Combatting Allergies and Sinus Issues with Chiropractic

If you live in Texas, it’s no surprise that Texas ranks as one of the worst state for allergy sufferers. Whether your poison is mountain cedar, ragweed, or just plain old pollen,  your itchy, drippy nose and watery eyes are all the proof you need that Spring is here. If so, you are not alone–more than 35 million people in the US suffer from seasonal allergies. As a result, the market for allergy medications is booming.

I have had many patients over the years who have sought treatment for back pain (or neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.) only to find the added bonus that their Chiropractic treatments also helped to reduce the severity of their seasonal allergies. Many reported to me that they were able to greatly reduce the amount of allergy medication they required to manage their symptoms. What they learned firsthand is that once their bodies were running smoothly, they were able to deal with intrusions (like cedar, pollen, elm, ragweed) without suffereing a severe reaction.

Since another allergy season is about to pop, now is the time to  schedule an appointment and begin your Chiropractic Allergy Combat Plan!

Chiropractic for Allergies:  Allergies are a disorder of the immune system. The immune system overreacts to a typically non-harmful substance (cat dander, pollen, peanuts, dairy products, dust, molds, etc.), and initiates a response to neutralize and flush out the allergen. The results of this immune response are swelling, itching, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, diarrhea, to name a few. The immune system is highly effective in ridding the body of what it perceives as harmful.

Chiropractic is not a treatment for allergies per se, but it has helped allergy sufferers for years. Chiropractic aims to remove interference to the nervous system by specifically correcting a condition called subluxation. What controls the immune system? Many things including your spleen, bone marrow, adrenal glands to name a few. What controls all of these things? It is your brain and nervous system. In 1993 a group of researchers at the University of Calgary discovered a group of cells at the top of the spinal cord that form a direct pathway from the nervous system to the immune system. Any interference to this pathway would likely result in an improperly functioning immune system. A chiropractic study found that specific upper neck adjustments in HIV positive patients led to a 48% increase in CD4 cells (immune cells) over a 6-month duration. Preliminary studies have found that adjustments enhance the activity of IgA, IgG, IgM, and phagocytic cell respiratory bursts (all immune system functions). A properly functioning immune system is less likely to produce allergy symptoms.

Sources

Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. Brenan PC, Kokjohn K., Katlinger CJ, et al., JMPT 1991, Vol 14, No. 7

Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis. Patricia Brenan, John J Triano, arion McGregor, et al, JMPT, Vol15, No 2, Feb 1992.

Chiropractic treatment and antibody levels. Stewart M. Alcorn

The effects of upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV positive patients. Selano, J., Hightower B, Pfleger B, et al., CRJ-Vol3 No 1 1994.

Sinus Problems: The sinuses are 8 hollow spaces in the bones of the forehead, cheeks and temples. These spaces are coated with mucous membranes, which drain mucous in the air passages to help trap foreign particles such as dust and microbes. When sinuses become inflamed they cannot drain properly causing back up, pressure and possible infection. Risk factors include chronic allergies, abnormal structure in the sinus area, and rapid changes in altitude/pressure (flying, diving, etc). Sinus headaches cause dull, deep or severe pain in the area of the forehead and cheeks and are typically worse in the morning and better by afternoon. Being that the primary risk to the sinuses is allergies, the root of the cause of sinus problems most often lies in improper function of the immune system. This would explain why many people can breath the same air, and only a few end up with sinus trouble. The immune system over reacts to a begnin element (cat dander, pollen, etc) while at the same time is not able to rid the body of the likely sinus infections which might cause the patient to seek the “aid” of antibiotics.

Chiropractors aim to assist the body in functioning properly by removing interference to the nervous system. Ruling out abnormal structures (nasal polyps or bone spurs), chiropractic becomes a viable alternative for helping people with sinus problems. It is well known that chiropractic is effective for headaches, and numerous studies also point to the relationship between the immune system and nervous system and how chiropractic can enhance the functions of both. In addition the mucous membranes of the sinuses themselves are controlled by the brain and nervous system.

Folweiler DS, Lynch OT. Nasal specific technique as part of a chiropractic approach to chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995;18(1):38-41.

Cady RK, Schreiber CP. Sinus headache or migraine? Considerations in making a differential diagnosis. Neurology. 2002;58(9 Suppl 6):S10-S14

Hack, GD, The anatomic basis for the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation in treating headache. Abstracts from the 15th annual upper cervical spine conference. Nov. 21-22, 1998. CRJ 199:VI(1).

The effects of upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV positive patients. Selano J, Hightower B, Pfleger B, et al., CRJ-Vol3 No 1 1994.

(reprinted in part from ChiroZone)

Comments

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