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Posted on 03-29-2017

In the industrialized world, a growing number of individuals are affected by allergies.  Currently, the numbers are between 10-30 percent of the total population and are increasing steadily. It is currently estimated that between doctor visits, prescriptions, and time missed from work, these allergies cost in excess of 3 billion each year. Seasonal or not, all allergies are the result of an exaggerated response by the immune system to substances that it recognizes as foreign. 

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.

Of course, there are medications to help control the allergic response and provide relief from symptoms.  There are even medications that will be life-saving in the event of severe allergic reactions.  However, in addition to treating symptoms, there are other steps which can be taken to boost the immune system and lessen allergic reactions.

The strength of both the immune and respiratory systems depends largely on proper communication between the brain and spinal cord to control and coordinate their functions properly.  When there are interruptions in this communication such as misalignments of the neck, immunity may be compromised.  This upper cervical joint irritation can exaggerate or even produce allergic and asthmatic symptoms.  Through adjustments of the joints and soft tissue through traditional chiropractic adjustment , a chiropractor can help restore alignment and open the necessary pathways of communication between the brain and spine.

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.

If you are among the millions of Americans who suffer from a wide range of allergies, there may be a solution to help minimize your symptoms.  A chiropractor can help identify any underlying neck or back misalignments which may be compromising your immune system.  Furthermore, they can help you determine best practices and eating habits to help keep allergic reactions at bay. 

References:

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.

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