Osteopaths can’t cure asthma, I hear you say and you’d be correct! Asthma is a condition caused by an irritability of the lining of the lung. In certain circumstances the lung chambers become constricted, the thin mucus lubricant of the lung thickens and clogs the air passages and the walls of the lung chambers swell. The result is shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. This can be mild or rapid and life-threatening.
It is very important that asthmatics take their medication (usually inhalers) regularly and at the prescribed dose to prevent attacks and deal with them quickly, should they arise.

So where does osteopathy come in?

Chronic asthmatics often develop poor breathing mechanics: the ribs don’t work properly and the diaphragm tightens. The muscles at the front of the neck are incorrectly used to raise the upper ribs and the patient often develops a hunched appearance. This is caused by the body’s desperate attempts to suck air into the lungs against resistance.

Osteopathy can be helpful in improving these respiratory mechanics by stretching the shortened muscles, relaxing the shoulders and neck and loosening the diaphragm. This will help the ribcage work effectively and keep the posture upright and open. Patients often report a feeling of ease and a sensation of breathing more easily and effectively.
So if you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions don’t discount osteopathy as a way of treating your symptoms and staying well.

© Justine Knowles 2010