While the extra sunshine springs us into the new season, for many people this can be a rough time. Seasonally allergies are extremely common and rank as the 6th most common chronic condition in the United States. Nearly 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from allergies. Symptoms can include things like itchy eyes or throat, sneezing, coughing, congestion, or even trouble breathing. Here we explain how and why exactly allergies happen, and what you can do to have a sneeze free spring season.
Why Do We Get Allergies?
An allergy is simply our immune systems response to something in our external environment that affects us internally. The immune system is in charge of keeping our body safe from outside substances that may be harmful. It recognizes and destroys foreign material that gets into our system. An allergy is an abnormal response caused by the immune system to a normally harmless substance or allergen in the environment. When an allergen enters the body and meets with the body’s immune cells, a chemical called histamine is released. This chemical is what causes the allergic response made up of various symptoms.
How to Reduce Allergic Responses
Function is your “normal physiological state". We alter our body’s normal state by doing things to our bodies that interfere with its function. Allergy medicines can change symptoms or temporarily alleviate them, however, they often don’t address the root cause of the issue.
A poor diet, particularly one where foods have been chemically treated, genetically modified, and/or processed, can affect your body from functioning at its best — as may stress or a lack of consistent movement or exercise. Since histamine is released at high levels in people with allergies, it may be helpful to stick to a low histamine diet with foods such as fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Foods to avoid include nightshades like tomatoes and eggplant, sugar, dairy products and milk, and legumes/beans.
One often overlooked possibility is interference on the nerve system caused by the spine.
The brain controls everything in the body, including the immune system. If communication is blocked between the two by a misaligned spine, this can cause an abnormal reaction — like allergic responses.
Adjustments for Allergies and Sinus Congestion
In our office we use a number of techniques and tools that can help with allergy relief and symptoms. One of the most important adjustments for allergies is in the upper cervical spine. Checking to make sure that your atlas (C1) and axis (C2) are in proper alignment will help your brain send appropriate signaling to the rest of your body allowing your immune system to function at its optimal level. Another favorite adjustment among patients is cranial work on the sinuses. This is done by hand where we apply a light pressure to the different sinuses in your face, along with working on the cranial sutures in your head and also the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Sometimes we may also use the Activator Instrument that applies a fast impulse to the sinus and joint. This almost always provides immediate relief and allows the sinuses to drain. The vibration plates in our office (especially on the lower setting) are also a great way to stimulate lymphatic drainage in the body which will help clear out allergens. Contact our office to find out more about getting permanent relief for your allergies!