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Asthma has become a large health concern for children in recent years. Over the past 20 years the incidence of asthma has doubled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 1998, approximately 17,299,000 people in the United States, or 6.4% of the population, with cases among very young children up 160%. As reported in the June 16, 1999 issue of JAMA, the CDC also noted that between 1980 and 1994, the number of people self-reporting asthma grew 75%.
In a study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Council (MCC), a panel of doctors performed an out-come assessment study to test the qualitative and quantitative effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The high demand of parents seeking alternative care for pediatric asthma was shown by the overwhelming interest in the study. More than 500 parents called the MCC seeking to get their child involved in the chiropractic study.
The study, which took place during May and June of 1996, examined the chiropractic effectiveness in correcting the cause of asthma in patients from birth to age 17. The average age of the participant was 10 years. "After 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one attack, whereas prior to the study they were experiencing more than four attacks," said MCC Dr. Bob Graham, who directed the study. "Medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent. Finally, patient satisfaction was rated 8.5 on a scale of 10." More than 70 chiropractors from 62 cities in Michigan studied more than 80 children suffering from asthma.
Why include children in the title of this e-pamphlet on Asthma? Isn’t everyone affected from this disease? Yes, that is certainly true, but asthma commonly begins in childhood and this is the ideal time to look for and correct the cause.
Oh, but isn’t asthma hereditary? My medical doctor says it runs in my family…if so, how can hereditary problems be helped through chiropractic care? These questions and many more questions often come up when a chiropractor discusses asthma with a patient. The patient has been told it’s hereditary, or an allergy to dust, pollen, molds or a food allergy to milk, cheese, etc. Putting all this aside for a moment, let’s take a brief look at asthma.
A concise definition of asthma is given in Clinical Medicine, a 12-volume set of medical books that states:
Bronchial asthma is a disease characterized by episodic and reversible narrowing of the smaller bronchi and bronchioles through a combination of smooth muscle constriction, edema, mucus formation, and cellular secretions…”*
This definition describes the clinical problems that are associated with asthma.
"There is a muscular constriction of the smaller bronchial tubes with mucus secretion and tissue swelling that causes the difficult breathing of the victim of asthma. Actually, the lungs become filled with air, as it is relatively easy to breathe in, but it is difficult to exhale. The unfortunate victim gasps for a quick breath and then pushes very hard to expel the air with a long, wheezy exhalation. The agony of a child, who does not understand the problem, is really dreadful to observe. Panic, anxiety, and fear are mirrored in the face of a child caught in the grasp of an acute asthmatic episode. Due to the lungs being filled with air and the difficulty exhaling, the asthmatic child actually develops a chest as deep as it is wide. This is called the barrel chest of the young asthmatic."
Now notice in the above quoted definition that muscular constriction and increased mucus flow are involved in asthma. Both of these problems can be caused by a nervous reaction. Muscles constrict by the action of nerve impulses and increases in mucus flow can also come from nerve irritation. This is the reason that chiropractic care comes into the picture. Chiropractors look to the areas of the spine where nerve interference can lead to bronchial constriction and hypersensitivity to the mucus membranes, to irritants, and basically allergy is hypersensitivity! The body is hypersensitive to things that do not bother other people: food allergies, allergies to dust, ragweed, etc….all fall into this category. By adjusting the spine to eliminate nerve interference, chiropractic has shown positive results in the care of asthma.
Most people have heard the statement given by medical doctors: “perhaps the child will outgrow it.” Yes, perhaps they will, if the spine changes enough during growth or through the jolts and jars of childhood activity, then the nerve pressure may be released and the child seemingly “outgrows” the problem.
But why wait? Why not have the child’s spine adjusted? Although every child`s condition and response will be different, many asthmatic children have been known to spontaneously, within a matter of minutes, snap out of an asthmatic attack after a chiropractic adjustment. Asthmatic children generally need to be under regular chiropractic care to effect correction. Once the spine is stabilized, a wellness program of visits to the chiropractor is usually sufficient. Certainly, avoiding irritant inhalants and aggravating food substances is advisable. But more than that, chiropractic care reduces the hypersensitivity and muscular irritability that are the root of childhood asthma.
As to the hereditary causes of asthma, most certainly chiropractors recognize that asthma does run in families. One possible reason for this tendency is that the nerves that go to the bronchial tubes are on the periphery of the nerves that emit from the spine, and thus they are the first to be irritated by vertebral misalignments.
There are numerous possibilities to explain the exact mechanisms of why chiropractic spinal adjustments help asthma, and more research certainly needs to be done, but why wait? Why let doubt interfere with helping your child? Millions of people have experienced help through chiropractic care for many so-called organic, allergic and hereditary conditions. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Take your child to a chiropractor, try chiropractic care and see for yourself the results of our drugless, bloodless method of health care.
Certainly drug therapy affords relief to the sufferer of asthma. But the prolonged use of the drugs certainly has its hazards. It makes good sense to give natural methods a wholehearted try, and remember, you cannot say,” We’ve tried everything” unless you’ve included chiropractic care.
Enjoy the increased health benefits of chiropractic health and wellness care for your children, yourself and your entire family.
"Chiropractic Today for a Better World Tomorrow" - Now You Know, Inc.
In a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics were findings that supported three previous studies on the same subject. This study reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988 to 1994. Parents of 13,944 infants, children and adolescents from 2 months through 16 years old, were interviewed to check their history of asthma and allergies in relationship to the children receiving the DPT (diphteria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine.
The results showed a significant increase in the likelihood of children to get allergies and asthma after having received the DPT shot. The following numbers are the increase in chance that a child will have these problems if they are vaccinated with DPT. Asthma - 2.0 times more likely. Severe allergic reaction - 1.5 times more likely. Sinus problems - 1.81 times more likely. Wheezing - 1.23 times more likely. Nose and eye problems - 2.22 times more likely. Respiratory problems - 1.68 times more likely.
The authors of the study were quick to point out that their findings were not unique, and did in fact reproduce findings of other studies. "Six studies have recently addressed the association between pertussis or DTP immunizations and allergy-related disease. Our results are similar to findings reported from three retrospective cohort studies."
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