Since 1980, there has been a sharp increase in the United States in the number of people who suffer daily with asthma symptoms. When you think of treating asthma, the first thing that comes to mind is probably an inhaler. However, you do have other options for treatment, including your chiropractor. Most people don’t realize that chiropractic treatment can help their asthma. Let’s take a deeper look.
WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma can affect people of all ages, and, in many cases, starts in childhood. Asthma is a chronic medical condition that causes the airways in the lungs to sometimes become inflamed and narrow, making it more difficult to breathe. Symptoms range from shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing to more severe symptoms like chest spasms.
Because asthma varies from person to person, it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, or causes, of the condition. However, many experts believe it to be a combination of many factors, including the immune system, genetics, and allergens in the environment.
Exploring how the immune system plays a role in asthma is complicated. That is because scientists have identified more than a hundred types of immune sales and molecular pathways that could be a factor by causing inflammation. Scientists hope that by studying these cells and pathways they can make breakthroughs in the treatment of the condition.
As with the immune system, your genes can affect how vulnerable you are to the effects of asthma. Experts say that your genes impact how your body responds to certain allergens, which can affect the severity of your asthma symptoms.
In a person with asthma, the environment also plays a big role in triggering symptoms of asthma. Allergens in the air, and even virus infections, early in childhood development can lead to asthma.
There are certain factors that make a person more susceptible to developing asthma. Those risk factors include the allergens in the environment, family medical history, and even race and gender. While asthma typically develops during childhood, it can come about later in life. This is called adult-onset, or late-onset, asthma.
WHEN SHOULD I SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR MY ASTHMA?
While there is no cure for asthma, it can be better controlled with the help of a medical professional. If you think you may have asthma, due to frequent coughing or wheezing, your doctor can help diagnose the condition. They will then help monitor the asthma, and help come up with a treatment plan to improve your quality of life.
If severe enough, asthma attacks can be fatal. If you experience any of the following, you should seek emergency care:
- Shortness of breath/wheezing gets worse quickly
- Inhalers do not relieve your symptoms
- Difficulty breathing while doing minimal activity
CAN CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT HELP ASTHMA?
Asthma is known as one of the most common and costly disease in the United States. There is no cure, but there are options. Medications and inhalers are mostly used to mask the symptoms of asthma once an attack starts. Many people, though, are finding they can alleviate their symptoms and decrease the number of attacks through alternative therapies, such as chiropractic treatment for asthma. You may be scratching your head wondering what your spine has to do with breathing problems. Misalignment of the spine can cause a number of problems for your body, including pain and inflammation. For your respiratory system, it can limit the capacity of air your lungs are able to inhale.
For asthma treatment, most chiropractors focus on the middle section, or thoracic curve, of the spine. This area supports the rib cage and protects the heart and lungs. There are also a number of nerves in this section connected to the lungs and bronchial tubes. If your thoracic curve is out of line, there is potential for it to limit the range of motion in your rib cage, making it more difficult to fully expand when an asthma attack comes on.
So, how can chiropractic care help? With a full range of motion, the lungs are able to take in the greatest amount of air. But the right treatment plan can lead to several benefits for those who suffer with asthma.
For the respiratory system to function properly, it is important that energy effectively flows through the nerve endings. Especially with asthma, when the spine is properly aligned, it improves how the lungs work and could lead to fewer attacks.
BETTER AIR FLOW
As with your lungs, you need your spine to be aligned for the diaphragm and airways to function properly. With regular adjustments from your chiropractor, the diaphragm and airways allow air to move more freely, which can offer some relief for asthma sufferers.
A misalignment of the spine can also cause unnecessary stress on your body, which can lead to a weakened immunity system. As mentioned, the immune system is one of the factors that plays into asthma. Aligning the spine allows your chiropractor to create a ripple of effect of positive changes for your body.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA?
When it comes to breathing issues, a chiropractor will take a well-rounded approach in helping you find relief. In addition to taking into account your full medical history, a chiropractor will do a thorough physical evaluation and discuss treatment options that could include both breathing exercises and spinal adjustments.
During spinal adjustments, chiropractors focus on subluxations, or misalignments, which in addition to the spine can affect many parts of the body. For breathing, this includes the muscles in the chest, ribs, upper back and neck, which all support proper breathing. If any of those areas is tight, it can be harder to breathe. A chiropractor works to fix those subluxations, so that movement in your chest is not restricted, and your brain and your body can communicate more effectively. In fact, surveys have shown that more than a fourth of people who receive chiropractic treatment report better breathing.