Spring is in the air! Flowers are budding, leaves are growing, and the days are getting longer. That’s terrific, right?
Unfortunately for many of us, when we hear “spring is in the air,” our minds focus on months of runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing. We’re more likely to grab a handful of tissues than stop and smell the flowers.
Why Do People Get Allergies?
An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to a substance that is considered to be harmless to most other people. Skin reactions, breathing difficulty and irritations to the sinuses are some of the most frequent allergy symptoms.No one knows for sure why people become allergic to relatively harmless substances.
One theory is that an allergic reaction is an interpretation of your environment. In order to interpret it, your body must first get information. The nervous system is part of this information-gathering function of the body.If your nervous system is dysfunctional, then the information interpreted will be altered, and this makes you vulnerable to abnormal reactions like allergies.Another theory about allergies suggests that your body is hypersensitive if you’re a hypersensitive person. For example, if you have a high sensitivity to stress, your body also reflects this sensitivity. Since the body and the mind are connected entities, this theory makes sense. Stress reduction techniques designed to improve mind-body interactions are often successful in reducing this problem. The end result is a lessening of allergic symptoms in some patients.
Allergies, Stress and the Immune System
Doctors still don’t fully understand exactly how the mechanism behind allergies works. But they have determined that stress plays a role.Excessive psychological stress and allergic disorder have been linked together in clinical practice for centuries. Many allergic conditions have long been considered psychosomatic disorders which had worsened outcomes in patients with high levels of psychosocial stress.The nervous system and immune system link together; the study of how they both intersect is known as psychoneuroimmunology, which explores the relationship between perceived stress and the body’s corresponding immune changes. Researchers have found that stress and allergies provoke similar inflammatory responses and that stress exacerbates the immune system’s hyperbolic response to allergens.Chronic stress also wears out the adrenal glands, which produce the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol. Without enough cortisol to subdue the allergic response, symptoms can become even more severe.
A chiropractor can:
Strengthen the immune system. Misalignments in the spine—particularly the neck—can disrupt the brain’s lines of communication with the rest of the body. Irritation in the upper cervical joint, for example, may compromise immunity and amplify allergic symptoms. By manipulating the joints and soft tissue, a chiropractor can restore the body’s alignment and re-open essential pathways between the brain and spine.
Regulate stress hormones. Many allergy sufferers also have weakened adrenal glands; which means their bodies have a harder time moderating allergic reactions. Since the adrenal glands are fed directly by spinal nerves, a properly aligned spine can help regulate the amount of cortisol the body produces. This can help mitigate the severity of allergy symptoms.
Support the respiratory system. Like the immune system, the respiratory system depends on an unimpeded flow of information to and from the brain. Chiropractic care keeps the pathways open, fortifying the respiratory system to better withstand allergic attacks.
Recommend dietary and lifestyle changes. Certain foods and other factors in the environment can either ease or exacerbate allergy symptoms. A doctor of chiropractic can recommend changes that boost the patient’s health and comfort.
In conclusion, by improving communication between the immune, nervous and respiratory systems, chiropractic care can help patients deal with allergies without relying on medications.