Asthma is a condition that affects the airways of the lungs. It results in obstruction to exhaled air; medically it is known as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Asthma is caused by on-going inflammation within these passages. When the inflammatory reaction is triggered (by various external and internal factors), the airways swell and fill with mucus.
In addition, muscles surrounding the airways tighten, causing further narrowing of the passages. This narrowing effect results in difficulty breathing air, out of the lungs. The combination of airway swelling, mucus pooling and air passage narrowing, is what causes the symptoms associated with asthma.
Osteopathy & Asthma
As asthma results in an altered breathing response, muscles such as those around the neck, chest and back, begin to get overused. These muscles are not usually used for everyday breathing. Chronic overuse of these muscles can result in:
- Muscular pain
- A loss of chest wall flexibility and elasticity
- Postural disturbance, often resulting in a kyphotic middle back
As muscles become more fatigued and the mobility or the chest wall reduces, normal breathing becomes very inefficient and laboured.
Osteopathic management of asthma
Osteopathy can help in maintaining good breathing mechanics by:
- Improving chest wall flexibility and elasticity
- Relaxing tight and overused respiratory muscles
- Prescribing breathing exercises
- Lifestyle advice
With osteopathic treatment the efficiency of breathing will improve. The rigidity of the chest wall and postural changes will be reduced. This allows you to take beeper breaths with less effort, which has both physiological and psychological benefits.
Not only can osteopathy improve your breathing, but also help prevent other areas of your body from being affected. The body is a single unit; when one area is not functioning correctly, it will have knock on effects to other parts. Poor breathing mechanics can result in:
- Neck & Back Pain
- Digestive Issues
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
These effects can be due to direct mechanical over or under use. For more information on how osteopathy can help you, please contact the osteopath by using the details above.