Did you know that nearly 40 million people, about 25% of the population, suffer from either asthma or asthma-like disorders?
Asthma can be a very serious disease and in some cases, even life-threatening. Asthma “attacks” are caused by irritants such as allergens or over-exertions that cause the bronchioles, the smallest air passageways in the lungs, to spasm and become congested with mucus. This causes a decrease in the size of the airways causing difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing.
Many traditional allopathic treatments for asthma and allergies exist allergy shots, inhalers, oral medications, and corticosteroids. Even with these advances in treatment options, sickness and death from these diseases appear to be rising. According to “The New England Journal of Medicine” in February 1992, the increased morbidity and mortality may be due, in part, to side effects of some of the medications.
A New Approach
In a recent study, children with asthma showed an overall improvement in lung capacity after only 15 chiropractic adjustments. Further findings that correlate abnormal spinal mechanics with asthma have been published by famed osteopathic researcher Alan Stoddard. Stoddard stated that many diseases are due to mechanical lesions, or vertebral subluxations, of the spine. There is no question that an intimate relationship exists between the spinal column, the nervous system, and the respiratory system.
The connection between the spine, nervous system and respiratory system can be affected in several ways. Vertebral subluxations in the neck can result in associated spasms of the musculature in the neck. When the muscles in the neck become tight, the lymphatic system can get “backed up”. Our Lymphatic system helps our immune system to function normally. When it gets backed up, it seems nothing will break up the congestion in your head. Because of this stasis in the lymph system, the immune system can become overloaded. Chiropractic adjustments in many cases will produce immediate relaxation of the neck muscles and allow normal lymph drainage to re-occur. Adjustments can help improve respiratory function, improve lymphatic drainage, and even function of the bronchi. By restoring normal nerve function to these areas of the body, may result in symptomatic improvement in bronchitis, asthma, and allergies.
Another way that the relationship between body systems can be affected is by improving spine and chest cavity biomechanics. Researchers in several studies have shown that spinal adjustments improve respiratory function and improve chest mobility better than conventional bronchodilators, expectorants, and corticosteroids. Various symptoms of abnormal respiratory function may improve clinically with chiropractic adjustments.
The final, and possibly the most important, way that the respiratory system can be affected with adjustments is through the influence of the nervous system. The primary muscle used during breathing is the diaphragm, which separates the chest and the abdominal cavities. This muscle is powered by the phrenic nerve which is composed of nerves that exit from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th vertebrae in the neck. If the nerve supply to this muscle is interfered with, as may be the case with a subluxation in the neck, the diaphragm may not function optimally and breathing may be impaired. Accessory muscles of breathing, the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, scalenes, and pectorals all operate to assist the diaphragm while breathing, and like the diaphragm, all need to have a healthy nerve supply to function properly. Subluxations can interfere with the normal nerve supply to these muscles leading to muscle imbalances and a weaker respiratory system. Restoring proper nerve function through correction of vertebral misalignments not only improves muscle tone but also aids in overall body function as well.
The chiropractic approach to health care is natural and it addresses the important role of the nervous system in the healing process. Results can be dramatic: a 1989 Danish study of 115 families with children under the age of 7 who suffered from asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy, showed that parents of 93% of the children who were assigned to receive chiropractic treatments reported improvement in their child’s asthma condition. Many childhood and adult illnesses manifest due to abnormal body function caused by subluxations. Chiropractic care can resolve these misalignments and allow the body to function at its very best!
Additionally, Asthma and Allergies can be brought on or made worse by inflammation in the body from any number of sources such as foods or even deficiencies of certain vitamins or minerals. Dr. Hoch is an expert in Functional Medicine. She assesses her patients’ nutritional needs, identifies indicators of chronic inflammation, and gives practical solutions such as dietary changes and the addition of supplements when indicated to resolve the inflammation and mitigate its effects on the patient health and well-being.