A Problem in Both Military and Civilian Life

High blood pressure, also known as arterial hypertension, is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that some 37 million American adults have high blood pressure of 140/90 mm/Hg or higher. Clearly, high blood pressure afflicts people across all sectors of society, but combat veterans are particularly at risk. According to a University of Texas study for the Department of Defense published in 2020, veterans who have experienced combat are more at risk for hypertension than veterans with no combat experience.

The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment

It is not uncommon for hypertensive patients to experience a reduction in blood pressure under chiropractic care. This is probably not just a coincidence.

For example, most of the blood vessels in the body can widen (dilate) or close (constrict) in response to signals from sympathetic nerves. These nerves originate from the spine. For this reason, distorted position or movement of vertebra can stress these nerves, thereby disturbing the coordination of your blood vessels. One result can be hypertension. As chiropractic adjustments relieve stress on these nerves, blood vessels are expected to function more normally.

A 2007 medical-chiropractic collaborative study organized by the University of Chicago’s college of medicine found chiropractic adjustments to be as effective as two simultaneous anti-hypertensive drugs in decreasing the blood pressure of hypertensive patients.

My practice partner – Dr. Marion Todres-Masarsky – and I were part of a medical-chiropractic collaborative paper on the potential role of chiropractic care in improving the health of patients with cardiovascular problems, including hypertension. We have also produced an educational video on one of the possible complications of hypertension – congestive heart failure. This video – “Cousin Louie’s Paws” – includes information on a heart-healthy lifestyle. To access it, go to and select “YouTube”.

Sources For This Article

Howard, Jeffrey T; Stewart, Ian J; Kolaja, Claire A; Sosnov, Jonathan A; Rull, Rudolph P; Torres, Isaias; Janak, Jud C; Walker, Lauren E; Trone, Daniel W; Armenta, Richard F. Hypertension in military veterans is associated with combat exposure and combat injury. J Hypertens, 2020; 38(7):1293-1301. Abstract:

CDC. High Blood Pressure. Full text:

Cohen DJ, Schulman S, Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M. The Kaleidoscope Model of Integrative Healthcare as a Collaborative Paradigm for Cardiology and Chiropractic: A Call to Action. Integr Med Res, 2018; 7(1): 1-8. Full text:

Bakris G., Dickholtz M., Meyer P.M., Kravitz G., Avery E., Miller M. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. J Hum Hyperten. 2007;21:347–352. Abstract:

About the Author While serving as a medical specialist (MOS 91-B) in the U.S. Army Reserve, Dr. Masarsky earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College (now Northeast College of Health Sciences) in 1981. He is in the private practice of chiropractic in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC with his wife and partner, Dr. Marion Todres-Masarsky. For further information or appointments, contact Dr. Masarsky at 703-938-6441 or His practice’s newsletters, doctors’ biographies, published clinical papers, and You Tube channel can be accessed at this website:

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