Back and Chest Pain in Chronic Asthmatics

Chronic asthmatics often complain of chest and back pain, particularly after a period of difficulty with their asthma. Balanced Body Chiropractic is mindful of the musculoskeletal pain experienced by those with Chronic Asthma. Chiropractic care may assist in alleviating pain in the back, chest and associated muscles.

Asthma is a long-term, chronic condition of the airways that often begins in childhood, but can also present for the first time in older adults. It is characterised by sensitive airways that tighten in response to triggers. Tightening of the smooth muscles within the lung tissue and airways narrows airflow and the amount of oxygen available to the body. Triggers cause flare ups that cause airway narrowing, which can occur over weeks or months, can occur after respiratory illness such as pneumonia or bronchitis or can progress rapidly – within seconds. A rapidly progressing asthma flare-up is called an asthma attack. The symptoms of asthma include;

  • coughing continuously
  • tight feeling in the chestw
  • heezing
  • breathlessness

Asthma can be well managed with a daily management plan – your general practitioner may be able to advise you further.

Asthma Associated Symptoms

Chronic asthmatics adapt to their breathing condition by expanding their chest like a barrel and overusing different muscles attached to their chest and back to draw breath. This is called ‘accessory muscle breathing’, which is normal during a temporary increase in physical activity such as running, with the need to draw in large amounts of air. A chronic asthmatic may use accessory muscles attached to their neck, collar bone, ribs, and spine daily. This can result in;

  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • tight neck and back muscles
  • rib pain – especially with deep breathing
  • a tight diaphragm 

Chiropractic care may assist in relieving the muscular and spinal pain and discomfort associated with chronic asthma. It is important to note that a well developed asthma management plan is essential in reducing the need to use accessory muscles for breathing.

Chronic Asthmatics and Chiropractic Care

Chronic accessory muscle breathing can contribute to spinal and muscular pain and discomfort. Tight muscles around the spine and between the ribs can compress exiting spinal nerves and disturb their optimal function. Tight neck muscles can lead to a stiff neck, neck pain and even headaches.

Accessory muscle breathing can also contribute to muscle fatigue and poor performance during exercise. Chiropractic care aims to relieve the muscle tightness that may be compressing spinal nerves and contributing to stiff and sore joints in the ribs and spine.

Targeted adjustments and gentle massage can assist in easing the tight muscles, providing relief from back and neck pain and muscular tightness, which may ease the feeling of tightness whilst breathing. This allows for the natural flow of chest expansion and relaxation, and reduce the need for accessory muscles to assist with everyday breathing.

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