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Osteopathy for Asthma

 

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic (long term) condition that affects the respiratory system (lungs, airways and diaphragm) as well as producing flow on effects in other parts of the body.

The airways become sensitised to triggers e.g. dust or pollen (particularly rye grass pollen in Melbourne) and exposure to a trigger causes the airway to constrict (narrow) making breathing difficult, especially breathing out (exhaling). This can be heard as a wheeze and experienced as chest and throat tightness. There are many substances that can trigger asthma and they are unique to the individual.

Asthma can occur at any age and symptoms can occur at any time of the day or when demand for air is increased, such as during exercise or when you are stressed. The causes of asthma are not well understood nor why different people react to different triggers1

What other symptoms may occur?

In addition to immediate symptoms such as difficulty breathing and chest tightness, you may also experience symptoms such as back pain, reflux, decreased exercise tolerance, muscular tightness in your rib cage or spine, headaches or minor bladder leakage.

How can Osteopathy help?

Osteopathy can be helpful to improve and maintain mobility of the spine in the neck, chest and lower back regions, maintain mobility and pliability of the rib cage, release muscle spasm in the spine, chest, diaphragm, or pelvic floor and to educate patients about optimising their breathing patterns to increase the compliance of the rib cage and the effectiveness of their breathing.

Osteopaths can also work with you to make sure you have a current and appropriate asthma management plan, make sure that your medications are up to date, that you are able to use a spacer to deliver your medication effectively and that your family and work colleagues are aware of your plan and have access to your medication to assist you if you become unwell.

Your osteopath may also refer you back to your GP for review or referral to a specialist if necessary. They can also help with recommending exercise to help you manage your asthma better and to improve your overall health and quality of life.

What can I do to help myself?

Asthma is a serious condition that requires awareness and proper management. In 2015, 421 people died from asthma2. Many people become complacent if they have had it for a long time. Asthma can have serious immediate consequences but can also significantly impact your health in the long term if not managed well. Melbourne’s Thunderstorm Asthma event in 2016 serves as a reminder to be asthma aware.

A current asthma plan, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and having regular treatment at your Osteopath are all great steps that you can take to take care of yourself 🙂

So make an appointment to get started today… #bestdecisionever

Check out the Asthma Australia website for lots of helpful advice and resources

References:

  1. https://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/act/home
  2. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/contents/deaths