Chiropractic Care for Breathing Problems

Whether due to allergies or chronic issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), breathing issues can reduce patients’ quality of life. Many patients who come to see Dr. Nathen Horst for their breathing problems have probably already run the gamut of conventional treatments and medications. They may feel as though they have run out of options and are the only ones struggling to find a solution for their breathing issues. The truth is that breathing issues are more common than most patients may think.

How Common Are Breathing Disorders?

According to, which collects public health information on a variety of diseases, there were 11.1 hospitalizations for asthma per 10,000 children and adults ages 5 to 64 years in 2007. In 2005 to 2007, there were 57 ER visits for asthma per 10,000 children and adults ages 5 to 64 years. Furthermore, breathing problems are also costly in terms of quality of life. For example, in 2008, 12.7 percent of people with asthma were limited in their activities due to chronic lung and breathing problems.

What Causes Breathing Problems?

Nerves leading out from the thoracic (chest) spine send signals to the lungs. These signals provide the lungs with energy and strength to expand and contract, thus allowing the body to breathe properly. If the spine is misaligned, these nerves may be pinched, thereby reducing the signals that they can send to the lungs. The end result is that the lungs must work harder, which causes breathing problems. This tends to be a self-feeding cycle. Those thoracic nerves that are not pinched due to spinal misalignment must work even harder to keep the lungs working, which places even more stress on the body.

How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help with Breathing Problems?

The main concept behind chiropractic care is that a variety of chronic conditions, including breathing problems, can all be traced back to the spine and its surrounding nervous system. If the spine is properly aligned, the nervous system will be working at optimal levels to reduce pain and send proper signals to various parts of the body so that they will work at peak efficiency. In the case of breathing issues, a spinal adjustment will free pinched thoracic nerves, allowing the lungs to properly expand and contract.

What Does the Research Say?

An article published in the May 2012 issue of the journal Clinical Chiropractic examined a group of 34 smaller studies of chiropractic treatment for asthmatic breathing problems to determine if they showed agreement about the benefits of chiropractic. The 34 studies had various designs, ranging from case reports, to surveys, to trial studies. Overall, the results from these studies show that chiropractic care may provide some benefit for patients with asthma.

A survey report from the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics collected data from more than 5,000 patients on areas of improvement following chiropractic treatment. The most common area of improvement was in breathing, which was reported by 27 percent of patients.

Most people don’t worry about their ability to breathe until they have problems. Chiropractic adjustments can help patients breathe more easily and get the most out of life. To schedule a chiropractic appointment, contact Horst Chiropractic.

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