Runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; itchy throat or nose… do these symptoms sound familiar? Well, for seasonal allergies, it’s that time of year again. Unfortunately, many of my patients are among the sufferers. And, most of those patient have mentioned how adjustments have helped them reduce sinus pressure, breathe easier, and generally cope with seasonal allergy symptoms. The recent regularity of these discussions prompted me to do a little digging (research, not yardwork… the pollen bothers me too) and share.
Make Breathing Easier
Easier breathing following chiropractic treatments in patients with asthma has been demonstrated for many years12. The mode by which chiropractic helps those who suffer from seasonal allergies is more complicated. In the body, all of our involuntary functions, like breathing and digestion, are controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS in turn is composed of two divisions, the sympathetic nervous system, credited with the fight or flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which operates more when the body is calm and at rest.
Calm the Inflammation
Research on the causes of allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) indicate that an imbalance in the ANS is a factor3. Just as histamine increases in response to higher concentrations of allergens (pollen, mold, grasses, etc.), the sympathetic nervous system can become over-excited (reacting to inflammation and irritation of the sinuses) by the same irritants4. Certain levels of the spine correspond to the sinuses, and chiropractic adjustments to these areas can help to calm the over-stimulated nervous system response just as anti-histamine would help to reduce the body’s response to pathogens, but without the medication of course5. The take home message being that adjustments don’t just help the spine move better, but areas related to certain spinal levels can see improvements as well.
Thank you Matthews Chiropractic Center patients who have shared their treatment benefits beyond the more common improvements in neck and back pain, headaches, and other spinal conditions. If you have question’s you would like me to answer just let me know.
- Miller WD. Treatment of Visceral Disorders by Manipulative Therapy in The Research Status of Spinal Manipulative Therapy; 1975 Goldstein M, NINCDS Monograph, Bethesda: US Dept Of Health, Education and Welfare, pp295-301. [↩]
- Hviid C. A Comparison of the Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Respiratory Function in Patients with Respiratory Symptoms and Patients Without; Bul Eur Chiro Union; 1978; 26:17-34. [↩]
- Editors. Autonomic abnormalities in asthma. Lancet;1982;1:1224-1225. [↩]
- Korr IM. Sustained sympatheticotonia as a factor in disease. In: Korr IM, ed The neurobiologic mechanisms in manipulative therapy. New York, Plenum Press, 1978:229-268. [↩]
- Patterson M. The spinal cord: participant in disorder. J Spinal Manip 1993;9(3):2-11. [↩]