Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How A Pain In The Neck Could Be Bad For Your Blood Pressure

Date:
August 2, 2007
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
A chance discovery in the lab has helped scientists to show how the treatment for a stiff neck could do wonders for your blood pressure. Researchers have examined pathways between the neck and the brain to show how the neck muscles could play a crucial role in controlling blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.

A chance discovery in the lab has helped University of Leeds scientists to show how the treatment for a stiff neck could do wonders for your blood pressure.

Chiropractors have long known that tackling pain and stiffness by "cracking" the neck through manipulation can also lower blood pressure -- but the reasons were never clear.

Now a team led by Professor Jim Deuchars has examined pathways between the neck and the brain to show how the neck muscles could play a crucial role in controlling blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.

Their study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, provides the first evidence for a role for these connections in influencing brain regions which control body functions that we don't need to think about, such as breathing and blood pressure.

The area of the brain where the signals from the neck terminate were first identified by "Godfather of Neuroscience" Ramon Y Cajal, more than 100 years ago, though its function was not understood. What happened after these signals arrived remained a largely-overlooked area of research until new techniques allowed the Leeds team to take the work forward.

Their work began by chance, as Prof Deuchars explained: "Cells in the area that receive neck signals jumped out at us when we labelled sections with particular markers. We wanted to know how these cells were organised and the other brain regions to which they were connected."

The team, which includes researchers from Japan and Hungary, found a link between these cells and the nucleus tractus solitarius, an area of the brain that is pivotal in control of autonomic functions - body functions under unconscious control. They propose that nervous signals from the neck could play a key role in ensuring that adequate blood supply is maintained to the brain as we change posture, such as from lying down to standing up. Where such signalling fails, we can suffer problems with balance and blood pressure.

The findings offer a clear rationale for manipulative treatments: "Reports from chiropractic journals say that manipulating the neck region helps to reduce blood pressure in some people," Prof Deuchars explained. "By identifying the pathways we can see why these treatments might work and it could also explain why some people suffering whiplash injuries may experience a change in their blood pressure."

"The work also contributes to understanding postural hypotension -- fainting which can be caused by standing up too fast. The neck muscles could be a part of the system which normally prevents this from happening by sending signals to the brain upon neck movement that posture has changed."

More research is now needed to see which sensory nerve fibres and precisely which cells are involved in the process. Amongst other things, the team would now like to know what other brain regions the neck muscle termination site connects to. They believe that there are many malfunctions associated with whiplash injuries to the neck that could be better understood by unravelling these connections. They hope that this knowledge could be used to design more effective treatments for such injuries.

The article "The Neurochemically Diverse Intermedius Nucleus of the Medulla as a Source of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synaptic Input to the Nucleus Tractus Solitarii" (JN-RM-0638-07.R1) is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "How A Pain In The Neck Could Be Bad For Your Blood Pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802090711.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2007, August 2). How A Pain In The Neck Could Be Bad For Your Blood Pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802090711.htm
University of Leeds. "How A Pain In The Neck Could Be Bad For Your Blood Pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802090711.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) — The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins