Most allergy seasons in the US are during spring and summer, with spring being the worst as plants are blooming. But, with our warmer weather and long summers here in South West Florida, flowers can bloom longer and continue producing pollen long after their Northern cousins have stopped. So, if you’re wondering, “What is the pollen/allergy season in Florida?” the answer is: always. Grass pollen season extends from April to October. Weed season for ragweed and dog fennel goes from May through December, with a secondary weed pollen season from March through July for sorrel and dock. Ragweed is rampant all over Florida and is a prime cause of allergies, especially in Fall.
Whether you get a few sniffles and some sneezing like I do, or you are down for the count with every terrible allergy symptom known to man, it can make living in beautiful Fort Myers, Florida a little unbearable.
What are Allergies?
Each year, approximately 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Their suffering can take many forms, from the seasonal snifflers who track the ups and downs of the pollen count like the stock market to food allergy sufferers who must guard against specific foods or food groups year-round.
Allergies are over-reactions caused by the immune system as it responds to environmental substances that are usually harmless to most people. When your immune system produces histamines and cytokines in response to an allergen that you encounter the physiological reaction that you experience is broadly referred to as an allergic reaction, allergies or hay fever.
Symptoms of allergies can include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes
- Coughing or scratchy throat
- Skin rash or hives
- IBS & Digetive distress
- Joint pain and swelling
Allergens can be almost anything! They can be plants that you come in contact with, like poison ivy or milkweed, or something you breathe in, like pollen, mold, or dust. They can be something you ingest, like strawberries, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, or gluten. Different people will have different allergies, and even people who are allergic to the same things may not have the same reaction.
Chiropractic Care For Allergies
I often treat patients complaining of allergies with chiropractic care. Many allergic and asthmatic reactions are caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system and/or respiratory system. Researchers have found that the immune and respiratory systems depend on normal communication from the brain and spinal cord to control and coordinate their functions properly.
Therefore, if your neck is misaligned, and pinches on the delicate nerves coming from the neck, this could cause an imbalance in your nervous system function. Subluxations in the neck can produce or exaggerate asthmatic and allergic symptoms. The good news is that I can perform a spinal examination to determine if chiropractic care can correct any misalignments or subluxations, there-by reducing your allergic and asthmatic reactions. Chiropractic helps those with allergies in 2 ways:
- Chiropractic adjustments help balance your body and tune up your nervous system which can help to dampen down your body’s histamine reaction and other responses to allergens. When your spine is not aligned it can impact your nervous system, which in turn controls your immune system, causing it to overreact producing histamine and cytokines. A chiropractor can help relieve the stress on your nervous system by aligning your spine. This takes the pressure off of nerves, allowing your immune system to function at a more optimal level. This makes it easier for your body to ward off infections while recognizing allergens as harmless.
- Chiropractic adjustments also can help lymphatic and sinus drainage. When the top vertebrae are out of proper alignment, the muscles at the base of the skull and on the scalp can be pulled taught, changing the pressures in the head and preventing proper drainage from the ear / eustachian tubes and sinuses. These poor patients have recurring sinus infections and stuffy heads. When I adjust these patients they are amazed at how quickly their nasal passages and sinuses clear after being adjusted. Chiropractic has also been found to help asthma patients breathe easier.
Acupuncture for Allergies
German researchers confirm the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of allergies and sinus disorders. Acupuncture outperformed the control group and the medication group for both reduction of symptoms and downregulation of serum IgE, IL-1 β, and TNF-α. (These substances are proinflammatory mediators. IgE is an antibody that functions in immunity but is also involved in hypersensitivity related to asthma, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis.) Likewise, quality of life scores was significantly better in the acupuncture group than in either control group.
Based on the evidence, the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin researchers conclude that “acupuncture treatment was more effective than the symptomatic drug intervention.
In my practice, I have found that acupuncture and chiropractic techniques go hand in hand to improve patient outcomes. There are some areas where acupuncture has shown particular prowess. For example, when I am helping patients with sinusitis, allergies, or a cold, I use acupuncture along with chiropractic. Not only does acupuncture often provide fast relief for patients in these cases, but using these two techniques together can correct more than one cause and can get better results than with just chiropractic or acupuncture alone.
A Whole Body Approach
Chiropractic care is more than just spinal manipulation, and Acupuncture is more than just inserting needles into the body. Both health practices promote whole-body wellness. Patients are taught exercise, stress relief, and nutrition so that their entire system is treated. I have found that a whole-body treatment plan for my patients helps them recover and stay well for the long term.
It is important to follow your plan thoroughly and consistently. This may mean:
- removing certain foods from your diet
- adding foods & supplements to your diet
- Getting plenty of rest
- Taking time to de-stress
- drinking plenty of pure water
- getting exercise every day
The more you take care of yourself, the healthier you will be overall. Chiropractic & Acupuncture care can help so many health conditions and actually make you healthier. I am always delighted when a patient gets off my table and is finally able to breathe through their nose! If you are struggling with allergies, give me a call, I’d love to help you get back to life.