Have you ever experienced shortness of breath for no apparent reason? Or maybe you have a lung condition, like asthma or COPD that’s successfully managed by drugs, but find yourself struggling to breathe on occasion? Stress, allergies or an illness like bronchitis can also leave you gasping. Maybe you feel as though there are no other options to help with your breathing struggles and you’re the only one suffering.
The fact is breathing problems are more common than you realize, especially if they’re caused by a chronic condition. In 2014, over two million Canadians had asthma. In 2013, the percentage of the population with COPD ranged from 2.1 to 4.5 depending on the province. And then there are the temporary conditions like illnesses, allergies and stress that can affect lung capacity. Obviously, you are not alone!
So beyond the chronic diseases, what causes reduced lung capacity or problems breathing? Remember our friends the nerves? They’re involved. Again. Here’s how it works. Nerves are connected all along the spine and send messages to various parts of the body. The nerves connected to the lungs are located in the upper back and tell the lungs to expand and contract–a.k.a. breathing. If the spine is misaligned, these nerves send bad signals, or the signals go awry or fail. This means the lungs have to work harder, causing you to struggle for breath. Overall, the nerves that are working properly and the rest of your body have to work harder for the same result. Exhausted just thinking about it, yes?
The focus of chiropractic care is treating the spine and the nervous system to address a variety of chronic conditions or temporary health issues. It bears repeating: If the spine is aligned, the nervous system works as it should, sending proper and complete signals to the body. When it comes to breathing, adjusting the spine frees the nerves to do the right thing and the lungs can function as intended. Remember, nerves go to muscles as well, so if you have irritated nerves chances are that the muscles are tight, preventing your chest from expanding the way it should to take a deep breath.
If you continue to experience reduced lung capacity and challenges breathing, regardless of the cause, don’t give up. You’re not alone and there is help. Talk to your chiropractor about your breathing challenges. Chances are he or she can help relieve your symptoms for good.
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