What you may not know about…

As the weather shifts and gets cold and damp those that suffer from respiratory conditions may experience more exacerbations. But did you know that chiropractic care alongside your current treatment plan has been shown to be beneficial for supporting the symptoms and decreasing exacerbations?

So, if you or someone you know may suffer from a respiratory condition such as asthma then read on as studies have shown many benefits from adding chiropractic care to their current regimens.

The chiropractic management for asthmatics has been dated back to as early as 1910. (1) Over the years many studies have taken place to discover why and how people experience a shift with their respiratory condition while under and post chiropractic care. Today I am going to list 3 things that were discovered from the research and how people responded to incorporating chiropractic care to support their respiratory health.


Let us start with exploring some questions and how chiropractic care and the studies can support the findings.

1. How do spinal misalignments affect your respiratory conditions?

Yes. Spinal misalignments, or known as subluxations, affect proper movement of the ribs and spine and can block communication of the nervous system, via the nerves to the lungs. Koberle (1975) discovered that blockages in the thoracic spine can spinal rigidity in asthmatics. He also states that “The mobilisation of the ribs and of blocked segments of the thoracic spine, and training of correct breathing, will thus be the logical treatment for patients with respiratory disorders, particularly those with obstructive respiratory disease.” (3)(4) So, if your spine is not able to move freely it will affect the movement of your ribs. If your ribs are not able to expand to their fullest capacity, then you are unable to inhale as deeply. 

2. What about chronic stress? Does that impact the potential for exacerbations?

Yes. When the body is in a state of chronic stress, whether that be from emotions, chemicals or environmental the body is working overtime to manage the impact this has on the body. The body’s response to stress has been shown to decrease with chiropractic care and for those that suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions, stress can be an exacerbating element.  Let us look at why that is…When an individual is stressed, they produce cortisol.  Think of cortisol as your body’s built-in alarm system. But when your alarm is always on then cortisol is high, and it affects the other body functions like your digestive and reproductive systems as well as the immune function. One Asthma trial that is being conducted in Australia has been testing cortisol levels after chiropractic adjustments. What they discovered was cortisol decreased after a chiropractic adjustment. (5)  This is an encouraging discovery not only for asthma sufferers, but everyone as most can attest to feeling stressed.

3. Can Chiropractic support your body’s immune function?

Absolutely. Another discovery on the asthma trail is the changes in immunoglobulin A (IgA) with chiropractic treatments. Immunoglobulin A is an antibody protein that is part of the immune system. Your body makes immunoglobulin A to help you to fight off sickness and is found in the mucous membranes mainly in the respiratory and digestive tracts. Those that suffer from asthma have lower concentrations of this protective IgA in their respiratory tract. (6) This lower concentration of IgA in the lungs also increases the susceptibility of respiratory spasms due to pathogen invasion. (7) So, it was a delight that the Asthma trial also discovered an increase of IgA in patients attending chiropractic centers. (5)

This increase in IgA confirms that when in proper alignment you are your nervous system is online then the immune system can do what it is designed to do, protect. 

 The results of a study that was conducted with 36 participants over a 12-week period showed:

 “After 3 months of combining chiropractic SMT (spinal manipulation therapy) with optimal medical management for pediatric asthma, the children rated their quality of life substantially higher and their asthma severity substantially lower. These improvements were maintained at the 1-year follow-up assessment.” (8)

So, not only has chiropractic adjustments been shown to impact the body’s response to stress, its immune function but it has also shown to allow the ribs and spine to move and expand more freely.  On top of chiropractic adjustments, you can also do some stretches to encourage more spinal flexibility, decrease rib rigidity and encourage greater chest expansion. Check out some stretches here (ADD LINK)

Written by: Missy Garcia BSN, RN, CFMP


  1. Palmer DD.
    The science, art and philosophy of chiropractic.
    Portland Printing House Co. Portland, Oregon. 1910:424,818
  2. Lewit K. Manipulative therapy in rehabilitation of the locomotor system. 3rd edn. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann; 1999:5
  3.  Köberle G. [Examples of joint disturbance with chronic-obstructive airway disease.] Arthrologische Störungsmuster bei chronisch-obstruktiven Atemwegserkrankungen. In: Functional pathology of the motor system, Rehabilitacácia Suppl 10-11, p 96. Eds Lewit K, Gutmann G. Bratislava: Obzor. 1975 (Cited in: Lewit K. Manipulative therapy in rehabilitation of the locomotor system. 3rd edn. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford. 1999:283.)
  4. Chiropractic Management of a Patient with Asthma By PLC DC http://www.cjaonline.com.au/index.php/cja/article/download/191/88
  5. Asthma Trail Update: Preliminary data encouraging https://chiro.org/Conditions/Asthma_Trial_Update.html
  6. Asthma-Associated Long TSLP Inhibits the Production of IgA Dorianne van Heerden 1,2, Robert S. van Binnendijk 2 , Samantha A. M. Tromp 2,3, Huub F. J. Savelkoul 1 , R. J. Joost van Neerven 1 and Gerco den Hartog 2 https://res.mdpi.com/d_attachment/ijms/ijms-22-03592/article_deploy/ijms-22-03592-v2.pdf
  7. Potential of Immunoglobulin A to Prevent Allergic Asthma (hindawi.com )