Asthma is a common inflammatory disease of the small airways and affects one in ten Australian adults and one in nine children, which makes it the most common widespread chronic condition in this country. It is often associated with other allergic conditions such as hay fever and eczema.
Asthma causes the smooth muscle of the airways in the lungs to tighten and spasm and there is associated production of a sticky mucous. This process makes it difficult to breath and people may experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. In children symptoms may also include a reduction in eating and drinking, crying, complaining of a tummy ache, vomiting and may fatigue easily. Aggravating factors have been attributed to pollen, cigarette smoke, colds and flu, cold weather and exercise if asthma is poorly controlled. Some medicines may also trigger asthma.
Osteopathic treatment is not a replacement for asthma treatment. It is really important to continue your medication and refer to your Asthma Action Plan when necessary. Osteopathy is a complementary form of medicine.
Osteopathic treatment fundamentally focuses on the respiratory system to improve the biomechanical function of the thoracic cage. Direct techniques may include working on the breathing accessory musculature and ligaments to the ribs and thoracic spine, the neck and throat and the Diaphragm (main breathing accessory muscle separating the thoracic and abdominal cavities). Mobilisation of the skeleton is also incorporated to ensure the ribs, thoracic spine, sternum, collar bone, neck, lumbar spine are functioning effectively to improved circulation and mobility to the affected lung tissue. Direct techniques to the lungs and pleura (membranous lining of the lungs) may be incorporated if restrictions are chronic to the thorax.
Written by Dr Zeinah Keen
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