Objective: The purpose of this pilot sham-controlled clinical trial was to estimate the treatment effect and safety of toggle recoil spinal manipulation for blood pressure management.
Methods: Fifty-one participants with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension (systolic blood pressure ranging from 135 to 159 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ranging from 85 to 99 mm Hg) were allocated by an adaptive design to 2 treatments: toggle recoil spinal manipulation or a sham procedure. Participants were seen by a doctor of chiropractic twice weekly for 6 weeks and remained on their antihypertensive medications, as prescribed, throughout the trial. Blood pressure was assessed at baseline and after study visits 1, 6 (week 3), and 12 (week 6), with the primary end point at week 6. Analysis of covariance was used to compare mean blood pressure changes from baseline between groups at each end point, controlling for sex, age, body mass index, and baseline blood pressure.
Results: Adjusted mean change from baseline to week 6 was greater in the sham group (systolic, −4.2 mm Hg; diastolic, −1.6 mm Hg) than in the spinal manipulation group (systolic, 0.6 mm Hg; diastolic, 0.7 mm Hg), but the difference was not statistically significant. No serious and few adverse events were noted.
Conclusions: Six weeks of toggle recoil spinal manipulation did not lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure when compared with a sham procedure. No serious adverse events from either treatment were reported. Our results do not support a larger clinical trial. Further research to understand the potential mechanisms of action involving upper cervical manipulation on blood pressure is warranted before additional clinical investigations are conducted.
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