by Brian Bartholomew DC and Kyra Oliver
If you are a parent looking to help your child who is suffering with asthma, or an adult that would like to find much-needed relief, it may be useful to know that chiropractic care may be an option. Chiropractic care may do wonders for asthma sufferers, even to the point of completely eliminating the need for medications in case studies. In a recent study of children using chiropractic care, subjects determined that their breathing and quality of life were enhanced substantially with regular chiropractic care.
However, some studies indicate that more information needs to be collected to validate the benefits of chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is not intended to be a replacement for standard medical care for asthma, but rather to help the person suffering with asthma live a better quality of life,by helping them breath better. Having noted that, let’s read on about how chiropractic care may be a great option for you or your child.
Does Chiropractic Care Help Asthma Sufferers?
While medication, all too often, is the first go-to when it comes to any pain, illness or disease, natural approaches are becoming much more common. Doctors of chiropractic work to find natural healing methods for each patient so that the individual gains success through a strengthening and healing approach versus the symptom suppression approach of regular medication.
A recent study verified that chiropractic care and natural remedies can help with asthma. In this surveyed children who used chiropractic care combined with other holistic remedies, herbal remedies, exercises and rehabilitation. The results were favorable in that all of these natural methods were shown to be beneficial.
Check out a video our pediatric practice member who greatly improved with asthma.
Another example of chiropractic care helping ease asthma suffering involved a case study a seven year old boy. The child went from frequently missing school because of asthma and allergy symptoms to getting off of all his medication with only two weeks of regular chiropractic care. That is pretty phenomenal and goes to show that the health of the neck and spine may have a direct correlation to asthma and the nerves that control the lungs.
Here’s what happened. The young boy was given specific chiropractic adjustments to help address vertebral subluxation as it relates to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral areas of the spine. Amazingly, it took only two weeks of chiropractic care to allow the boy to stop using his allergy medications, asthma medications and his nebulizer. The child did not miss anymore school due to illness. This information means that chiropractic care may be a great option to help improve the nervous system and balance the immune system. When the immune system is properly balanced, relief of asthma symptoms, colds and allergies are possible. Though more research should be done on chiropractic care, vertebral subluxation and the effect on asthma, this is promising case study.
What Is Vertebral Subluxation?
This brings us to the common question what is a vertebral subluxation and how does it effect the nerves? The nervous system controls every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body. Nerve impulses travel through the spine. According to the International Chiropractors Association, a vertebral subluxation occurs when the spinal bones misaligned causing disruptions in nerve communication between the brain and body.
When this happens, vertebral subluxations cause the muscles to spasm and the spinal bones may stiffen and lose mobility. The adjacent nerves of the spine are affected by this lack of motion, inflammation and malposition causing interfere with the control and regulation of the body parts the nerves govern. It is at this point that the altered communication between the nerve and body cells may cause potential health issues like asthma in the lungs.
Having a healthy spine free of vertebral subluxations is essential for ideal health. Vertebral subluxations can only be detected through chiropractic examinations.
What Environmental Factors Trigger An Asthma Attack?
Beyond structural spinal misalignment or subluxations, there are numerous environmental factors that can cause an asthma attack. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, such allergens and irritants are:
- Pet dander,
- Chemicals from household and environmental products
- Smoke, cigarette smoke
- Dust, dust mites & insect parts
- Gas or diesel fumes, and
These irritants act as a trigger that can lead to an asthma attack in anyone with particularly sensitive airways. Allergens and irritants are found just about everywhere, indoors and outdoors, even in your car. It is essential if you suffer with asthma to limit or avoid exposure to these irritating environmental triggers. Check out our video on asthma tips.
Why Is Your Spine Important & How Does Chiropractic Care Help With Asthma?
Let’s dig into understanding the spine, spinal cord and nervous system. The spinal cord is an extension of the nervous system starting at the bottom of the brain stem and ending in the lower back area. Picture it this way: the spinal cord and nerve system runs from the tip top of the highest bone in the neck to the lower back area that you sit on called your saccoccygeal area. The spinal cord is around 18 inches in length with extensions of nerves that branch and continue down your legs. Your spinal cord is typically a cylindrical shape with the neck and lower back areas containing slightly enlarged areas for nerve distrubution for the arms and legs respectively. Nerves also leave the spinal cord at various levels that control the organs.
Then comes the vertebrae, or spinal column, which encases the spinal cord. Let’s break up the verteba/bones into five parts. Seven cervical vertebra are located in the neck. Twelve bones are in the upper back and attach to the rib cage. Five vertebra of the lumbar or low back area. Five bones merge together to create the sacrum and four small vertebrae link to make up the coccyx or tailbone.
All of these bones are supported by discs and ligaments to make the strongest spinal structure possible.
This amazing spinal structure is interconnected with the 31 pairs of spinal nerves and nerve roots. Nerve impulses make their way from the brain, through the spinal cord and, then, to a specific area of the body and back. Any sort of interruption or interference in nerve supply can trigger health problems. The most common causes of interferences and interruptions we encounter are the 3T’s of subluxation. Traumas (injures, slips, falls, poor posture), Toxins (environmental toxins), and harmful Thoughts (negative stressers) all promote nerve interference or irritation. Often nerve interference to the neck or thoracic areas, the area responsible for controlling the lungs, are associated with conditions like asthma or shortness of breath.
Now, does it make sense as to why it is important to care for the spine? It is clear that the relationship between the spine and the nervous system influences all health.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe Compared To Medications For Asthma?
It is amazing what can happen to numerous health conditions with the proper healthcare including chiropractic and a holistic approach. Living a life medication free, when possible, is a much healthier, safer way to live. Dr. Josh Axe, a former chiropractor turned top wellness advocate and owner of the #1 wellness website in the country, shared how asthma has been associated with the condition known as forward head posture. “You see this when the head shifts forward, as a constant position, it affects the nerves at the bottom part of the neck area as well as the upper back area. To correct this problem, and hopefully eliminate symptoms of asthma, seeing a chiropractor for an adjustment combined with spinal rehabilitation exercises can potentially train the spine back to its intended position. When this happens, there is less pressure on the nerves that reach the lungs, creating a much better breathing environment for the body.”
Some people are worried about chiropractic adjustments to the neck area. That fear may cause a patient in need of care to avoid getting the help they require. It is understandable that the noise made during a chiropractic adjustment may be unsettling, however, there are many light force chiropractic techniques that do not make the popping sound so please give it some consideration since it could change your life for the better. Historically, the main concern with chiropractic care was the belief that chiropractic care cause an increased risk of a stroke. Many studies have demonstrated that this link is not valid. A 2008 study of vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) stroke incidence reported an extremely rare occurance of strokes with chiropractic care or medical care. The study suggests that any increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and medical doctor visits is more likely due to headache and neck pain prior to a stroke not the care provided to the person experiencing the headache of neck pain regardless of chiropractic care or medical care. There was no evidence of additional risks of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to regular primary care. While you always want to do your research, chiropractic care may be an option worth exploring more.
If the question still remains as whether to work with a chiropractor for asthma related illness, consider this; with a little research and a few chiropractic adjustments, you may discover that a holistic approach is what works for your body. While chiropractic care is not for everyone, it may be what you have been looking for to address the cause of your health concerns. Chiropractic care usually requires some consistency of regular adjustments to be truly effective. Additionally, if you don’t like it or are not seeing the results you expect, you can stop at any time.