By William J. Dennis, D.C.
Summer is here, and life is moving on in the heat. Flowers are popping up everywhere, grasses are growing and being mowed, and some molds and fungus pop up in corners, under the house or in the garden. As we look out over the landscape we see a beautiful vision, and it brings with it wonderment, an awe-inspiring sense that the world will go on. To try to beat the heat, we stay inside air conditioned rooms and cars or go off to the lakes and rivers for recreation. This exposes us to the pollen, dust, mold spores, animal dander from our pets and other animals, as well as irritants from the plants, insects, and muggy shore lines. All of these irritants give off small microscopic particles that float through the air and into the respiratory tract. These particles stimulate our immune systems to respond with such things as head congestion, runny nose, stuffy sinuses, brain fog, etc. The seasonal allergy has attacked us with sudden misery. What can we do?
There are several methods of addressing the seasonal allergy.
One is to attempt to stop it with a “chemical hammer” using medicines that force the body to stop the mucus production, and dry up the sinuses. These, however come with an additional cost over and above the money spent. The body may react in some uncomfortable ways as it tries to deal with the drug and its effects on the body. These side-affects may include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, restlessness or moodiness, difficulties with urination, blurred vision and confusion, an increase in blood pressure, headaches and heart palpitations. Since this is a forced reduction in the mucus production, there may also be problems with other areas of the body that need the mucus, such as the stomach and intestines.
Another method of dealing with the seasonal allergy is to avoid the pollen and other irritants. This is not very practical, and not very effective. It may include wearing a mask when going outdoors or using an air filter at home or in the car or a small portable one worn around the neck. But the underlying irritation is still there.
Next we find people using various nasal washing techniques. The Neti pot is a good example of this. Here, the cup size Neti pot is filled with a mild salt water solution and poured into one nostril and let drain out of the other. This will wash much of the pollen from the membranes of the nasal passageways and reduce the exposure to the pollen.
Other treatment options include homeopathic preparations, herbs that will help in clearing the sinuses, opening the airways and calming the inflammation processes, acupuncture and massage therapy which may help in increasing the circulation to improve the healing response. Chiropractic may also help by reducing nerve interference and activating the ability of the body to heal itself.
There are nerves that come from the upper neck and the cranium (bones of the skull), and go to the tissues of the face, sinuses and airways. When the nerve signal is reduced by mild pressure from misalignments of the structures of the neck or head, the allergy stimulation cannot be addressed as efficiently as required. In some cases, the adjustment will improve this nerve flow allowing the nerves to trigger the appropriate response from the affected body tissues thus relieving the discomfort. I have seen some patients who stand up after the adjustment and say they can breathe again, or feel clear headed, or that their brain fog is gone.
So, during this allergy season, don’t suffer! There are many options to choose from so that you can enjoy life in the good ole outdoors of beautiful Idaho.