Asthma is a disease that almost everyone in the United States knows about. If you don’t have the condition yourself, you probably know someone who does. Asthma is a long-term disease of the respiratory system that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways of the lungs. It results in recurring episodes of chest tightness, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and coughing. Asthma is on the rise. It now affects more than 25 million people in the United States, and the number of people affected increases by 50% each year.
Asthma is typically controlled by inhaled steroid medications, but asthma symptoms and triggers can be controlled through natural alternatives. This post will give you some insight into the relationship between chiropractic and asthma in Redondo Beach through natural alternatives such as naturopatic medicine and chiropractic treatment.
What is Asthma?
The airways of the lungs are the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. In asthma, the airways become inflamed, swollen, and highly sensitive to certain conditions and substances, sometimes called “triggers.” When triggered, the airways respond by swelling even more and the muscles around them tighten, limiting the amount of air that can travel into and out of the lungs. More mucus is sometimes produced in asthma in response to the trigger, making it even harder to breathe.
Typical symptoms of asthma include:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Many things can trigger asthma symptoms or make them worse. It’s important to know what triggers your asthma in order to keep your asthma under control. Asthma triggers vary by person and what triggers one patient’s asthma may have no effect on another patient.
Common asthma triggers include:
- Allergens from molds, dust, and animal fur, and pollen from flowers, grass, and trees
- Irritants like chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, or air pollution
- Medications like aspirin or other drugs
- Infections like colds or upper respiratory viruses
- Sulfites in food or drinks
- Cold weather
- Physical activity
There is no cure for asthma. Traditional treatment of the disease includes two types of medications—those that are used for long-term control to prevent symptoms and “rescue” drugs. Rescue medications are short-acting drugs that work quickly to relieve symptoms that flare up suddenly and severely.
In most cases, doctors prescribe steroids and bronchodilators for asthma. Many times, doses of these medications need to be increased when symptoms are not controlled. These drugs can be very effective, even life-saving, but they carry a high risk of side effects. Many people with asthma fear that, since asthma is incurable, they will be on these expensive and potentially harmful drugs for the rest of their life.
Chiropractic Treatment of Asthma
The goal of treating asthma is to control the symptoms. Good control of asthma includes:
- Preventing symptoms: In many studies, symptoms of asthma have been reduced with chiropractic care for asthma. When symptoms of asthma are triggered by heightened responses in the nervous system, which they often are, they decrease when proper functioning of the spine is restored through chiropractor care for asthma.
- Reducing the need for rescue medications: When symptoms are reduced by chiropractic care, asthma attacks and the need for rescue medication also decreases. Chiropractic treatment for asthma is natural plan of care for asthma. The improvement in symptoms is not always immediate. Never stop taking your medications for asthma unless your family practitioner or medical doctor advises you to do this.
- Helping maintain adequate lung function: When the rib and spinal joints are not moving freely, breathing is more difficult and the respiratory muscles have to work much harder. Decreased lung capacity results. Using manipulation to free up these joints with chiropractic care for asthma helps improve lung function.
- Allowing you to go about your normal activities: The holistic chiropractic treatment of asthma recognizes and treats your body as a whole. Your chiropractor will evaluate your condition and will help you identify other health conditions that may be affecting your breathing, identify your triggers, plan for emergencies, and formulate an exercise plan to keep you breathing easy.
Your Asthma Treatment Plan
The NIH advocates working with your healthcare team to treat other conditions that could be interfering with your asthma control. The NIH also recommends avoiding asthma triggers, other than exercise, and partnering with healthcare providers to formulate an asthma treatment plan.
Your chiropractor can be an essential part of your natural treatment for asthma while seeing your family practitioner for regular evaluations of your condition, and seeking emergency or urgent care treatment as needed. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors to see how we can help you with comprehensive and holistic chiropractic treatment for asthma.