How Chiropractic Care Can Help with Asthma & Allergies

Chiropractors can help those suffering from seasonal allergies that affect the sinuses, ears and eyes. Chiropractors focus on removing any interference on the nervous system which improves overall body function and gives the immune system more power to fight off allergies.

What type of allergies can chiropractic care help alleviate?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question, Liz, and when we’re talking about allergies there’s technically four types of allergies. But before we dive into the science of those and talk about all these immuno complex reactions that we can have, the basic type allergies that chiropractors help with are those seasonal allergies. Allergies that occur in the sinus, and allergies that occur within the ears and the eyes. Then we’re going to talk about asthma today too, and chiropractic can really help with the asthma. We’re not really going to help with those food allergies, we’re not going to help with those joint reactions. For example, you’ve got a dairy intolerance or you’ve got a peanut allergy, we’re not really going to be focusing on helping people with those type of allergies. It’s more of a functionality, how the body responds to, for example, spring, when all the flowers bloom, those types of allergies are the types of allergies we can help people with.

What treatments or chiropractic techniques are used to help the body fight off allergies?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, great question, and chiropractic is all about the innate ability of the body to function at an optimal level inside out. The premise is if your spine is in alignment and the joints are moving well, it’s not going to create stress and tension onto the nervous system. However, there’s three types of traumas, big traumas like car accidents, repetitive stresses, sitting for example. You’ve got emotional stress, and then you’ve got toxins and things you put into the body. Those three types of stressors can create subluxations within a spine. A subluxation essentially means that the joint that should be able to move well stably does the exact opposite. It stops moving well and or it can actually shift out of alignment. This creates stress and tension onto the joint, the tissue and specifically the nerve. If the nerve is under stress, that nerve’s not going to function well.

You have two types in the nervous system, you’ve got sensory pain, so you have a nerve that shifts or joint that shifts in your neck. You pinch a nerve in your neck, likelihood is you’re going to get neck pain. However, 85% of our nervous system is acentric, those nerves don’t actually give off pain, they help the body function. So, for example, the top two bones in your neck, there’s more nervous system activity there than anywhere else in the body and the second joint within the neck specifically innovates the sinuses. So, if we have a shift in the second level that’s putting tension on that second nerve in your neck, yes, you can get headaches and neck pain. So that innervation around a sensory nerve called the a sensory, the nerve that doesn’t emit pain, is going to create disfunction. Disfunction at C2, for example, is going to create those sinus allergies, all those kinds of allergies that we get with the seasons. So how do you address it?

Addressing it is evaluating the joint that has shifted, finding that subluxation. You do that through examinations and several different techniques. Then you’re going to adjust that joint, and by adjusting the joint, specifically, you’re going to take stress and tension off that joint, the tissue, and that nerve. If the nerve’s under stress and tension, it’s going to allow the body to function as it should optimally. When the body’s functioning with no stress on the nervous system, then we should be able to fight off allergies. Second of all, there is plenty of research out that that states by getting your spine adjusted it actually boosts the immuno system, and it actually increased neuro plasticity within the brain. So essentially by the spine getting adjusted, it triggers the nervous system into firing up the immune system. It gives it a little bit of spark of life and the immune system does its thing, and obviously fights off infection, allergies, et cetera.

Could you please describe what treatment is like for someone suffering from asthma?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely, so if you are looking at your spine, the joints within your upper back, we call it the upper thoracic spine. The nerves that come out of the upper thoracic spine actually innervate our heart and lung function. Imagine those joints are stuck and they’re not moving, the nerves that innervate the system that allows you to breathe, obviously the lungs and the diaphragm, by them not functioning well, that’s going to obviously create breathing difficulties which can roll into asthma. So, when we have lots of kids with asthma, an area that we’re going to focus on is the upper thoracic spine. The upper thoracic spine, by getting the joints in alignment and moving efficiently, take stress and tension off the nerves that innervate the heart and the lungs. That’s going to help with asthma. Also, too those joints can be locked up from the three T’s, the traumas we’ve discussed, but it also can be come from poor posture. Unfortunately, what we’re seeing a lot of nowadays, kids, adults, spend a lot of time looking down at their phone, at their tablet, looking at the computer, studying for school.

