The mechanics of breathing isn't a topic many people spend time pondering. This automatic bodily function occurs with or without conscious thought. Controlled by a group of neurons at the base of your brain, known as the respiratory center, breathing belongs to a group of passive bodily mechanics the human body requires to survive. For the nearly 25 million Americans with asthma, however, the subconscious act of breathing holds far more importance than non-asthmatic persons.
Asthma is far more common than most think, affecting one out of 12 people in the U.S. Because of this, the modern medical community is under continual pressure to develop newer, more effective treatment options. Within recent years, however, the impact of chiropractic care on the human body has been opening the minds, and airways, of asthmatic patients.
A common misconception about chiropractic care is that it only benefits the skeletal system and relieves nerve pain. While chiropractic is primarily used to relieve pain due to misalignment, the benefits of manipulating our bones aren’t only related to basic-level neck pain.
It's strange to believe that the correction of subluxations, or misaligned joints, has the potential to reduce the severity of a seemingly unrelated medical condition. Yet, as clinical research continues to demonstrate, there's an obvious correlation between spinal alignment and pulmonary function. Most recently, the Chiropractic Journal of Australia published a case study where the use of chiropractic manipulation caused significant asthma-symptom improvement. Over the course of three days, the patient experienced a rapid decrease in symptom severity, and under the supervision of a physician, reduced the use of previously required medications.
What's intriguing is the commonality between non-linked clinical research trials. For example, a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found chiropractic care reduced symptom severity by 34 percent while bronchial hyperreactivity improved by 36 percent.
Although asthma is caused by a variety of external and internal influences, evidence suggests a misalignment of specific vertebra irritates the sympathetic nervous system. The biological reaction to subluxation demonstrates the intertwining of the entire human body. For example, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates adrenal gland hormone production, specifically epinephrine and norepinephrine, which dilate the bronchial tree. When subluxation results in sympathetic nerve fiber compression, however, specifically in the T7-T11 vertebra, hormone production decreases and the bronchial tree is constricted.
These studies show that a chiropractor can restore vertebra alignment, resulting in stronger neural connections throughout your body and drastically affecting asthma symptoms and severity. In order to treat asthma, chiropractic care can offer you lasting health benefits. Make sure to speak with your chiropractor and physician regarding to use of spinal adjustments for asthma control.
Control of Breathing, merckmanuals.com
ASTHMA STATISTICS, aaaai.org
Chiropractic care for patients with asthma: A systematic review of the literature, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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