Nearly 40 million Americans –that's 25% of the total population –suffer from asthma. In an asthma attack, children and adults respond similarly, with severe congestion, swelling, and other allergic type reactions in response to various irritants. As the reaction progresses, breathing becomes more difficult and in some cases life-threatening. The bronchioles swell with mucous and go into spasm. This closes the airways and causes the asthmatic to wheeze and gasp for air.
Although the traditional methods for controlling asthma and allergies are numerous, sickness and death from asthma appear to be increasing. As stated in The New England Journal of Medicine in February of 1992, this trend is as least partially due to side effects from regular use of inhaled medications.
A new approach
In a recent study, children with asthma showed an overall improvement in lung capacity after only 15 chiropractic adjustments. Other findings documenting abnormal spinal mechanics associated with asthma were performed by the famous osteopathic researcher Alan Stoddard. Stoddard stated that many diseases are due to mechanical lesions (vertebral subluxations). There is ample research documenting the intimate connection between the spinal column, the nervous system, and the respiratory system. Vertebral subluxations in the neck and upper back can produce associated muscle spasms, which cause a restriction and stasis of the lymphatic drainage from the head and neck. As a result, the body is unable to wash out the bacteria, debris, and foreign material to which it is exposed. As this vital process is slowed, the phagocytic activity within the lymphatic chain (drainage of waste, bacteria, etc.) is interrupted, and invasion of the offending bacteria multiplies. Chiropractic adjustments in many cases will produce immediate relaxation of the neck musculature responsible for obstructing the lympahtic (neck) drainage. These adjustments improve respiratory function by restoring normal nerve function, which in turn may result in symptomatic improvement in bronchitis and asthma.
In several studies researchers found spinal adjustments to induce respiratory function and chest mobility superior to that produced through conventional medical bronchiodilators, expectorants, and corticosteroids. Various symptoms of abnormal respiratory function may improve clinically with chiropractic adjustments.
The primary muscle for breathing is the diaphragm. It is actually composed of two muscles, the left and right hemidiaphragms, which separate the chest and abdominal cavities. The phrenic nerve (C3, C4, C5 - neck nerves) powers the diaphram. If the nerve supply is interfered with, such as in a subluxation in the neck, the diaphram weakens and breathing becomes impaired. Additional muscles, such as the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, scalene, and pectorals, operate to assist the diaphragm during a period of increased breathing effort, such as during exercise or severe respiratory illness. All of these muscles must have nerve supply to work. Subluxations interfering with normal nerve supply can cause muscular imbalances leading to a weaker respiratory tract. Restoring nerve supply by correcting vertebral subluxations not only improves muscle tone, but actually aids in overall body function, especially in the immune response.
Chiropractic is safe and natural
The chiropractic approach to health care is natural. It does not try to stimulate or inhibit normal body function. Instead, the chiropractor addresses the important role of the nervous system in the healing process. The results can be dramatic, as in a 1989 Danish study of 115 families with children ages 0 to 7 years suffering from asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy. One third of the children underwent chiropractic adjustments, after which 93 percent of the parents surveyed reported improvement in their child's asthma condition. Many childhood illnesses may be manifested in the child and adult due to abnormal body function caused by subluxations. In light of this, your chiropractor may be the best doctor to help your child improve his/her health.