A unique study was published in the July 30, 2018, issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research that showed that populations with a higher concentration of chiropractors in the community had fewer cases of hypertension. The study looked at populations within the U.S. and compared concentrations of chiropractors and medical practitioners in certain communities.
The author of this study started with a stated basic premise, “As concentrations of health care practitioners increases, access to their services is expected to also increase, with an expected decrease in adverse health outcomes (such as hypertension mortality rates).” This study was designed to see if there was a correlating increase in health, as it relates to blood pressure, with an increase in the number of chiropractors.
The author notes that blood pressure was selected as a means of measurement because there had been prior studies showing that chiropractic adjustments caused a decrease in blood pressure. Prior research had shown that there was a statistically significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressures in 18 patients with hypertension following chiropractic adjustments of the upper cervical spine. Several additional case studies seemed to confirm these findings as well.
The study points out that about two-thirds of chiropractors in the U.S. address correcting subluxations. Since subluxations create neurological changes which have been shown to affect blood pressure, it is reasonable to assume that more chiropractors in a given area would be correcting more subluxations in the community, resulting in a decrease in the diagnosis of hypertension in that population.
In this study, mortality rates for hypertension per 100,000 were obtained for each U.S. state and the District of Columbia, except for Alaska and Wyoming, which did not have that data. The number of chiropractors for each of those states was then obtained from the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards. In addition, the number of active medical doctors was obtained from the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
These numbers were then compared with the populations for each of those states to get the number of medical doctors and chiropractors per 10,000 people. The death rate for hypertension for each of those states and D.C. was compared to the practitioner numbers to see what the possible correlations could be.
After crunching all the numbers, it was shown that there was no statistical decrease in the number of hypertensive deaths with an increase in medical doctors in that state. However, the report notes that there was a statistically significant benefit and decrease in the number of hypertensive deaths associated with an increase in the ratio of chiropractors in that state’s population.
The study extrapolated these numbers to predict the benefits of having additional chiropractors in a given population, “Thus, for every average increase of one DC per 10,000 population nationally (within the range of these data, which was 1.0 to 5.2 DCs per 10,000 population), a corresponding average national decrease of approximately one death per 100,000 population is expected.”