Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine based on the notion that the relationship between the body’s structure and its function affects health. The term combines Greek words chiro (hand) and praxis (practice) to describe a type of treatment done by hand. While most people assume chiropractic is all about adjustments to relieve back pain, it does more than that. In fact, chiropractic care can help relieve numerous conditions including hay fever.
What is hay fever?
Does this image remind you of sneezing fits during spring?!
Hay fever or allergic reaction is a quite common condition that affects about 30% of people worldwide, including up to 10% of the US children under 17 years of age and 7.8% of adults in the country. It’s estimated that medical cost of allergic rhinitis is $3.4 billion due to the cost of prescription medication. On the other hand, in Australia 1 in 5 individuals are affected by this condition. Although the term hay fever is more commonly use, it is a misnomer because hay is not a usual cause of the problem and it doesn’t induce fever.
While any substance can cause allergy, rhinitis is primarily caused by proteins. Hay fever is a result of an allergic person coming in contact with protein from plants i.e. pollen. Although it’s invisible in the air, pollen poses as a potent stimulator of allergies because it lodges in the nasal lining tissues or mucous membranes and other parts of the respiratory tract where it promotes allergic response.
Your immune system identifies a harmless airborne particle as harmful and produces antibodies to his substance. The next time you come in contact with that substance, in this case, pollen, these antibodies signal the immune system to release chemicals such as histamine into the bloodstream, thus triggering symptoms associated with hay fever.
Signs and symptoms of this allergic condition include:
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose and nasal congestion
- Swollen, blue-colored skin under the eyes
- Watery, itchy, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
Chiropractic and hay fever
Numerous treatments are available to treat hay fever, but all they do is tackle the symptoms and decrease their intensity. They don’t do anything to solve the root cause of the problem. Chiropractic stands out due to its ability to release stress on a patient’s nervous system to allow the immune system to operate efficiently. Why is this important? It’s important because the stress-free body is more capable of warding off allergens without the consumption of harmful medications.
Misaligned spinal vertebra or subluxations put pressure on the nerve, thus creating more stress on the nervous system and the consequence of these actions is body’s high susceptibility to disease.
The primary goal of chiropractic adjustments is to remove these subluxations to allow the immune system of a patient to function normally again. That said, the greatest benefit of chiropractic in the treatment of hay fever is the ability of this treatment to tackle the underlying cause, not just symptoms. When these adjustments decrease the stress on the nervous system, the organism works more efficiently to offset allergy-causing chemicals in the environment.
The effects of chiropractic adjustments on hay fever were inspected by a group of scientists at the New York Chiropractic College. The study included 12 patients aged between 17 and 52 suffering from hay fever. Participants were categorized into four random groups:
- Group A – spinal manipulation
- Group B – homeopathic remedy
- Group C – homeopathic remedy
- Group D – spinal manipulation + sublingual placebo
Findings, published in the Chiroeco, showed that although a larger sample size is necessary to determine the effectiveness of these treatments, Group A showed the most improvement in symptoms of hay fever.
Chiropractic shows promising results in the treatment of hay fever, and a vast majority of patients report they do feel better after treatments. That’s why, if you suffer from this allergic condition, scheduling an appointment for chiropractic adjustments is something you should try.
Tips to reduce symptoms associated with hay fever
There are many things you can do to reduce your symptoms, such as:
- Close doors and windows during high pollen season
- Wear a dust mask when cleaning a house
- Don’t hang your laundry outside
- Invest in a humidifier
- Stay indoors on dry, windy days
- Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning when the pollen counts are at their highest
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you’re outdoors
- Avoid smoke or other irritants
- Get Adjusted!
Although hay fever isn’t accurate name for allergic rhinitis because it’s not caused by hay fever isn’t one of the symptoms, it’s a widely used term. This allergic condition is quite common, and numerous treatments are available to treat this condition, but their mechanisms are directed to decreasing the intensity of symptoms. On the other hand, chiropractic tackles the underlying cause to allow the immune system to function properly. Besides consulting your doctor about medications you can use, don’t underestimate the importance of chiropractic adjustments.