How Massage Therapy can be beneficial to patients suffering from Hypertension and Greater Occipital Nerve Neuralgia

Approximately 55 million Americans are diagnosed with essential hypertension. Physicians diagnose essential hypertension following an examination for kidney dysfunction, which can secondarily evoke hypertension. A tumor on the adrenal gland, as well as narrowing of the aorta, can be the other causes of secondary high blood pressure. If the above-mentioned causes can be excluded, the patient is diagnosed as having essential hypertension.

In 1973, at the Leningrad School of Medicine in Russia, a group of scientists completed studies to establish that in some cases of hypertension (especially in people suffering from neck spondylosis and over-tensed muscles), people develop vertebral artery syndrome. This syndrome produces not only headaches, but also high blood pressure. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people were treated by a team of professionals following a prescribed protocol. Medical Massage and post-isometric relaxation techniques were used to treat these patients.

The vertebral arteries supply arterial blood to the back part of the brain. The vertebral artery is located on each side, in the lateral part of the cervical spine. If muscles become over-tensed (due to spondylosis or emotional/physical overstress) they can actually compress the vertebral artery to the point that this obstruction will decrease the amount of blood supply to the brain. Approximately 2,000 quarts of blood needs to be supplied to the brain every 24 hours. The brain has special sensors to track this blood supply. 

When an obstruction leads to a decrease of blood supply to the brain, as a defense, the arteries constrict, and the blood pressure is raised to compensate for the compromised blood supply. It may not seem to make sense, but in this case, an increase of blood pressure is an act of defense.
We can successfully reduce the tension in the Anterior Scalene and Oblique Capitus Inferior muscles to free the compression conflict with the vertebral artery. Once the obstruction is eliminated, there is no longer any reason for the body to produce a defensive high blood pressure.

Repeated treatments in cases of essential hypertension are needed in order to restore the threshold of pressure receptors within the arterial circulation. These are special receptors which determine the constriction and dilation of blood vessels.

In Volume 2 of Boris Prilutsky's Medical Massage medical massage educational video series, Boris offers detailed discussions and hands-on demonstrations utilizing Medical Massage techniques in the treatment of Hypertension and Greater Occipital Neuralgia.

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