects artery and nerve function near the base of the brain. 

     This is particularly significant because the atlas is easily injured from physical trauma including auto accidents, falls, sports, head injuries, etc.  Another research study on the effect of Atlas procedures was published in the Journal of Whiplash and Related Disorders. It revealed that the same type of precision upper neck re-alignment produced amazing results with chronic pain due to neck trauma.  

    The research studies recently published in medical journals and reported by Dr. Johnson, merely confirm what we upper cervical chiropractic specialists have been certain of for some time—that tiny misalignments of the upper neck can be the cause of high blood pressure and many painful conditions; and that proper treatment can correct the cause.  Larger medical studies on blood pressure and the Atlas Vertebra are being organized, as well as studies on headaches. It is quite possible that this news may be relevant to people who have had head or neck trauma earlier in life.

    I must make the disclaimer that we are by no means telling the public that misalignment of the atlas vertebra is the lone cause of high blood pressure.  Nor are we suggesting that people with high blood pressure should stop current medical treatment to pursue Atlas Vertebra treatment.  Hypertension (high blood pressure) can have many causes.  Atlas vertebra misalignment may be a factor in many cases.  It is critical for physicians of every discipline and specialty to consider every possible cause.  In my practice I treat structural misalignment of the spine.

NOTE: I do not claim to directly treat blood pressure.  Any patient who seeks my care because of the information reported by the Journal of Human Hypertension and "Good Morning America" should understand that I will consider their case in conjunction with their primary medical doctor or other specialist.

    Atlas misalignment is often NOT accompanied by pain.  But It is not (at this point in time) considered within the scope of chiropractic practice to treat a hypertension patient unless they have an accompanying painful condition related to the spine.  High blood pressure patients will be considered as possible candidates for treatment only if they also have a conditions related to the spine, joints, muscles and nerves as well.  One must have misalignment of the Atlas Vertebra, which can be correlated with such conditions as pain in the: neck, back, shoulder, hip, knee, foot, headaches, Fibromyalgia, whiplash injuries, etc.  Such misalignment as indicated by the medical study, can only be determined by one of the rare Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) who have received additional post-doctorate certification and training in Upper Cervical Chiropractic procedures. 

     There are several upper cervical procedures that are used worldwide: na
Atlas Orthogol (AO), NUCCA, Blair, Knee-Chest (also known as "Kale"), Toggle-recoil.  All of these upper cervical chiropractic techniques are based on the same scientific principles.  Each technique requires a sophisticated mathematical x-ray analysis to create the "blueprint" for specific adjustment of the atlas vertebra.  There are subtle differences between each method, but all are highly effective.  I am certified in two upper cervical procedures: Atlas Orthogonal and Knee-chestThe Atlas Orthogonal procedure is done with a sound vibration instrument.  The Kale or "Knee-chest" method is done by hand.  The letters "B.C.A.O." that appear after my name, stand for: Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist.  

    Consistent with my holistic health care philosophy, I consider all aspects of health, fitness, diet, and lifestyle.  Diet and exercise are subject matters for which I am passionate and knowledgeable.  Evidence suggests that this is highly relevant to hypertension.  If you are interested in the possibility of specialized upper cervical treatment (Atlas Vertebra adjustments) helping to lower your blood pressure, I can certainly evaluate your case.  I will however, expect your medical doctor to work with me, and be in charge of monitoring that aspect of your case.
   An important note to all prospective patients, as well as medical physicians: All patients that I accept for treatment (as appropriate to my scope of practice) are advised to report to their primary medical physician for blood pressure monitoring and all non-chiropractic issues.  I will not, and do not at any time, make any recommendations regarding blood pressure medication (nor any other medications).  That is solely the role of your M.D.  I treat misalignment of the upper neck, which this research implicates as a cause of hypertension.  I do not claim to treat high blood pressure.  The research study confirms the knowledge that such upper neck misalignment is one cause of elevated blood pressure.  In the light of this groundbreaking medical study, I look forward to working with patients and local medical doctors to help people get healthier, and to further research by compiling case studies.

   If you do not live in the Virginia Beach area, and you are looking for a doctor who specializes in this type procedure, please go to: www.upcspine.com, which is a patient advocate, non-profit organization site, where you will find an international doctor directory.


Update 2015: New Study Reveals MORE Evidence that Chiropractic Spinal Treatment Can Lower Blood Pressure - Click HERE to Learn More 

Plus, Click HERE to Learn About the Medical Research that Reveals that Acupuncture Can Help Reduce Hypertension Too!


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Although I receive lots of questions daily, I do respond to all of them (in the order received), usually within 48 hours.  Please understand that my answers are for general information only.  I cannot provide specific medical advice via email; that can only be provided through proper evaluation in my office.  For appointments, please call my office.  

   Your email address or other information is confidential; I wll never share it with anyone, nor will it be used for any form of solicitation.   I look forward to your questions! 

                                                     - Dr. Donald Liebell

Dr. Donald Liebell
D.C., B.C.A.O, B.A.

477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(757) 631-9799

Good Morning America
Dr. Timothy Johnson

Upper Cervical Chiropractic
and Reducing Hypertension


WVEC-TV Lasalle Blanks with Dr. Donald Liebell


ABC News Healthbeat