Can A Chiropractor Help Ease Asthma Symptoms?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  at least 25 million people in the United States suffer with asthma. Doctors generally prescribe medicines to help treat asthma symptoms, but many people look for other ways to help their bodies cope with the condition. A chiropractor may not seem like an obvious choice to help you treat asthma, but research increasingly shows that this type of treatment is beneficial to people with the condition. Learn how some physical problems can worsen your asthma symptoms, and find out how a chiropractor can help you control these issues.

How does asthma affect your body?

Asthma is a long-term, chronic disease that doctors cannot cure. People with the condition can suffer mild or severe symptoms, but a serious asthma attack can kill you. Indeed, doctors linked asthma to 3,404 deaths in 2010.

People with asthma have sensitive airways. If something irritates an asthmatic's respiratory system, the lining of the airways can quickly become sore and swollen. When this happens, the airways become narrower, which makes it harder to breathe. 

A mild asthma attack can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. A very severe attack can make it almost impossible to breathe. While quick-relief medicines can help immediately ease symptoms, it's better to find a treatment plan that prevents the problem developing. 

So how can a chiropractor help?

You would normally associate a chiropractor with conditions that affect the skeleton or nervous system, but these healthcare professionals can help with a wide range of illnesses that may occur (or become worse) because of musculoskeletal problems. Allergy shots, inhalers and medications can all tackle the soreness and inflammation that comes with asthma symptoms, but a chiropractor can help prevent the problem occurring.

A chiropractor can administer treatment that helps improve your lung capacity. After a relatively small number of sessions, a chiropractor can deal with some of the physical symptoms that can exacerbate an asthma attack. For example, a 2013 study looked at several scientific studies and found that manual techniques were beneficial in children with respiratory diseases like asthma.

What would a chiropractor do?

Manual chiropractic treatments can help asthmatics in several ways.

If certain vertebrae are misaligned, you can experience problems with the muscles in your neck. Tightened or constricted neck muscles can interfere with the immune system, which can make you more susceptible to asthma. A chiropractor can help you relax the neck muscles, which can help the immune system work more effectively.

Your posture affects the way you breathe. For example, if you sit down and lean over with your hands stretched to the floor, you'll find it harder to breathe because your lungs cannot easily fill with air. While this example is quite extreme, minor problems with your spine can still easily impede your breathing. A chiropractor can make relatively minor spinal adjustments that can quickly improve respiratory function.

The diaphragm is the main muscle your body uses when you breathe. This crucial muscle relies on a strong nerve supply in several places, but problems with your neck vertebrae can also interfere with the nervous system. Chiropractic intervention can realign problem vertebrae, which, in turn, can restore full nerve function.

What should you tell your doctor?

Your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan that combines medication with chiropractic treatment. Indeed, it's important that you let your doctor know about any complementary or alternative therapies you decide to use, particularly for your children.

In some cases, people may decide to interrupt a course of prescribed medication, which could have dangerous side effects. Treatment from a chiropractor won't necessarily replace medicines, and you should always follow your doctor's instructions.

Asthma is one of the biggest health issues American people face, but your treatment options don't only include medication. Talk to your doctor or chiropractor about the benefits physical therapy can offer. You can also visit for more information about chiropractic services in your area.