Heart arrhythmias are defined as a potentially life-threatening irregular heart beat or rhythm. Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) occur when there is a malfunction in the electrical impulses within the heart which coordinate how it beats. As a result, the heart beats too fast, too slowly, or irregularly. The most common type of a heart arrhythmia is an atrial fibrillation. It is estimated that 11-58% of the population experience heart arrhythmias. This study evaluated the health of the cervical spine and its relationship with cardiac arrhythmias. The findings were very interesting and as follows:
- The objective of this study was to investigate the association between cervical spondylosis and arrhythmia, which has never been reported before.
- Arrhythmia is a potential life-threatening condition, defined as an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm and occurs in 11-58% of the population. The most common type is atrial fibrillation.
- The clinical presentations of cardiac arrhythmia range from asymptomatic to sudden cardiac death.
- The cervical spine harbors the cervical ganglia, and the sympathetic nerves to the heart are predominantly from the middle cervical ganglion, with the remaining sympathetic innervation from satellite ganglion.
- Cardiac parasympathetic innervation is through the vagus nerve.
- Degenerative disease of the cervical spine might cause compression of the spinal canal and irritation of sympathetic nerves.
- The most common clinical signs of cervical spondylosis are pain and motor function impairment.
- The cumulative incidence of arrhythmia in the case group was approximately 5.44% higher than in the control group after the 12 year follow up.
- This study reveals that cervical spondylosis is associated with a 3.10-fold increase of arrhythmia risk compare to patients without cervical spondylosis, especially atrial fibrillation, ventricular and supraventricular tachycardia.
- Clinical evidence has shown that cervical spondylosis can cause sympathetic nerve irritation and associated sympathetic symptoms. And instability at the C4-C5 intervertebral space is the most common type causing sympathetic symptoms.
- Other recognized sympathetic symptoms of cervical spondylosis are vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus, headache, and palpitations.
- Studies have shown that an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system and stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can trigger atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.
- Cervical spondylosis is associated with a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and ventricular tachycardia. And a higher risk of arrhythmia is associated with hyperactive sympathetic tones in cervical spondylosis patients.
- These authors note that cervical spondylosis patients who received either cervical spine rehabilitation or surgical decompression had a lower risk of arrhythmia events.
- This study provides evidence supporting the use of rehabilitation and surgical decompression to protect against future arrhythmias.
- The risk of arrhythmia is no doubt increased in the cervical spondylosis population.
- This study demonstrated that cervical spondylosis is associated with an increased risk of developing arrhythmia.
- As arrhythmia is linked to the risk of sudden death and strokes, this study should prompt clinical awareness of the higher risk of arrhythmia in patients with cervical spondylosis.
Small devices implanted near the collarbone which shock the electrical signal back into action if it becomes lowered, are used to treat arrhythmias. These are called pacemakers. Anti-arrhythmia medications or blood thinners are also used to treat the condition. In some cases, a coronary bypass surgery may even be recommended. Though some of these solutions or procedures may be necessary in an emergency situation, many arrhythmia sufferers are looking for more natural and less invasive solutions which address the cause. Chiropractic care provides a low-invasive approach to help heart arrhythmia patients get drugless care to help address the cause.
This article discussed the significance of the 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine called “Association of Arrhythmias in Patients with Cervical Spondylosis: A Nationwide Population–Based Cohort Study”.