Allergies are a year-round problem for many people here in Austin, Texas. Some people claim that Austin is the allergy capital of the world. That might be an exaggeration, but we are definitely thought to be in the top five. This is largely due to our temperate climate which allows grasses and trees to bloom and pollinate year-round. For some, the worst allergy season is December through February due to the pollination of Mountain Cedar.
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to certain substances like dust, pollen, grass, dander, foods, etc. The body produces chemicals called histamines to neutralize these substances. These histamines unfortunately can cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching eyes, congestion, and other physical responses.
No one knows for sure what causes allergies. They are likely to be an accumulation of multiple causes.
Causes of allergies are:
Subluxations: Subluxations are misalignments of the vertebrae. This can cause nerve irritation and interferes with the way our immune system responds to stressors - causing it to go on the attack. Cervical subluxations specifically affect the nerves to the mucous membrane of the eye, ears, nose, and throat. Subluxations of the cervical spine are almost always found in allergy sufferers.
Toxic Overload: We live in a world of chemicals in the form of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, PVCs, chlorine, dioxin, and many more. These chemicals are toxic in our bodies and interfere with our immune system.
Poor Diet: Lack of essential nutrients, high sugar (carbohydrate), processed foods, canned foods, dairy, carbonated drinks, etc., cause toxicity and overload the digestive tract and liver leading to impaired immune function.
Too Much Cleanliness: We have eliminated so many normal toxins from our world that our immune systems do not develop normally. When we are too clean, we deprive our body of the opportunity to develop a healthy immunity to the dust, dirt, bacteria, viruses, dander, pollen, foods, and other normal substances a healthy immune system can adapt to.
Drugs: The healthy gut flora (good bacteria) gets killed off by antibiotics we take, antibiotics in the meat we eat, NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, Excedrin, Tylenol, Aleve), Antacids, and other over-the-counter medications. A healthy gut flora is essential to a healthy immune system.
The Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractic focuses on correcting subluxations and removing the stress on the nerve system. This directly affects the immune system, allowing it to work properly in the presence of toxins and potential allergens. Your body is meant to adapt efficiently to a variety of substances without going into attack mode.
Healthy Diet: A healthy diet allows your body and your immune system to function at peak efficiency. This lifestyle should include lots of fresh vegetables and fruit (organic if possible). It is also important to limit sugar, white bread, carbonated drinks, fast food, fried food, trans-fats, and dairy.
Exercise: Regular exercise (30 minutes, 6 times per week) has been shown to increase the functioning of the immune system and resistance to virtually all diseases.
Supplements: If flare-ups occur in spite of a healthy lifestyle, supplements are a safer and gentler alternative to work with the body instead of suppressing the symptoms. Dr. Gerard can make recommendations of specific supplements and homeopathic remedies to aid in recovery.
Avoid Drugs: The usual medical solution to allergies is to prescribe antihistamines or steroids. Antihistamines interfere with the body’s normal attempts to protect itself. When antihistamines block the normal mucus formation, the irritant or allergen is allowed to enter further into the body than it normally would have traveled. Steroids impair the immune system and make us more susceptible to infection.
If you or someone you know have allergies, the first step is to come in for an assessment to determine if stress of the nervous system might be contributing to your allergies. We see many of our patient’s allergy problems improve and even resolve after receiving chiropractic care. While chiropractic care is not a cure or treatment for allergies, people do say they often improve after receiving chiropractic care. Many allergy sufferers have previously experienced traumas, injuries, or impacts to their neck or head which have caused subluxations.