Allergies: Tis the Season for Alternatives.
Dr. Thomas Patavino D.C., MS, F.I.A.M.A
Allergies seem to be affecting more and more people these days. There was a time when there may have been that one person you knew who suffered once a year with hay fever, however times have changed and allergies seem to be on the rise. Not only are more and more people suffering from the symptoms, but the outbreaks seem to occur multiple times of year. Spring used to be the season of dread, but now people seem to suffer late summer into fall as well as mid winter. This in part can be attributed to the late changing seasons as well as uncharacteristic weather patterns throughout the year. Let us not forget the 70 degree temperatures last January and below 40 degree days in May. These trends allow airborne allergens to peak earlier as well as stay active longer. In addition, early thaws and late frosts give rise to other allergens we never used to see in years past. Another factor to consider is the impact that food additives, hormones and environmental factors have on our immune systems. People who never had problems with allergies now develop them later in life. The end result, more people are susceptible and those who already suffer find it difficult to manage their symptoms throughout the year.
Most people attempt to manage their allergies with a handful of over the counter and prescription medications ranging from Benadryl and Clarinex to Claritin and Zyrtec. Although effective, many people find that as the season wears on they are totally reliable on these medications or worse yet, they fail to alleviate their symptoms. This leaves people at their wit’s end and going through tissues as fast as their prescriptions. The main reasons medications lose their effectiveness with reducing allergy symptoms are desensitization and sinusitis. Desensitization occurs when someone is on medication for sometime and their body loses its ability to effectively react accordingly and symptoms seem immune to the medicine. In simpler terms, the medicine stops working.
The second scenario is Sinusitis. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses. The sinuses are located in the forehead and cheekbones deep within the skull. They are like little vacuum bags that are designed to trap airborne particles and prevent them from entering the body. Very often, the little bags will get blocked up and they begin to swell. These clogged sinuses become irritated and inflamed which cause them to ineffectively filter airborne pathogens. Severe cases lead to sinus infections, mild to moderate cases mimic allergy attacks. The symptoms of sinusitis include runny nose, mucus and postnasal drip, frequent headaches and soreness in the nose, cheeks or forehead. Allergy medications fail to provide relief when the symptoms are related to sinusitis because sinusitis is not an allergic reaction.
On the Brightside, there are alternatives when the medications fail to relieve the symptoms. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for both allergies and sinusitis. Acupuncture can be performed by traditional needles, electric impulses or laser to stimulate the body to fight symptoms by strengthening the immune system by correcting imbalances in the body. Balance is essential in nature. Think of a three legged table. Without the fourth leg, the table would fall. The immune system is the same way, lack of balance equals failure. Failure equals health conditions such as pain, allergies or infection. Acupuncture has been utilized for over 5000 years and it is gaining popularity in the United States. The nice thing about modern technology is that laser and electric acupuncture allow people to experience the effects without the use of needles. This is beneficial for children, the elderly and those afraid of needles. As for the traditionalist, strategically placed needles can effectively reduce allergies and sinusitis for extended periods of time after a just a few treatments.
Chiropractic care is another way to effectively approach allergies and sinusitis. A hands-on-technique called sinus stripping unclogs blocked sinuses reducing pain and restoring proper function. More importantly, the nerves that go to the ears, nose, throat, and eyes all come from the neck and cervical spine. Nerve irritation, interference and disruption can alter the function of all the structures involved. Tight muscles, soft tissue irritation and misalignment of vertebrae can weaken the immune system based on the disruption of the nervous system. Think of a flashlight with a weak battery. The light still turns on, but the light is dim and weak. This is what happens when nerves innervating the vital structures in the head aren’t allowed to pump out full power; you get a weak dim immune response. Correction of this irritation allows full function to be restored and symptoms tend to dissipate as a result.
Allergies are an inevitable event that affects so many people all year long. Coping with the symptoms can be quite challenging, especially when medication fails to provide relief. Many people do not realize that there are safe effective treatments that do not require medications. Acupuncture and chiropractic care are effective remedies for these conditions that not a lot of people are aware of. Our bodies do not lie. If traditional methods seem to stagnate, then perhaps it is time to explore other options. The only thing one has to lose is their box of Kleenex.
Dr. Thomas Patavino can be reached for questions or comments at Thoracic Park Alternative Health, 60 Waterbury Rd. Suite C, Prospect, CT 06712. 203-758-7250 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.