Working on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, Dr Elise came into my room and asked if a lot of my clientsover the last week or so had been coughing? and YES!!! They certainly had been. More than half of the clients I had seen lately have had a persistent cough throughout winter. Because the Winter is nearly over, and hay fever season isn’t far off, I thought I would write about sneezing as well.
It got us thinking about what happens when we cough and what we can do as osteopaths to help.
There are 3 phases:
Manual treatment of ribs and diaphragm can potentially settle down the irritation from your cough via your nervous system.
Sneezing occurs when something irritates the inside of our nose, the nerves are again stimulated around the respiratory system.
We can’t do anything about the infection such as the common cold, the flu and laryngitis, we also can’t stop hay fever occurring. But what we may be able to do is treat some of the resulting effects caused after persistent coughing or sneezing. Some of the lingering irritation that makes you sneeze & cough after an infection, funnily enough could be a result of all the sneezing & coughing you did during the illness.
There has been some evidence that osteopathy may be able to help with the treatment of Pneumonia, children with asthma, and chronic coughing from a patient with stomach reflux.
When we cough, we use our abdominal muscles, intercostals (muscles between the ribs) and the diaphragm. Then we have our accessory breathing muscles that try to help as well, these include the scalene and upper trapezius muscles that help move or brace the head and neck. Chronic coughing can cause that achy soreness and if violent enough could strain these muscles. If these muscles are tight, we can assume the joints they work on are also restricted, causing that lingering stiffness after having a cough for a few weeks.
PA Guiney et al. Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on pediatric patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2005 Jan;105(1):7-12.
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