Chiropractic care increases the body’s ability to fight off allergens by taking pressure off the nervous system which allows the immune system to function at its best.
Let’s start off by describing how chiropractic care helps boost the immune system.
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, that is a really great question and when you really think about it, chiropractic focuses primarily on the nerve system. I know most people think that we’re back doctors and if they have back pain or neck pain, that’s a good place to go. And although it is great that we can help those people with those things, it’s really about making sure the nerve system functions properly. Basically, your brain will send messages down through the spinal cord and out through the delicate spinal nerves that exit between the two bones of the spine. So, every segment has a nerve that comes out of it. Unfortunately, stress, tension, poor posture, accidents, falls, can create misalignments which irritate those nerves and that can alter the function of your nerve system. And since the nerve system is that master controlling system over all the other systems in the body, your immune system won’t work properly unless your nerve system is working 100 percent correctly. So, any interference to the nerve system will interfere with your immune system function. And there is a lot of research out there that really supports that.
One of the examples that I use in my office a lot is really kind of letting people know, like, you take an example of a guy like Christopher Reeves who had a massive amount of interference to his nerve system. That guy needed to be on antibiotics for the rest of his life because his immune system wouldn’t work properly because of the damage to his nerve system. Now, most people who come to me have a lot less interference in the nerve system than Christopher Reeves did, but any interference to the nerve system will affect the way your immune system works. So that is primarily what we look to and that is really how chiropractic care would help affect the immune system.
They did a really cool research study, well really cool for us not really cool if you were a rat, but they took these rats and injected them with a pathogen, something that should cause an immune response, and when they actually used a laser scalpel and severed the neural connection from the nerve system to the immune system, what happened was there was almost no immune response measured. So, it really shows and demonstrates that link between a healthy nerve system in a healthy immune system. That link is very strong and very important.
Which chiropractic techniques work the best to help reduce allergy symptoms?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, I’ve got to be honest with you, I think all techniques work. Most chiropractors will choose a technique that works best for them and what they get the best results with. So, I am not too choosy about what technique somebody uses because they all are designed to do the same thing and that is remove nerve interference or pressure off the nerves to enhance nerve system function, which in turn will enhance immune system function and reduce allergy symptoms in a lot of people.
So for me, I don’t care what technique you use, but in my office we get the most success with using an upper cervical technique because that affects the nerves most closely associated with the upper cervical spine, which is near the brain stem and there is a lot more going on up top in the nerve system than there is down in the lower segments, especially when it comes to organic and immune system function.
Besides seasonal allergies, what other allergies can be relieved with chiropractic care?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, all allergies kind of have a similar origin. They’re usually what we call a hypersensitivity reaction to things that are normally in our environment. Take for example, let’s say me and you were walking down the street and it’s early spring and there’s tons of pollen in the air and my immune system starts going haywire. I start getting the rhinitis, the runny nose, the itchy eyes and the coughing and the sneezing. And I’m going crazy, but you’re not. Well, what’s the difference between me and you? How come I’m suffering from the allergies and you’re not, we’re both exposed to the same thing. Basically, what it is, is that my body is looking at those things in the air, the pollen as something foreign and trying to invade my body so it fires up my whole immune system and its hypersensitive so it starts acting on something that really isn’t toxic or isn’t really a threat to me.
So, it’s really the difference in the amount of excitability in that person’s nerve system and not necessarily what the specific allergen is. Whether you’re allergic to chocolate, insect bites or whatever, the mechanism of the allergy and the hypersensitivity is always going to be the same. Any allergy should respond in a similar way. Not saying that across the board, every person who walks into my office with allergies is going to get 100 percent relief. We help a lot of people, but occasionally we do get a couple of cases that we just can’t help for one reason or another. I don’t want people to think that it is a panacea and that just because you’re getting adjusted, means that you can go out and eat 10 pounds of chocolate or eat a food that you’re allergic to, but it should also help decrease that hypersensitivity, decrease the excitability of the nerve system, and when all that couples together, it usually results in less sensitivity to the allergens.
Can chiropractic treatments reduce or even eliminate someone’s dependency on over the counter allergy medicines to help treat their allergy symptoms?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. If you’re reducing the hypersensitivity reaction in the body, the chances are they’re not going to need to take medication so much because they shouldn’t have the symptoms as much. I have had plenty of people come to me that no longer take allergy medicine, most of the over counter stuff. But there are other cases that just don’t completely go away, but the symptoms are less intense and less severe. So, there’s a lot of varying degrees, but a lot of people eliminate the medications from their regular habits. Especially when their symptoms overall improve and if they’re getting the allergy symptoms less, they’re going to use less medications, which is always a win-win.
Lastly, what are some other things people can do naturally to help alleviate allergy symptoms?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Obviously the simple thing is just to avoid the things that actually trigger your allergies. But there are certain cases that we can’t really help that. Sometimes for people who have a lot of seasonal allergies with pollen and things like that, neti pots can work pretty well. There are a lot of different things that people use, but I find that, usually sometimes over time with exposure, people’s bodies will start to get used to those allergens and they can start to decrease. Obviously, there are some very serious types of allergic reactions that can put people into anaphylactic shock, so you need to be careful about what you do and how you try to eliminate your allergies.
But really other than that, I haven’t heard tons and tons of natural things. Most people go the antihistamine route or go to an allergist and try and identify what they are and just avoid the triggers themselves. There is no easy fix in that one. But the neti pots and avoiding things are the main things that most people would do.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call 917-534-6484 to schedule an appointment
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