Chiropractic Can Help With Allergies... Really!
Spring is in the air. Flowers are budding. Leaves are growing. And the days are getting longer. That's something to be so grateful for.
Unfortunately for many of us, when we hear “Spring is in the air,” our minds tend focus on could be ahead. Runny noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing.
Okay, So What Causes Allergic Reactions?
Your immune system is designed to recognize and terminate harmful substances from your body. Inflammation, sneezing, coughing and vomiting are methods the immune system uses to expel any dangerous substance that you ingest.
However, an allergic response is what happens when your immune system activates against a substance that can be considered harmless. So, the allergic reaction is caused not by the substance itself but by your body’s interpretation that the substance is potentially harmful.
What Happens Inside My Body Then?
When an allergic reaction starts, the body activates special immune cells called mast cells. On the surface of their membranes, these mast cells have receptors that recognize substances either as harmful or helpful to the body. When harmful substances are detected, the cells release histamines. Ever heard of a histamine response? Or taking an anti-histamine? This is why.
So, these chemicals sensitize the body to react, which then makes us try to remove the harmful substances by sneezing, coughing, or having a runny nose.
Alright, So Then Why Do People Get Allergies?
No one knows for sure why people become allergic to relatively harmless substances.
But there's a theory that an allergic reaction is an interpretation of your environment. In order to interpret, your body must first get information. The nervous system is the KEY PROCESSING UNIT of your body.
Think about this then- if your nervous system is dysfunctional, THEN the information interpreted will be altered, thus making you super vulnerable to abnormal reactions like allergies.
So, Can Chiropractic Help With Allergies?
Since the beneficial effects of chiropractic adjustments on the nervous system are well documented, it’s not surprising many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms under regular chiropractic care. The misalignment of vertebral segment causes irritation within the spine, which then creates a poor signal that is received by our spinal cord and brain. When this signal occurs along the same pathway that is required for normal healthy messages, the body may not interpret the information in the way we want it. When this occurs, an allergic reaction can result.
So, to sum this up: Misalignment = poor signal to the brain/spinal cord = allergic reaction.
Although scientific research shows chiropractic adjustments do not cause an improvement in all allergy cases, they’re definitely beneficial for some patients. The reason for the inconsistency may be because there are so many different causes for each patient’s hypersensitivity.
One Last Thing: Allergies and Stress - Yes, They Are Linked!
Recent studies explain that stress can play a huge role in the process behind allergies. The majority of allergic conditions are considered "psychosomatic," with symptoms worsening as our stress levels increase.
The nervous system and immune system are connected, so it is easy to see how stress and the body’s corresponding immune changes would be linked.
The stress hormone cortisol works to subdue the body’s response to allergies, and then lessen the symptoms. If your body is experiencing chronic stress, the adrenal glands which produce cortisol become worn out, and with a shortage of cortisol, allergy symptoms become more severe.