Shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing – all familiar experiences if you suffer from asthma. During an attack, your airways become swollen and you create more mucus, making it harder to breath. Along with these symptoms, those with asthma may also experience spasms that cause chest muscles to contract very fast. This makes not only breathing difficult, but movement, as well. For some, the struggle with asthma can affect daily activities. There are several available treatments for asthma, but relief may come from an unexpected source – your chiropractor.
At its core, chiropractic care provides treatment for health issues surrounding the spine, nerves, muscles, and joints. Adjusting the spine to proper alignment helps improve the function of the nervous system, which plays into your overall health.
Why Chiropractic Treatment for Asthma Works
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 13 people suffer from asthma. That’s more than 25 million people. This number has been on the rise since the 1980s in all age, sex and racial groups. It is one of the most common and costly diseases in America, and while, currently, there is no cure there are some options for getting relief.
Common treatments for asthma include medication and inhalers. These treatments, however, typically only help to control an attack once it is already happening, or mask other symptoms of asthma. As an alternative, some asthma sufferers may find an alleviation of their symptoms through alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care.
To understand how chiropractic care works for asthma sufferers, it is important to understand the connection between your spine and your respiratory system.
To give you a clearer picture, think of your spine as a column consisting of 33 individual bones stacked on top of each other. Naturally, the spine forms an S-shape with three distinct curves:
- Cervical Curve – provides support for your head
- Thoracic Curve – supports the rib cage and protects the heart and lungs
- Lumbar Curve – bears the weight of your body
For asthma treatments, chiropractors will likely have a focus on the thoracic curve of your spine. The nerves that leaves this section are supplied to the lungs and bronchial tubes. A misalignment of this portion of your spine can limit your range of motion. This makes it more difficult for your lungs to fully expand and worsens asthma symptoms.
While the focus of alleviating asthma symptoms may be on the thoracic region of the spine, your chiropractor may also look at another area, the cervical curve. Here, your chiropractor can apply adjustments that will allow the muscles in your neck to relax, and release some of the tightness that can be felt in the chest cavity.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Asthma
When restoring the full range of motion the lungs are able to fully expand and take in optimal amounts of air. While this full range of motion offers relief to asthma sufferers, there are long-term benefits to the continued treatment with your chiropractor.
There are a number of issues that can be caused by the misalignment of the spine. When dealing with asthma, it is important that energy effectively flows through the nerve endings. With continued chiropractic treatment, the spine can eventually align, which will improve the function of the lungs and possibly lead to fewer asthma attacks.
Improved Air Flow
When it comes to your breathing, the airway and diaphragm play a very important role. Like your lungs, they cannot function properly if the spine is not aligned properly. Regular adjustments by your chiropractor can allow your diaphragm and airway to move as they should and create better airflow. In some cases, better airflow can relieve suffering for people with asthma.
The nervous system also has a direct impact on the immune system. When the spine is not aligned correctly, it can cause unnecessary stress on your body. This stress, by some many, is thought to lead to a weakened immune system – which impedes your body from fighting off illnesses. The risk for asthma attacks may increase when the immune system is weak. By aligning the spine, your chiropractor creates a ripple effect that leads to improved functioning of your immune system and making asthma attacks less likely.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Treatment
You may still have some questions about finding the best treatment for your asthma, and if chiropractic care is the right course of action for you. Talking to your doctor can help, and these questions may help you and your doctor find the best answers:
- How do I best manage my asthma?
- Is there a way to reduce my asthma triggers?
- Could my home or workplace environment be affecting my asthma symptoms?
- Are there changes I can make to relieve my asthma?
As you can see, chiropractic care is a safe and viable treatment for those suffering with asthma. While medications and inhalers offer some relief for asthma symptoms, a chiropractor may be able to help you find some of the underlying causes of your breathing problems and work with you to solve them.