Blood pressure causes back pain

Why a tense neck increases blood pressure

There have been more frequent reports that adjusting the neck reduces the patient's blood pressure. So far, however, it was unclear why this is. Scientists have known the point in the brain where the signals from the neck muscles arrive for around a hundred years: it is a small part of what is known as the afterbrain, i.e. the area of ​​the brain that merges into the spinal cord in the neck. Jim Deuchars, one of the co-authors of the study, explains that where the impulses are passed on from there has so far hardly been investigated.

In their work, the scientists analyzed the afterbrain of rats and mice and discovered that there are connections from there to a brain region called the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS)? Both those that activate other nerve cells and those that can inhibit other nerves. This is how the connection between the neck muscles and blood pressure is found, the researchers explain, because the NTS had previously been associated with the regulation of breathing, blood pressure and heartbeat.

In the opinion of the scientists, regulating blood pressure via the neck muscles makes sense because the blood flow to the brain must always be kept constant regardless of the current posture. Since the muscles in the neck are stressed completely differently when lying down than when sitting or standing, they are particularly suitable for communicating changes in posture to the brain. Disturbances in this communication could, for example, be the cause of the dizziness that often occurs after getting up quickly. It could also explain many of the symptoms that are common after whiplash injuries.

Ian Edwards (University of Leeds) et al .: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 27, p. 8324 ddp / Ilka Lehnen-Beyel
August 3, 2007