According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Approximately 600,000 people die annually from heart disease. Men made up more than half of those deaths in just one year (2009). Furthermore, the CDC estimates that approximately 720,000 Americans per year will have a heart attack. Most of these are first-time heart attacks (515,000). The combined annual cost of health care, medication, and lost productivity due to coronary disease is $109 billion. Given this huge cost of heart disease, both in terms of medical care and lost time from work, Dr. Nathen Horst believes that chiropractic care can offer a safe, effective means to treat certain heart conditions at a fraction of the cost of traditional treatments. Heart palpitations are a very good example of the types of heart conditions that can be treated with chiropractic spinal adjustments.
What Are Heart Palpitations?
According to the Mayo Clinic, heart palpitations are the sensation of a rapid, pounding, skipping, or fluttering heartbeat. This sensation is usually harmless and will usually only last for a short period of time. Heart palpitations can sometimes be felt in the neck, throat, or chest. They can occur either during activity (such as exercise) or while standing, sitting, or lying down.
In most cases, heart palpitations are caused by strenuous exercise, stress, or certain medications. They may also be caused by excess caffeine intake. In rare cases, heart palpitations may be due to a serious medical condition, such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Patients should seek immediate medical care if they feel faint or dizzy, out of breath, or have any chest discomfort or pain.
Standard Treatment for Heart Palpitations
Unless there is an underlying heart condition, such as arrhythmia, most heart palpitations are best treated with changes to lifestyle and diet. Patients should cut back on or avoid coffee, energy drinks, or teas that contain caffeine. Avoiding smoking can also reduce heart palpitations. Patients should also consider ways to reduce stress, such as through meditation or yoga classes.
Spinal Adjustment to Treat Heart Palpitations
Chiropractic adjustments work to relieve pressure on nerves, thereby reducing pain and stress on various parts of the body. Because the spine serves as the main conduit for the central nervous system, a spinal adjustment can directly relieve pressure on the central nervous system. In the case of the heart, a chiropractic adjustment to the cervical (neck) region of the spine can lower blood pressure, which will in turn reduce the heart rate, and thus reduce the occurrence of heart palpitations. Chiropractic adjustments to the thoracic (chest) region of the spine can more directly reduce heart palpitations by minimizing the pressure on nerves surrounding the heart.
Of course, chiropractic care is a very vital part of a lifestyle devoted to health and wellness. Regular chiropractic care, particularly cervical and thoracic spinal adjustments should be considered part of any treatment for heart palpitations that is designed to reduce stress and anxiety.