Asthma

Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Asthma?

Bear with me on this one; I’ve not gone all new age and pseudo-science. But this is worth a second look.

Approximately 300million people worldwide have been diagnosed with asthma, mostly in developed countries. Surprisingly, asthma is considered responsible for up to 250,000 deaths annually. That’s a very serious tally for something that is widely misunderstood as a bit of wheezing.

Asthma is defined as chronic (long-lasting) inflammation of the airways. The severity of this varies over time and with external factors, causing fluctuating degrees of wheezing, breathlessness, fatigue, coughing and so forth.


Bronchial Constriction

Fig 1. Bronchial constriction, as seen in an asthma attack


Currently asthma is treated with steroids administered via an inhaler. In severe or long-standing cases, and where co-morbidities exist, these may be used prophylactically. Possible allergens and irritants are also investigated as removable triggers.

For years small numbers of chiropractors have been claiming to be able to treat asthma using spinal manipulation. They state that spinal subluxations (used to mean mal-position rather than partial dislocation) are a major component of disease, including asthma, preventing the body from repairing itself by impinging on “neurological flow”.

Frankly, these chiropractors have been widely ostracised for prattling absolute jibberish and fleecing patients out of loads of money.

Research on the topic tends to indicate this was a good move by the chiropractic profession; In its naturally conflicting way, current research neither advocates nor condemns chiropractic treatment for asthma, citing lack of evidence.

Of the existing studies, most are poorly designed and the majority conclude that chiropractic and sham-chiropractic treatments have the same outcomes for asthma patients.

For years small numbers of chiropractors have been claiming to be able to treat asthma using spinal manipulation. They state that spinal subluxations (used to mean mal-position rather than partial dislocation) are a major component of disease, including asthma, preventing the body from repairing itself by impinging on “neurological flow”.

So that’s a no then? Chiropractic cannot help asthma.

Well, hold the phone. There’s more.

Out of curiosity, while treating asthmatic patients for other complaints I have been asking whether their asthma symptoms have changed. Remarkably, all those asked have reported dramatic improvement, and even complete regression, of symptoms.

Alongside this, and with the help of a couple of willing asthmatics, I am running a small case series (to be published at a later date). So far, all cases have demonstrated quite incredible improvement in reported symptoms.

Clearly, jumping to conclusions at this time would be ludicrous; however, some basic physiology may actually explain these observations.

The Science

Treatment

Food for Thought