Primary Hypertension



The following is a case study of reduction in primary hypertension in a 35-year old male following upper cervical chiropractic care with no other influencing factors.

A study in the Journal of Human Hypertension examined the effects of an atlas adjustment on blood pressure. Results showed that restoration of atlas alignment was associated with marked and sustained reductions in blood pressure, similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy1.

It was postulated that alterations in atlas anatomy can generate changes in the vertebral circulation that may be associated with high blood pressure.

Unlike other vertebrae, which interlock one to the next, the atlas relies solely upon soft tissue (muscles and ligaments) to maintain alignment. The atlas is therefore uniquely vulnerable to displacement. Displacement of C1 is pain free and thus remains undiagnosed and untreated (below) whereas other health-related consequences can be attributed to specific causes1.

atlas subluxation misalignment

Secondary hypertension has an identifiable cause, such as renovascular disease, whereas primary hypertension has no known cause. Primary hypertension accounts for 95% of all cases of high blood pressure2 and in recent years research has suggested that changes in endothelial (blood vessel wall) function may cause an increase in blood vessel tone due to oxidative stress, insulin resistance, inflammation, and poor nervous system function resulting in increased levels of angiotensin II (below).

hypertension angiotensin II

All patients with high blood pressure should be questioned about a history of trauma, especially whiplash from a motor vehicle accident, contact sports injury, or serious falls. People often forget these accidents, thinking that they were not hurt because they did not break any bones and were not bleeding.

Minor misalignment of the atlas vertebra can potentially injure and/or compromise brainstem neural pathways resulting in changes in blood pressure1

A 35-year old male presented with an average blood pressure of 142mmHg from May to October 2014. Upper cervical chiropractic care commenced on October 10, 2014. Following consistent chiropractic care over a 3-month period, the patient’s blood pressure reduced to an average of 126mmHg from October to December 2014 (see graph below).

This result is consistent with the results of the study mentioned above. No other medical treatment or intervention was utilised at any time. All blood pressure recordings were taken daily by the patient electronically.

Hypertension can be a multifactorial problem and any treatment provided should always be done so in the context of the patient’s presenting health problems and lifestyle issues. In this case study, upper cervical chiropractic care alone was able to alter neurovascular tone sufficiently to lower the patient’s blood pressure. Results have been maintained through to 2015.

SM systolic BP (2)

© 2015 Spinewave

Further reading:


  1. Bakris, G, et al. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2007. 21(5): 347-52.
  2. Carretero, OA, et al. Essential hypertension. Circulation. 2000. 101: 329-335.

Nausea, bloating and constipation

Nausea, bloating and constipation are common and often non-specific symptoms.

Patients can present with one or all three symptoms and not even realise they are constipated. Surprisingly, 50 percent of people who complain of nausea, bloating or constipation have normal bowel movements1.

normal colon chiropractic

In health, the right colon usually functions as a reservoir, mixing contents, while the left colon functions as a conduit. In constipated people, measurement of colonic transit may reveal segmental (right-sided, left-sided or rectosigmoid) delays in colonic movement2.

The term “slow transit constipation” refers to a clinical syndrome attributable to ineffective colonic propulsion3. Sometimes patients complain of constipation but there is no underlying systemic disorder or pelvic floor dysfunction that explains the symptoms. There will be no pathological finding on imaging either. The person may complain of other symptoms such as nausea, bloating, painful or irregular periods, urinary hesitancy, cold hands or fainting. These are called “extragastrointestinal” symptoms.

colonic inertia B&W chiropractic

Potential causes of this subtle problem can be wide and varied, such as medications, pain killers, allergies to certain foods, candida, stress, anxiety or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. However, the underlying mechanism of slow transit constipation is reduced colonic contractile activity, which needs to be kick started again. This is called “colonic inertia”. The image above shows normal colonic contractions following a 1,000 kcal meal.

Symptoms such as abdominal bloating, discomfort and nausea are attributed to delayed colonic transit with “back up” of contents and perhaps bowel distention3

Read more

Autism Spectrum Disorder

JCCP chiropractic autism

This was a Spinewave case on autism from several years ago that has undergone many iterations of scientific write-up by students for paediatric journals but has only now been published following the final successful attempt by Karen Singh.

The published case

Chiropractic James AutismA 7-year-old male diagnosed at 14-months of age with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presented for chiropractic care. History examination revealed the patient had daily chronic diarrhoea and nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting). Despite being verbally reluctant and having limited receptive language, the patient maintained good eye contact with a noticeable exotropia of the right eye. He also had various self-stimulatory behaviours such as hand flapping, which turned into temper tantrums.

At age two he began applied behavioral analysis treatment (ABA) for his toe walking. After three years of this therapy little improvement had occurred. He appeared to be unaware of his environment and the emotions of people around him, and did not tolerate other children in his physical space.

The patient also displayed fixative behaviours associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, watching the same movie multiple times and sleeve chewing. He was allergic to pollen, dust mites, horses, cats and dogs. He also suffered from asthma, which was managed by daily medications, namely Ventolin®, Severent® and Becotide®.

The patient’s response to chiropractic care was monitored by his parents, in addition to clinical observations made during his visits to the chiropractor. Within 6 visits, spanning a period of 4 weeks, the patient’s right eyed exotropia had normalized, his nocturnal enuresis had reduced from 6 nights a week to 2 nights per week and he had consistent and regular bowel movements at 8AM every morning.

Within 2 months of beginning chiropractic care the patient went to the toilet by himself for the first time; his sleeve chewing and toe walking had also resolved. His parents noted several other positive behaviours including more awareness and reduced incidents of temper tantrums.


download JCCPAlcantra, J., et al. Improvement in a pediatric patient with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) following a trial of chiropractic care: a case report. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. 2014 Vol 14(3): 1183-1186.

The original story

With reference to chiropractic care by Dr Neil Bossenger on James Cunnington:

James was diagnosed with severe autism at 14 months, he is now seven. James is non-verbal, though he does have receptive language skills. He is not yet toileting himself consistently. He toe walks and constantly chews his sleeves. He has good eye contact, though his right eye roams. He flaps and has various other self-stimulatory behaviours and as well as a lot of diarrhoea. He has temper tantrums when his needs are not being met.

Chiropractic James Autism Before
Poor concentration
Sleep problems
Toe walking
Sleeve chewing
Temper tantrums
Eye roaming (exotropia)

James started with applied behaviour analysis treatment at age two and continued with this for four to five years with only small positive results. He has had dietary interventions; gluten/casein free and supplements with no positive results.

James started chiropractic care and had positive results.

Very quickly, his right eye stopped roaming, his diarrhoea decreased, and his temper tantrums decreased. After 1 to 2 months of care his sleeve chewing and toe walking had almost completely stopped. He has also had other several positive new behaviours including improvements and more awareness of toileting.

Spinewave Chiropractic James After
Improved demeanour
Reduced eye roaming (exotropia)
Normalised bowel habits
Fewer temper tantrums
Tantrums less severe
Reduced sleeve chewing
Reduced toe walking
Self awareness when toileting
New positive social behaviours
Receptive to touch
Reduced bedwetting
Improved asthma symptoms

I would highly recommend Neil Bossenger. He is a highly knowledgeable, skilled and experienced chiropractor. He is very patient and understanding with autistic behaviours and has a good rapport with kids.

Andy Cunnington

© 2015 Spinewave

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