An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. With 180,000 deaths attributed to the disease, asthma treatment has a significant financial burden. In the United States alone, asthma medication is estimated to cost between $1 billion and $6 billion per year. While often treated with medication, there are other natural treatments available, such as chiropractic care.
In recent years, manipulative therapy has been used in addition to medication for managing respiratory diseases in adults and children. While many chiropractors report success with such treatments, few studies have examined the overall effectiveness of using manual therapies for respiratory disease treatment.
A recent literature review sought to examine the efficacy of chiropractic care for patients with asthma. The study involved randomized controlled trials, case reports, case series, cohort studies, survey studies, commentaries, and systematic reviews. The researchers concluded that chiropractic care may offer an alternative care approach for patients with asthma. However, the authors concluded further randomized controlled clinical trials should be conducted for future investigation of this approach.
Another new literature review focused on the use of manual therapy to treat childhood respiratory disease. That study involved eight clinical trials on the effects of manual therapy on children and teens with respiratory diseases. Five of the studies involved children with asthma, while the others focused on the treatment of children with other respiratory conditions, including recurrent respiratory infections, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiolitis.
Six of the eight studies identified positive results of manual therapy, including reduced anxiety, better lung function, and improved levels of salivary cortisol. The use of manual techniques such as chiropractic, osteopathic medicine, and massage appear to be beneficial for children with respiratory disease.While more research is needed to confirm the results of these initial studies, the findings offer promise for families searching for natural relief of asthma.
A recent case study highlights the impact that chiropractic can have for children with asthma. The case study involved a ten-year old boy who found relief from headache and respiratory symptoms under the care of chiropractor.
Alcantara J, et al. The chiropractic care of patients with asthma: a systematic review of the literature to inform clinical practice. Clinical Chiropractic 2012; 15: 23-30.
Pepinoa VC, et al. Manual therapy for childhood respiratory disease: A systematic review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; 36(1): 57-65.