According to the COPD Foundation, more than 24 million people in the United States struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) daily.
What is scarier is that an estimated 50 percent of them don’t even realize they have it, potentially allowing it to worsen due to delayed treatment efforts. But what is COPD?
Although many think of COPD, as a condition within itself, it is actually a term that encompasses a variety of different lung-related diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Each one of these can cause coughing or wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
COPD is typically caused by one of three factors: smoking, being in a polluted environment for long periods of time, and genetics. Obviously, we don’t have any control over our genes, but we have the ability to not light up and often to choose where we live and work. Therefore, by helping your patients making positive choices in these regards, the amount of pollutants they take into their lungs lowers, thereby reducing their risk of developing this widespread condition.
When it comes to treatment remedies available, people with COPD have many options to consider, such as oxygen therapy, medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, and exercise. But one piece of research has discovered that chiropractic care may be beneficial as well.
Chiropractic for COPD
In December 2015, a systematic review of studies involving spinal manipulation therapy conducted on people with COPD was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. For purposes of this review, researchers looked at six different articles that consisted of randomized controlled trials; an observational study, a case series, and a case study. Each one was studied in-depth to determine what effect chiropractic had on the participants involved.
What they found was that, out of the six studies, the individuals involved in five of them showed positive changes in lung function as a result of chiropractic intervention. Additionally, the individuals’ exercise performance increased after spinal manipulation treatment as well. Although the researchers do admit that further testing should be done in this particular area, this is good news for people who are looking for an all-natural, non-invasive treatment option for this condition.
Reinforcing the value of COPD testing
Because so many people have COPD and don’t even know it, sharing this information with your patients could potentially benefit them greatly. For instance, the COPD Foundation suggests that it may be advantageous to request a simple breathing test (called a spirometry test) from their doctor. This is true especially if they currently or have smoked in the past, live or work in a pollution heavy environment, or have family members who suffer with COPD. If they are experiencing COPD symptoms, then testing is appropriate as well.
While there is currently no cure for COPD, by finding this condition early, it may enable your patients to slow the progression of their specific lung disease by engaging in effective treatment methods while they are still responsive to treatment. When they do, the end result is likely an easier time breathing—making it a great outcome all around.