“Can you help Erectile Dysfunction?”

This chiropractor's response to a common question...


It’s been more than 10 years since Janet Jackson’s famous wardrobe malfunction during a Super Bowl halftime show.

As my friend, Dr. Dan Murphy said (paraphrased), “It really wasn’t that difficult to explain Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple to my eleven year old daughter.  What was embarrassing, however, was having to explain what erectile dysfunction was, since every-other commercial was for Viagra, Cialis, or some other male performance drug – or worse yet, what it means to have an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours.”

Chiropractic and Erectile Dysfunction

On a regular basis, I’m asked if I can help people with erectile dysfunction, impotency, and low testosterone.   The answer, of course, is yes, but that doesn’t mean that chiropractic is a treatment for ED – or any other medical condition for that matter.

The sole objective of the chiropractor is to locate and correct something in the nervous system called a subluxation.  A subluxation is a condition caused by stress that interferes with the flow of nerve and mental impulses traveling from the brain, through the spinal cord, to the tissue cells and organs.

There is a very specific amount of nerve and mental impulse that should be present for optimal function.  Too much, or too little, is not good.

Men with ED could have subluxations anywhere in their nervous systems, but I typically find most interference in the upper cervical and lumbo-sacral regions.

The chiropractic approach to ED is the exact same as it is back pain, asthma, depression, or the pursuit of optimal human potential. All men, with or without ED should be under weekly chiropractic care to promote optimal health, quality of life, and function of every cell, organ, and system of the body, and to help prevent further dis-ease or deterioration from occurring.

If you get adjusted will your male organs work better?

I have no idea, but it makes logical sense that if your organs are getting too much, or too little, of the life force required for optimal function, that there’s a great chance that they will.

Chiropractic patients for more than a century have said things like, “I’m not sure what you did when you adjusted me the other day, Doc, but keep doing it.”  Or a wife will indicate that “things are MUCH BETTER now that Tom’s getting adjusted each week.”

Bottom line: I’d never want to promote chiropractic as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, impotency, or any other medical condition, but an optimally functioning nervous system has the potential of improving or resolving any health problem.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction occurs when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse.  It may be a chronic problem, an occasional problem, or merely the result of too much alcohol consumption one evening.  In fact, there are numerous potential causes and a variety of solutions. Most of the time there are non-medical solutions.

Who gets ED?

If you, or your man, suffer from erectile dysfunction, you’re not alone.  ED affects about 30 million men in the U.S.  That accounts for a lot of frustrating nights, lonely partners, anxiety, depression, and, sometimes, a sense of hopelessness.

Minorities seem to get ED more frequently, but that may have more to do with socioeconomic factors than genetics.

Men with arteriosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, and peripheral vascular disease are prone to ED.

Certain medications can cause ED. In fact, about 25% of the cases are directly, or indirectly attributed to medications. These include blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, appetite suppressants, diuretics, and antipsychotic medications. Many of our clients are on several of these medications.

“Our focus is NEVER to treat ED or any other medical condition from the outside-in, but rather to create a lifestyle conducive to optimal health, and in so doing, our goal is that the client’s problem improves or disappears.”

What causes ED?

Erections result from a complex combination of brain stimuli, blood vessel and nerve functions, and hormonal actions.  We know that stress is ultimately the cause of the majority of our health problems.  ED is no different.  Any stressor or set of stressors that can create interference between the brain and body can lead to erectile dysfunction.  That’s why chiropractic can have a positive effect, since chiropractic removes interference between the brain and body, but as stated above, ED is a complex condition and chiropractic care is only ONE of numerous solutions.

What can be done about it?

Chiropractic plays a huge role. So does weight loss, nutritional counseling/supplementation, fitness, and perhaps personal or marriage counseling. It’s important to get to the cause, or CAUSES, and correct those, and not merely look for a drug, an herb, or a nutritional supplement to make it all go away.

In other words, if a man is 30 pounds overweight, on antidepressants, addicted to pornography, and consuming a few alcoholic drinks every day, all the chiropractic care in the world may not have a noticeable effect. In fact, in the preceding example, there is no one cause or solution.  This couple has several issues, and perhaps ALL of them need to be addressed.

Weight is a huge problem, and a great place to start. 

We know that 70% of the male population is overweight or obese.  Being overweight means you are toxic and inflamed. You probably suffer joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, and digestion problems.  By addressing the weight issue, we open up a world of possibilities.

If we can get our man burning fat, building muscle, getting leaner, stronger….If we can get people complementing him….If we can  get endorphins (feel good chemicals) surging through his body…If we can get him in ideal shape, or at least better shape, then the payoff will be huge and we’ll get a ripple effect.

His self-esteem will sky-rocket.  His desire to exercise, drink water instead of whisky, eat a grilled chicken salad instead of donuts and fast food, if he starts thinking and acting like an elite athlete, he will likely experience immediate gratification! BOOM!

He will probably be able to go off many of his medications (with the support of his M.D., of course). By getting rid of the highly inflammatory foods such as sugar, soda, wheat, and unnatural carbohydrates, his blood sugar may normalize, his allergies may go away and he won’t need his antihistamine or allergy medications.  His gut will heal and he won’t need his digestion medication.  His blood pressure may drop and he won’t need those medications.  His moods and ability to deal with stress may improve and he won’t feel the need for comfort foods, alcohol, or porn.  (Obviously, I’m creating a hypothetical scenario and in no way implying that every man suffering ED uses alcohol or porn…..but I predict most probably do.)

What sort of exercise is best?

Our hero probably needs to make a pretty radical change in his lifestyle as it relates to exercise.  Any exercise is better than none, but the reality is that a walk around the block probably isn’t going to cut it.

We need him to make exercise a part of his daily, not weekly, routine.  We need to help him understand the value of  high intensity interval training, weight training, and eating like an athlete.

The good news is he won’t need to spend hours in the gym.  He can get a great training session at home, in the hotel, in the office – anywhere.  No excuses.

High intensity interval training (HIIT, Tabata, Burst Training, Surge Training, etc) is characterized by short bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by periods of rest.  It’s what naturally occurs in soccer.  It’s how a sprinter trains.  More on this in other posts.

What type of diet is best?

Unfortunately, radical changes must be made here.  The problem isn’t the result of a drug or herbal deficiency – the problem is more than likely our guy’s complete addiction to sugar, wheat, gluten, processed foods, and non-food edible products. He may also have an alcohol issue, but more than likely he is completely addicted to these foods and edible substances that are creating the majority of his health problems – not just erectile dysfunction, but also depression, allergies, indigestion, headaches, diabetes, and of course, obesity.

He is in a battle not unlike that of an alcoholic or drug addict.  It’s not just that he can’t get an erection, but rather his years of consumption of sugar,  refined foods, and non foods has affected his mind, his gut, his joints, his muscles, and his self-esteem.

A great place to start is our 21-Day BPF (Body Purification/Fix), or to go on a modified paleo diet.  There are variations on the recurring theme of eating a diet mostly of green leafy vegetables, some fruit, and a fair amount of quality protein….and an elimination of sugar, refined foods, fast foods, and edible non-foods.


So, can I help someone with erectile dysfunction?  Yes.

Can I guarantee a cure? NO.

However, if I can promote optimal nerve supply through chiropractic care; help my guy to lose weight and get fit; provide him with some targeted nutritional support; and perhaps get him to the right counselor…..If he’s ready and willing to put in the effort, more than likely we can turn Mr. ED back into a stallion!