Case Study 1: Chiropractic Treatment of Asthma in Children. Reported in the American Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic, December 1988.
This article recounts the history of a five year old chld who had had bronchial congestion, pneumonia, and bronchitis several times since she was 18 months old. After running or waking up in the morning she would be wheezy. The father and mother both reported having allergies. Chiropractic examination of the child revealed subluxations at three locations on the spine. Two days after the second adjustment, coughing had been reduced, and after the third visit a week later the child was breathing normally. A total of twelve adjustments over a three month period were given, and the chief complaint did not recur. The child was still well four years later.
Case Study 2 Summary: History of Asthmatic Child. Matthews, NC, et al. International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Newsletter. July 1996.
The four year old had respiratory problems since her birth, and was diagosed with asthma. Her breathing was very labored, and she had shortness of breath. She couldn't run with the other children because of the constant shortness of breath, and had become reliant on antibiotics for constant respiratory infections, and she had also taken steroidal drugs. This conventional drug therapy had not prevented her from spending every Christmas in the hospital on a breathing machine. A complete chiropractic examination revealed vertebral subluxation of the atlas right, sixth cervical posterior, and right posterior sacrum. Specific chiropractic adjustment were given, and the.patient responded to the care immediately and was able to suspend using the drugs within two weeks. Within two months, she was able to play with her friends with no further symptoms. Her fifth Christmas was the first at home in her life. "What would have happened to her if over the last two years she had been on steroids rather than chiropractic care?" her father wondered
The following is a National Institute of Health public report:
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things to which you are allergic or find irritating. When the airways react, they get narrower and less air flows through to your lung tissues. This causes symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing.
Asthma cannot be cured, but for most patients it can be controlled so that you have only minimal and infrequent symptoms and you can live an active life. So, if you have asthma, taking care of it is an important part of your life. Controlling your asthma means staying away from things that bother your airways and taking medicines as directed by your doctor. By controlling your asthma every day, you can prevent serious symptoms and take part in all activities. If your asthma is not well controlled, you are likely to have symptoms that can make you miss school or work and keep you from doing things you enjoy. Asthma is one of the leading causes of children missing school.
When you experience a worsening of your asthma symptoms, it is called an asthma episode or attack. In an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten up, making the airway openings narrower so less air can flow through. Inflammation increases and the airways become more swollen and narrow. Cells in the airways also make more mucus than usual. This extra mucus also narrows the airways. These changes cause the symptoms of asthma and make it harder to breathe. Asthma attacks are not all the same-some are worse than others. In a severe asthma attack, the airways can close so much that not enough oxygen gets to vital organs. This condition is a medical emergency. People can die from severe asthma attacks.
If you have asthma, you should see your doctor regularly. You will need to learn what things cause your asthma symptoms to worsen and how to avoid them. Your doctor will also prescribe medicines to keep your asthma under control.
What Causes Asthma?
It is not clear exactly what makes the airways of people with asthma inflamed in the first place. Your inflamed airways may be due to a combination of things. We know that if other people in your family have asthma, you are more likely to develop it. New research suggests exposures early in your life (like tobacco smoke, infections, and some allergens) may be important.
What Causes Asthma Attacks?
There are things that can make asthma symptoms worse and lead to asthma attacks. Some of the more common things that can worsen your asthma symptoms are exercise, allergens, irritants, and viral infections. Some people only have asthma with exercise or a viral infection. The lists below give some examples of things that can worsen asthma symptoms.
Animal dander (from the skin, hair, or feathers of animals)
Dust mites (contained in house dust)
Pollen from trees and grass
Mold (indoor and outdoor)
Cold air or changes in weather
Strong odors from painting or cooking
Strong emotional expression (including crying or laughing hard), and stress
Medications such as aspirin and beta-blockers
Sulfites in food (dried fruit) or beverages (wine)
A condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that causes heartburn and can worsen asthma symptoms, especially at night.
Irritants or allergens that you may be exposed to at your work such as special chemicals or dusts
This is not a complete list of all the things that can worsen asthma. People can have trouble with one or more of these. It is important for you to learn which ones are problems for you. Your doctor can help you identify which things effect your asthma and ways to avoid them.
What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?
Coughing. Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
Common asthma symptoms include:
Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe.
Chest tightness. This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
Shortness of breath. Some people say they can't catch their breath, or they feel breathless or out of breath. You may feel like you can't get enough air in or out of your lungs.
Faster breathing or noisy breathing.
People with asthma may have:
Wheezing when they have a cold or other illness
Frequent coughing, especially at night (sometimes this is the only sign of asthma in a child)
Asthma symptoms brought on by exercises such as running, biking, or other brisk activity, especially during cold weather
Coughing or wheezing brought on by prolonged crying or laughing
Coughing or wheezing when they are near an allergen or irritant
If you notice that you or your child has these symptoms, talk to your doctor or your child's doctor.
Not all people have these symptoms, and symptoms may vary from one asthma attack to another. Symptoms can differ in how severe they are: sometimes symptoms can be mildly annoying; other times they can be serious enough to make you stop what you are doing, and sometimes symptoms can be so serious that they are life threatening. Symptoms also differ in how often they occur. Some people with asthma only have symptoms once every few months, others have symptoms every week, and still other people have symptoms every day. With proper treatment, however, most people with asthma can expect to have minimal or no symptoms.
If the treatment you're currently receiving for your asthma is proving inadequate, maybe it's time for you to try chiropractic. To receive a free chiropractic examination and analysis, please call our office, or click here to request your appointment online.
To get your asthma under control, you may wish to first take our "Stress Test."
To take the Stress Test, click here.
JA February 2005