So over time those postural changes are going to increase the curve in our thoracic spine, that’s our upper or mid back. So, if you’re at home and you’re listening, you sit up really straight and you take a breath in, and then you slouch over and you take a breath in. It’s going to be easy to take a breath in when you’re in good posture compared to poor posture. So, when you’re addressing any form of issue with the heart and lungs, the diaphragm, posture is really important to address. Now diaphragmatic control comes from good posture, so yes, we’re going to focus on getting the joints in alignment and moving, creating less stress and tension on those nerves your upper back, but we’re also going to address the postural changes that may have occurred from looking at your phone too much, or sitting at your desk too much. By doing that, bringing the spine into alignment, you’re going to be able to load that diaphragm and the lungs better, which is obviously going to help with being able to function with asthma.

Are these chiropractic treatments safe for people of all ages, including children?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely. We have a saying in the office, from cradle to the grave. So obviously the birth of a baby is really arduous, especially for the mom and for the baby. The baby’s got to fit through the pelvic canal and if it’s having a difficult birth, you might have to have a C-section. It involves forceps, pulling the baby out. It might involve the suction cup pulling the baby out, maybe an arm is in the way. So that whole birthing process can create subluxations within the spine.

When it comes to babies, we just want to evaluate the spine and see if there’s any shifts. Now, when adjusting a baby, it’s obviously a lot different than adjusting an adult. When you adjust a baby, it’s like putting pressure on your eyeball, the amount of pressure that you put into a baby spine. However, obviously when you’re working with adults, the bone is a lot denser and it’s a lot stronger. So, we adjust the adults differently to children.

But before any adjustments are performed to a baby or to an adult, a thorough evaluation is performed. You’re performing a history, you’re performing an examination, you’re shooting x-rays if needed. From that evaluation, if there’s any contra-indications, for example, if you’re an adult and you’ve suffered a stroke. Well, your adjustment’s going to be different to somebody who hasn’t had an issue such as that. So obviously your clinical pieces need to be put together before an adjustment is delivered. You don’t just grab a spine and adjust the spine. The research out there, it is extremely safe for children and adults of all ages to get adjusted, absolutely.

For seasonal allergies, is it okay to visit the chiropractor only when allergy symptoms flare up, or is ongoing treatment needed to get the body ready for allergy season?

It depends on how you want to approach your healthcare. You can be reactive, so when you’re in pain or you have an issue, go and see an appropriate medical provider, or you can be proactive and obviously stay ahead of things. In our office we always preach being proactive. So, for example, you change the oil in your car every three to 5,000 miles, you don’t necessarily need to do that, but you do it so your car runs smoothly and you don’t have to deal with issues within the car.

So obviously the condition that concerns the patient is going to be different patient to patient, but we need to go through something called corrective care. Once you’ve gone through corrective care, and you fix the issue, be it neck pain, be it lower back pain, is it a GI issue, is it an allergy issue? Once that condition has been corrected or if we’ve made an improvement, then we want to manage that improvement. For example, if you’re suffering with neck pain and the neck pain causes allergies due to those subluxations in the neck, and is the variable that brought you into the office was you sit 60 hours a week, you got a high stress job. Once you go through treatment and you no longer have neck pain and your allergies are gone, or they’re improved, then the environment that got you here doesn’t change.

So, you want to handle that environment, so how would you do it? You be proactive, so we’re going to prescribe you a standup desk, motion is lotion. We need to make sure that you’re standing and sitting throughout your work day. Going to make sure you’re taking postural breaks throughout your workday, to make sure those in stringent muscles, the muscles that control spinal stability being engaged and being active. Then you see a chiropractor on a reduced basis. On the supportive care to make sure to joint is in alignment, they’re moving. Making sure your spine is in alignment, making sure those muscles are balanced, and then you get homework to do throughout the week to make sure that you’re being proactive.

If you do none of those, you come in, you get treated, you feel great. Two years later, you sat 50 hours a week and your neck pain, your allergies have returned. You didn’t do any of the proactive stuff, then you’re going to be falling back into that reactive type of treatment, which is essentially getting treated when your allergies are flaring up. We always try and preach proactive, trying to get ahead of things before they flare up.

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