By Dr. Thomas Cristello, D.C.
with Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac.
Aaaaachooooo! Sound familiar? Many of us will endure frequent sneezing fits this spring as allergy season moves into full swing. Allergy symptoms range from sneezing to watery, itchy, red eyes, scratchy throat, nasal congestion and clogged ears. In fact, many times it is difficult to distinguish between a severe allergy attack and the common cold. If left unattended severe allergy symptoms could develop into painful sinusitis.
Your main defense should be to naturally aid your body to fend off allergy symptoms. Accomplish this by keeping the immune system functioning at its peak through a variety of home remedies such as Omega-3 supplements, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and Chinese herbs. These techniques can eliminate or significantly reduce your allergic response.
Dietary changes can do wonders to decrease the immune response that your body goes through when allergies strike. Dairy products like milk and cheese produce sinus congesting mucus and actually make your body more sensitive to the allergens. Not only can you have an allergic reaction to the dairy product, but the protein in the dairy also causes the immune system to work overtime. Your overworked immune system turns what could have been just a mild annoyance into a full-blown allergy attack.
Inflammation is the basic component in an allergic response. Foods and supplements containing Omega-3 fatty acids have a multitude of useful functions, one of which is decreased inflammation in your body. By increasing your intake of Omega-3 foods such as fish oil, you will greatly decrease your reaction to the allergies. Some great fish choices for Omega-3 fatty acids are sardines and salmon (preferably wild). One study showed that children who regularly consumed oily fish were 74% less likely to develop asthma. You can also get Omega-3’s in capsule or liquid form. Make sure you get a pure source; you don’t want to consume mercury or PCBs along with it. For vegetarians, flax seed oil or algae are alternative sources. Another way to reduce the inflammation is to eat plenty of antioxidant rich fruits such as berries and cherries. However, the superior source is fish. Fish contain the very important forms of Omega-3 called EPA and DHA. Flax seed oil contains a form called ALA, which can be converted in the body to EPA and DHA, but the conversion is slow and not as efficient. Algae on the other hand produce DHA but not EPA.
An effective way to clear out sinus irritants is nasal irrigation. A very popular method is the Neti Pot, a small pot that looks like Aladdin’s lamp. It is filled with saline solution, which you pour into your nose. It flows into one nostril and out of the other. It sounds a little messy, and it is, but provides great results. The pots generally come in plastic, stainless steel and porcelain. For hygienic reasons, I would recommend the stainless steel or porcelain.
And of course, if you smoke, STOP! Smoking worsens allergies and lowers your immune system. Not to mention that smoking causes lung and mouth cancer and heart disease. Ready to quit smoking? Acupuncture Works!
Allergies’ close brother, Asthma, can also be helped by all of the above.
The principal controller of the immune system is the nervous system. The nervous system is more complex than the most powerful computer known to man. In a nutshell, the nervous system controls all aspects of health as well as every other function of the body. If there is interference to the nerve flow, the function of the body part controlled by the nerve will be impaired. The major cause of interference to the nerve is what is known as the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). This is a combination of events including the misalignment of one or more vertebra, chemical irritants, muscle spasm and even stress.
The main components of the VSC are:
If the VSC is present in your body, it can interfere with the nerves that power the immune system. This may cause a variety of symptoms ranging from mild allergies, to full blown asthma. Detection and treatment of VSC’s are paramount to a properly functioning body and a nervous system free from irritation. As a Chiropractic Physician my experience confirms that one of the best ways to treat VSC and keep the nervous system free from irritation is to have your spine examined and if needed, adjusted by a chiropractor. The chiropractic adjustment realigns the vertebra to remove pressure off the nerve restoring its function. The adjustments also make you less sensitive to the effects of histamine, the chemical involved in many allergic reactions. Chiropractic care can positively affect the immune system by increasing white cell blood count and decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol which inhibits the immune system.
- Positional Dyskinesia (malposition/misalignment of a vertebra)
- Fixation Dysfunction (restriction in any of the 6 motions that vertebrae move)
- Neurophysiologic Dysfunction (neurologic interference brought on by the subluxation).
- Myologic Changes (weakness, adhesions, degeneration of muscle).
- Inflammation (Interarticular inflammation).
- Vascular Changes (alterations of arterial and venous drainage of spinal column)
Control Allergens at Home:
- Control Dust Mites
Wash bedding often and dust surfaces.
- Vacuum often
Vacuum once or twice a week to reduce surface dust mites. Wear a mask and make sure your vacuum has an air filter to capture dust.
- Reduce pet dander
Avoid pets with feathers or fur. Keep pets out of the bedroom.
- Shut out pollen
Keep windows and doors closed. Use an air filter and clean it regularly.
Best in Health,
Dr. Thomas Cristello, DC
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Dr. Cristello maintains a Chiropractic practice in the Flat Iron District of NYC. Visit his website for more information and to sign up for his free health newsletter www.drcristello.com or call (212) 375.9802
Amalu, WC. . Chiropractic Management of 47 Asthma Cases. Today’s Chiropractic, 29(6) November/December.
Bronfort, G, Evans RI, Kubic P, Filin P . Chronic Pediatric Asthma and Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation, a Prospective Clinical Series and Randomized Clinical Pilot Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 24(6), 369-77.
Graham, RL and Pistolese RA. . An Impairment Rating Analysis of Asthmatic Children Under Chiropractic Care. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 1(4), 1-8.
Hodge L, Salome CM, Peat JK, et al. . Consumption of Oily Fish and Childhood Asthma Risk. Medical Journal of Australia, 164, 137-140.
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