Hay fever and seasonal allergies rear their ugly head this time of year. When you’d like to be enjoying the crisp fall weather, you’re instead hit with any number of annoying allergic reactions — skin irritations, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus issues, and breathing difficulties. And aside from medicating with antihistamines, you might be wondering if there’s anything else you can be done to more effectively and permanently treat your allergies.
Why do we get allergies?
Millions of us suffer from seasonal allergies — as may as 40 percent of the world’s population — where our bodies react extra sensitively to environmental substances such as pollen. But if everyone is exposed to the same substances, why is it that some of us suffer from allergies to while so many don’t?
Seasonal allergies are your body’s inability to adapt to environmental changes. The difference between an allergy sufferer and non-sufferer is in how your body reacts to an allergen — the most common of which are pollen, grass, dust mites, mold, and weeds.
When you’re allergic to one of these substances, what’s happening is that when you encounter it, your immune system mistakenly marks it as harmful and stirs itself into an exaggerated attack against the irritating substance.
This causes your body to over-release histamines, a neutralizing chemical which drops your blood pressure, dilates surrounding blood vessels, and fills the space between surrounding cells with fluid — causing annoying external symptoms like itching and sneezing. Antihistamines work to reduce your histamines, thus reducing symptoms, but come with a variety of expenses and side effects, such as drowsiness. These medications will also lose their effectiveness over time.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a proven explanation for why some people develop allergies to these otherwise harmless substances. Research does show that our changing environment and factors like air pollution and increasing temperatures will continue to increase the rate and severity of allergies. Research has also found a link between stress and allergies — each cause inflammatory reactions in our bodies, and stress can worse our immune system’s response to allergens.
Can Chiropractic Help My Allergies?
Whether you’re a long-time sufferer or have only recently developed allergies, you’re likely looking for relief. The good news is that because spinal adjustments address interruptions in your body’s flow of communication with the brain, chiropractic care can help improve your body’s allergic responses.
In fact, chiropractic care and adjustments can:
Strengthen your immune system.
Correcting spinal misalignments and irritation improve your brain’s communication with the rest of your body, restoring nervous system functionality and improving your immune system at the same time. This can help reduce your body’s reactions to foreign and environmental substances.
Strengthen your respiratory system
Your respiratory system is another system that depends on the flow of communication between the body and the brain. Improving your spinal alignment not only strengthens the nervous and immune systems, but the respiratory system as well, further strengthening your ability to respond to allergens and reducing respiratory symptoms.
When our bodies are stressed, we release cortisol as an anti-inflammatory response. But over time, high levels of stress can cause the adrenal glands that produce cortisol to wear down, making it even more difficult for our bodies to moderate reactions to allergens.
But because the adrenal glands are connected to our spinal nerves, correcting spinal misalignments through chiropractic care also helps our bodies regulate our cortisol production making it easier to manage allergic reactions.