Worldwide, asthma affects more than 100 million people, and an estimated 26 million adults and 8 million children in America suffer from chronic asthma. Every year, asthma is the cause for 12.8 million missed school days and 10.1 million missed work days, costing Americans around $14.7 billion (in medical expenses, prescriptions, and lost productivity). Although there is no cure, asthma generally is manageable with medications; however, those medications carry some unpleasant side effects. As such, people are looking at other options; and research and experience are showing that chiropractic care can be an effective—and safe—adjunct treatment for chronic asthma.
Asthma is breathing difficulty resulting from the narrowing of airways that lead to the lungs (i.e., nose, nasal passageways, mouth, larynx). Asthmatic symptoms tend to occur suddenly—described as an “attack”—in response to stimuli that irritate the immune system and airways. The blocked or inflamed passageways usually can be cleared with lifestyle changes and treatments like medication.
However, while asthma medications, like an albuterol inhaler, can help control symptoms during an emergency attack; over time, they can make the symptoms worse because some side effects negatively affect the endocrine and immune systems. They also can lead to problems with mood changes, acne, and weight gain.
Many cases of asthma can be ameliorated by diet and lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet (and avoiding processed and refined foods) supplies antioxidants and nutrients that control inflammatory responses, reduce dietary triggers, and combat environmental toxins. It is also helpful to take supplements like Vitamin D (supporting lung function and immune health), Vitamin C, B vitamins (especially B3 and B12), zinc, and magnesium. Essential oils also can help manage coughing, wheezing, and breathing troubles. In terms of lifestyle, you can rid your home of excess dust and chemical toxins, try to manage stress, and safely increase exercise and movement on a regular basis.
“There are lots of ways to improve your breathing, such as specific diet changes, exercise, and supplements,” says Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. However, although these lifestyle variables show positive effects on chronic asthma, the strict routines often prove overwhelming and frustrating for many people, particularly children. Dr. Gross adds, “The one thing you can’t do on your own is get a chiropractic adjustment, and it’s one of the most effective treatments we have seen for people with asthma and other COPD conditions.”
The connection between asthma and inflammation is evident, and chiropractors effectively reduce inflammation through spinal adjustment and manipulation. Notably, asthma is linked to forward head posture, a condition where the head shifts out in front of the body, compressing nerves in the lower neck and upper back thus compromising lung function. Chiropractic adjustments and spinal rehabilitation retrain the spine and move it back into ideal alignment. “Chiropractic adjustments help relieve pressure on the nerves that go to your lungs. Adjustments also help support proper posture, allowing your lungs to expand better,” confirms Dr. Gross.
Many chiropractors have experienced success in treating non-musculoskeletal conditions. Although more research is needed, a few studies have analyzed the effects of spinal manipulation breathing capacity, quality of life, asthma severity, and medication dependency.
One multination survey reported in a 2005 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics noted that 2–10% of patients receiving spinal manipulation reported positive reactions in their asthmatic symptoms. Of these patients, 27% also noted improved breathing.
A 2000 case study followed a 43-year-old patient who had been suffering from asthma for five years. Treatments included manipulations to the lower cervical spine, upper thoracic spine, and costovertebral joints; trigger-point therapy; and post-isometric relaxation techniques. In one year, the patient reported an increase in peak breathing as well as a decrease in medication use.
Again, more research is needed, but no existing studies have indicated any adverse effects or evidence of harm to asthma patients when treated by chiropractors. As such, the evidence is strongly in favor of chiropractic care as an effective add-on to traditional medical therapy for asthma.
Quality Care Chiropractic has seen first-hand the wonderful improvements that adjustments have made for asthma sufferers, but don’t take our word for it. Listen to 7-year-old Aryn, who has been helped with her breathing and asthma problems so she can stay active and just be a kid. Watch her story:
Also, hear from Aryn’s mom, Nyisha, as she explains her decision to seek out chiropractic care and what the treatments have done for her daughter. Watch the video:
If you or anyone you know has chronic asthmas and is ready for a change the chiropractic way, contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225. We can answer your questions and help you breathe easier on your way back whole-body health.Schedule an Appointment