Chiropractic Adjustment for the Respiratory System

Our office used to have people suffering with terrible allergy symptoms during the spring and winter months . But this article was written in the summer because in California more and more people are having allergies due to growing climate changes and our fire season. One surprising solution to provide relief for breathing issues is chiropractic adjustments. Here are several ways how chiropractic helps on a mechanical level and on the level of the nervous system specifically the autonomic nervous system.

First of all if a rib is not articulating with the mid back vertebrae correctly, there is a mechanical impingement of the rib cage which directly affects the ability to take a full breath. Sometimes if we have a rib misaligned we may never realize there is a problem unless we try and do some deep breathing and realize we are limited. Other times we may have pain that prevents the full breath in and so be restricted that way this may even feel like a sharp pain while taking a full breath in that stops us short.

Secondly, any adjustment that stimulates the nervous system will also stimulate the autonomic nervous system which is split into parasympathetic (relaxation side) and sympathetic (stress response side). In the case of asthma or allergies there is constriction of the bronchi and mucus formation in the trachea. Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system will help by bronchodilating and reducing mucous and this stimulation comes from stimulating a sympathetic chain located in the thoracic vertebra from T1 to L3.  Sympathetic stimulation for the trachea is T1-T4.

Current research states that a chiropractic adjustment will affect the autonomic nervous system when done in the thoracic spine causing a reduction in mucus and bronchodilation. (McCorry, Laurie K., PhD. “A Physiology of the Autonomic Nervous System.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 71.4 (2007): n. page Web 12 Feb 2013)

So here is how to do a quick check on yourself:

  • Sit up very straight and put your hands on the lower part of your rib cage and take a deep breath in and out. Does your rib cage move evenly if no or unsure?  You would benefit from an adjustment.
  • Can you take a full breath in?
  • Do you have pain with taking a full breath or pain in your rib cage when lying on your side?

If you did answer no to any of the above questions and you also have allergies and asthma, we recommend a semi-regular adjustment especially during the allergy season. It can help manage your symptoms.