Hey, everybody! It’s Dr. Bob here with Lowcountry Chiropractic. Hope you’re doing well and staying healthy out there! Midsummer is characterized by luscious blooming flowers, buzzing bees, days spent by the pool, and washing pollen off of our cars. With all this time spent outside, our bodies are coming into contact with so many potential allergens. Which is why today, I want to talk about a common occurrence many people in the US and across the world suffer from - sinus issues and allergies! In this post, we’ll discuss how to practically and naturally treat both ailments. Of course, as with any disease or illness, you can always choose medication to combat your symptoms. In chiropractics, we prefer to target the root of the illness. Medications can come with side effects, some more detrimental than others. Why suffer with drowsiness or potentially affect your organs when you don’t have to, right?
Most allergies occur when stimulants in the air come into contact with our sinuses. We are all exposed to pollutants and irritants on a daily basis; however, some people are affected to a higher degree than others. This difference comes down to how well our immune systems are working. Ideally, when our bodies are functioning optimally, white blood cells respond to the presence of an allergen and remove the unwelcome guest from the body. This quick response stops the body's inflammatory response from taking over and causing us discomfort. However, in some cases, our immune systems can actually overreact. This overreaction leads to the development of certain substances which trigger the inflammatory response. This response is accompanied by sneezing, coughing, blocked sinuses, and watery, itchy eyes.
Therefore, how do we regulate our body’s response to allergens? After all, aren’t our bodies just doing what they’re supposed to do, if a bit too well? Over-the-counter medication such as an antihistamine will limit the body’s ability to produce histamine, a chemical substance which triggers the inflammatory response. Decongestants, on the other hand, will attempt to repress the inflammatory response in certain areas, such as the nose and the sinuses. While corticosteroids are a type of hormone which works to repress the body’s inflammatory response long term. After prolonged use, antihistamines can cause excessive dryness. Decongestants can raise blood pressure, cause insomnia, and restrict urinary flow. Corticosteroids are a much more risky endeavor, particularly because they are meant to be taken long-term, even once symptoms have disappeared. Side effects of corticosteroids include weight gain, fluid retention, and increased blood pressure. On the more serious side, they can cause diabetes, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, and fungal infections of the mouth. It sounds like the side effects might be worse than the original symptoms, right?
Now, the question is: How can I treat my allergies and sinus problems without using the most common over-the-counter medications? This is where chiropractics come in.
The nervous system (i.e., brain, spinal cord, nerves) is where we tend to begin since the nervous system controls the ten other systems in your body—the integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, and reproductive system (female and male). Likewise, the nervous system also controls the immune system.
If the immune system is working properly, then there should be no allergic reactions. If the nervous system is triggering the immune system, then we must help regulate the nerves in order to allow the immune system to operate effectively.
In some instances, if you’ve experienced a trauma or even slept wrong for an extended period, the vertebrae protecting your spinal cord move out of alignment. Once out of place, these vertebrae can irritate the nerves radiating out from the spinal cord. Each nerve has a specific function. Their job is to deliver information from the brain to various body parts. The nerves which control the immune system are generally located in the neck area, behind the ears. In chiropractic care, we look for subluxation in these neck joints and vertebrae. A pinched nerve in this area could impact the immune system in a negative way.
Once found, the subluxation can be manually corrected. No need for injections or medications! The body should then be given a chance to self-regulate and heal.
Another treatment option is to manually adjust the sinus passages above and below the eyes. The sinuses consist of eight hollow spaces in the bones, which make up the cheeks, forehead, and temples. Optimally, the sinuses are covered by a thin film of mucus to capture dust and pollutants which might be in the air before they reach your lungs. Certain over-the-counter medications will attempt to dry out these passages, but if you’ve ever suffered from dry sinuses, you know that’s not ideal. When your sinuses are blocked or inflamed, a chiropractic adjustment might be in order. Using a small instrument referred to as an activator, a chiropractor can apply pressure below and above the eyes to open up the sinus passages. This allows trapped mucus in the sinus area to drain and clear out.
If you’re tired of taking over-the-counter allergy medications every day and suffering from continued allergy symptoms, try seeing a professional chiropractor. You can also look into natural supplements such as vitamin D3. You can pick this up from your local pharmacy, vitamin shop, or grocery store. This vitamin can stimulate the immune system. Most people lack a sufficient amount of vitamin D3 due to a lack of time spent in the sun. For every thirty to forty pounds of weight, it’s recommended you take 1000 IU of vitamin D3. The supplement is relatively inexpensive and will help with more than just stimulating your immune system. Vitamin D3 will also help your body fight off colds, flu, and other ailments. Vitamin D3 also promotes calcium absorption in the intestine. It allows for normal bone mineralization, as well as prevents hypocalcemic tetany (which is the involuntary contraction of muscles, including cramps and spasms). When you lack the required amount of vitamin D3, your bones can weaken and become brittle.
The other suggested supplement is olive leaf extract. Similar to vitamin D3, it’s great for stimulating the immune system and maintaining good health. Olive leaf extract is full of antioxidants—mainly polyphenols. Polyphenols are organic compounds mainly found in plants and research shows they might have a hand in preventing cognitive conditions, cancer, and osteoporosis. The superstar ingredient in olive leaf extract is oleuropein. Oleuropein is an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial agent, in addition to its antioxidant properties which fight against cell damage. Research into oleuropein proves the agent can prevent bad cholesterol build-up in arteries, lower the risk of diabetes, and lead to a stronger immune system.
There are always natural remedies to combat our health issues and there’s no reason to continue suffering. If you’re interested in having a chiropractic adjustment done, give us a call! Send in a contact form on our website. We’ll set up an appointment, analyze your spine, and try to help you feel better! We look forward to seeing you in the office! This has been Dr. Bob and I’ve got your back covered!
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