Asthma is a chronic (long-standing) lung disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of wheezing and difficulty breathing. During an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways tighten, and the lining of the air passages swells, restricting airflow in and out of the lungs. An asthma attack usually begins with sudden fits of wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. But the attack may begin with slowly increasing signs of breathing difficulties as well. A feeling of chest tightness is also common. Asthma attacks can be triggered by a wide range of factors, including environmental pollutants, allergens (dust, animal dander, mold, pollen), respiratory infections, certain foods, or stress; also, certain vaccines can increase the risk of allergies (see also “Allergies”), including allergic asthma.


Because the immune and respiratory systems are closely connected, it is common for asthma and allergies to occur together. Normal function of the immune and respiratory systems are controlled and coordinated through proper communication between the brain and spinal cord. More specifically, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a specific division within the body’s nervous system that is responsible for organizing the function of the organs, glands, and blood vessels. If the ANS becomes irritated because of a misalignment of the cervical spine, the immune response can be exaggerated, and respiration may be affected. This exaggerated immune response commonly occurs in asthma sufferers.

Specific imaging studies of the cervical (upper neck) region are taken to locate a misalignment of the vertebrae. Tytron-5000 technology is used to scan and measure the nervous system for possible irritation. If a misalignment is found to affect the ANS, then very specific gentle adjustments are made, by hand, to correct the misaligned vertebrae in the neck.


American College of Allergy , Asthma, and Immunology Web site. Available at: Accessed on March 6 , 2005.

Plaut, TF. Children With Asthma: A Manual for Parents. 2nd ed. Amherst , Mass: Pedipress, 1998.


  • American Lung Association
  • Nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education; offers useful information on asthma, allergy, and lung diseases.
  • American College of Allergy , Asthma & Immunology
  • Nonprofit organization news and information service; useful patient education materials.
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
  • Nonprofit organization offering wealth of information on educational programs, research, advocacy, and support groups.


“I suffered with Asthma for years with no relief. Thanks to Upper Cervical Care that I am breathing better than I ever have” Ann D.

The Brainstem & Breathing

The nervous system is a very complex communication network designed to control and coordinate the body’s vital functions. One of those functions is to control the respiratory system and lungs. Consider that you can climb a flight of stairs, run, swim, or ride a bike without even thinking about your breathing. That’s because the respiratory center, housed in the brainstem, is responsible for adjusting the rate of breathing to the demands of the body so that proper oxygen and carbon dioxide levels remain unchanged even during strenuous exercise.

Asthma involves both the lungs and the immune system and has become the most common and costly illness in the United States. An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from asthma at an annual cost of over $13 billion. Asthma accounts for more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease, and children suffering from asthma miss more than 10 million days of school every year. Nearly 5000 people die from causes related to asthma each year, and it is one of the many diseases with an increasing death rate.

Even though asthma is a common condition, if is far from simple. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrow and obstructed due to a combination of muscle spasm, inflammation, and excess mucus production. The symptoms, which vary among sufferers, include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and chronic coughing.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by any condition that causes inflammation in the airways. These triggers include irritants like the following: dust mites, animal dander, pollen, mold, pollution, smoke, exercise, cold air, or intense emotions.

Asthma & Allergies

Many asthma sufferers also have allergies, which, although related, differ from asthma. However, allergens like pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites can make asthma symptoms worse by increasing inflammation in the airways.

Possible Causes of Asthma

While the cause of asthma is still unknown, many researchers believe asthma is caused by a disturbance of the respiratory center within the brain stem. In fact, one study suggests this is the “common denominator” and basic underlying mechanism in all varieties of asthma. This disturbance is believed to cause the muscles of the airway to contract thus restricting the flow of air in the lungs.

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