The US Centers for Disease Control estimates that 4-6% of children under the age of 18 has an allergy to at least one food, a number that continues to climb. Chiropractic care may help reduce the severity of allergies for at least some sufferers.
Before looking at how chiropractic may help reduce allergy symptoms, it’s important to understand exactly what an allergy is, and how it is different from a food sensitivity or intolerance.
A food intolerance is an inability to digest a specific food. Symptoms are generally digestive in nature, such as nausea and vomiting, bloating, and diarrhoea. They are uncomfortable, but not fatal.
A true food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a specific food. Food allergies can range from mild itching and rash to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Symptoms can include many of the same digestive difficulties associated with a food intolerance, making it difficult to properly diagnose. The symptoms may occur immediately, or can take as long as an hour.
The immune system is responsible for ridding the body of harmful substances, but sometimes the immune system runs out of control and attacks substances, such as foods, that are otherwise harmless. Food allergy reactions are caused when a certain type of immune type of antibody binds to a specific type of cell when a trigger food is consumed, though it is not clear exactly why this reaction occurs in response to certain foods. Essentially, it’s not the food that causes the reaction, it’s your immune system response to the food. No one is certain exactly why this occurs, but there are a few theories.
In chiropractic, the body is treated as a whole rather than a set of separate parts. This way of looking at the body is based on the idea that each part directly influences every other part. Because of this, it is possible that misalignments of the spine may interfere with proper immune response. Bringing the spine back into proper alignment may help calm the immune system and reduce the reaction to triggering foods.
The connection between mind and body also suggests that those who are psychologically hypersensitive will also be physically hypersensitive. Part of chiropractic care is stress reduction, which may reduce symptoms of food allergies in some patients.
A third theory suggests that allergies are your immune system’s interpretation of your environment. What does this mean? Basically, your body is constantly taking in information. Much of this information comes through your senses, but some comes in other ways. If the nervous system isn’t functioning effectively, the information will be misinterpreted, causing your immune system to react abnormally. By improving nervous system function, information can be interpreted more accurately, so the immune system reacts appropriately.
There are currently no scientific studies proving that chiropractic care relieves food allergy symptoms, but many patients have seen significant relief from allergies after chiropractic care. This doesn’t mean that you will be able to eat formerly forbidden foods without a care, or that you will be able to leave the adrenaline at home, as chiropractic may not help every patient. But it could mean that accidental exposure or exposure to small amounts may not cause the same degree of reaction.
If you suffer from food allergies or think you may have an allergy, call Optimal Life today on (07) 4661 9988 Warwick or (07) 3854 0165 Tenerife to schedule an appointment to find out whether chiropractic can help.