Like most automatic life functions, breathing is something we take for granted. Until, that is, we have breathing difficulties. As anyone who’s ever suffered from breathing problems such as bronchitis or asthma can tell you, having trouble “getting your breath” is one of the most unpleasant, and even scary, experiences you can have.
The good news is that chiropractic care, in combination with Chinese medicine and good nutritional management, can not only provide relief from asthma and bronchitis, it can help you eliminate them from your life. Even people suffering from emphysema can get significant help through chiropractic.
History of Lung Diseases
The word “asthma” first appeared in medical literature as early as the year 1398. But it probably wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s that the condition became common. During this period, pollution and lax child labor laws — children as young as eight years old frequently worked 12-hour days in very unhealthy conditions — contributed to a dramatic increase in the incidence of asthma, especially among children. In addition, the average diet began to include significantly more refined carbohydrates.
Within the past 40 years, there has been another significant upsurge in the frequency of serious asthma, to the point where, since the mid-1990s, more than 15 million Americans a year are diagnosed with the condition. More than 5,000 die from it yearly. Asthma now ranks as the number one chronic condition among children.
While the causes of asthma are still not clearly known, it is thought to result from a combination of factors, including allergies and chemical sensitivities. Diet can play a role. And finally, there can be an emotional connection as well. Highly stressful events often trigger incidents of difficulty in breathing that characterize the condition.
Medical Treatments for Lung Diseases
Medical treatment typically consists of inhalers and anti-inflammatory drugs, including steroids. While using drugs and inhalers can lead to a temporary lessening of symptoms, over time their use can often have serious side effects and can lead to dependency.
Fortunately, about half of the children diagnosed as asthmatic “outgrow” the condition and no longer need medical treatment. The fact that this happens so often points to the power of the natural healing of which our bodies are capable. It also underscores why chiropractic is perhaps the single fastest and most effective way of reducing and eliminating the symptoms of asthma.
Emphysema – another all-too-common disease of the lungs – is a more serious, acute condition. The patient with emphysema is usually a lifetime cigarette smoker. Years of smoking causes the tissues within the lungs to break down. This physical damage generally can’t be repaired. However, strengthening the patient’s lung system can help alleviate the disease’s symptoms.
Chiropractic Approach to Treating Lung Diseases
The chiropractic approach takes full advantage of our bodies’ natural healing capabilities in a number of ways. For example, chiropractic recognizes the importance of diet in dealing with breathing difficulties. Carbohydrates, for example, tend to be inflammatory foods which exacerbate many disorders, including asthma and bronchitis. It’s important, therefore, to determine whether the patient eats a high-carbohydrate diet.
If they do, the chiropractor will recommend that the patient reduce their carbohydrate intake as part of their regimen.
Deficiencies in the minerals chromium and magnesium are also implicated in disorders of the lungs. So the chiropractor may perform muscle tests (kinesiology) to detect deficiencies, and, if deficiencies are present, prescribe the minerals to be taken as nutritional supplements. Taking chromium and magnesium raises blood levels of these nutrients and makes them more readily available to help combat bronchitis and asthma, and it is an important part of the recommended treatment protocol.
A Holistic Approach to Lung Health
Chiropractic also addresses the underlying physiological conditions that frequently accompany breathing problems. In Chinese medicine, kidney problems are often associated with breathing difficulties; the chiropractor should also test for their presence and treat if necessary.
The chiropractor also looks at the patient’s spine for subluxations. A subluxation can be best understood as a misalignment of a vertebra. Subluxations cause nerve interference and spinal stress that can be direct causes of many disease-like conditions. People with asthma, bronchitis or related conditions often exhibit subluxations of the first and second thoracic vertebrae. Frequently, one or two chiropractic treatments to correct these subluxations is all that is required to obtain relief.
Conventional medicine tends to concentrate on alleviating symptoms. Chiropractic, as a holistic medical discipline, focuses on a patient’s entire physical and emotional condition. By helping re-balance the patient physically, the chiropractor works with the patient’s natural healing ability. Not only can the patient’s “disease” be cured—but the patient can also enjoy full, vibrant health.