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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO



The latest studies highlight how asthma-related problems are increasing and affect approximately 10 million people in Europe under 45 years of age (7-10% in children), and how patients' dependence on the drugs they take is increasing. to alleviate and/or control its symptoms.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory system and more specifically of the bronchi which causes bronchial hyperreactivity to certain stimulations. Pollen, dust mites, animal hair, stress, food allergens, pollution, tobacco, physical exertion, climate variations and respiratory infections can be the triggering factors. 80% of asthmatics suffer from allergic rhinitis.

Asthma manifestations are complex with many possible facets, including:

- Bronchospasm: contraction of the bronchioles which causes a reduction in the passage of air

- Bronchial hypersecretion: the inner lining of the bronchioles will secrete mucus

- Dry cough: To clear the bronchi, the patient coughs with a dry cough.

Breathing becomes labored, accompanied by shortness of breath and sometimes a feeling of tightness in the chest. To clear the bronchi, the patient begins to cough with a dry cough. During the crisis, breathing, but especially exhaling, is more difficult.

Osteopathic treatment does not cure asthma but can help improve the respiratory mechanism and consists of both structural and visceral techniques.

Expiratory difficulty is due to a bronchial spasm (intrathoracic) while inspiratory dyspnea is caused by a pharyngeal spasm (extrathoracic, hence the name "false asthma").

Bronchospasm is generated by somatic dysfunctions localized mainly in the first 3 thoracic segments (or stages) while pharyngospasm (false asthma) is due to high cervical somatic dysfunctions C0, C1, C2. These will be the main points to evaluate and deal with.

Another very important role is the influence of the liver/diaphragm couple on rib cage obstructions or the indirect role of the diaphragm in the genesis of the torsional process of the rib cage. Freeing the diaphragm is essential, after having evaluated and freed the liver which can limit its excursion resulting in a compensatory thoraco-lumbar torsion.

Furthermore, the arteries that vascularize the stellate ganglion pass through these structures, the information center that sends information on the cardiorespiratory system to a central level, and is responsible for regulating (through the orthosympathetic system) the size of the bronchi, bronchial secretion (responsible for bronchial congestion) and cough (responsible for the irritative cough reflex).

By releasing the first three ribs on which the scalenes are anchored, the relaxation of muscle tension releases arterial flow and relieves the compression exerted on the stellate ganglion.

Asthma sufferers characteristically have shallow and rapid breathing, using only the upper part of the chest rather than distributing the workload across the entire chest.

The anterior closure of the shoulders, typical in chronic asthma sufferers, begins with the use of the accessory respiratory muscles of the neck in an attempt to facilitate breathing during an attack, then becoming a habitual posture.

This acquired posture will further hinder the entire breathing process by creating abnormal muscle tension patterns.

The anatomical movement of the shoulders anteriorly will increase the tension of the muscles that connect the shoulder to the cervical vertebrae and mainly to the scalenes, which are precisely the accessory respiratory muscles that are stressed when the width of the diaphragm is mechanically limited.

By improving respiratory mechanics, in addition to postural correction, dysfunctions commonly associated with asthma, the body improves its ability to cope with respiratory resistance. This should improve breathing overall while also reducing the need for medications.

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