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The Chiropractic Care of Patients with Asthma: A Systematic Review of the Literature to Inform Clinical Practice

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The Chiropractic Care of Patients with Asthma: A Systematic Review of the Literature to Inform Clinical Practice

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SOURCE:   Clinical Chiropractic 2012 (Mar); 15 (1): 23–30

Joel Alcantara, Joey D. Alcantara, Junjoe Alcantara

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association,
Media, 327 N Middletown Rd,
Media, PA 19063, USA

Introduction   Estimates place some 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma with 180,000 deaths attributed to the disease. The financial burden from Asthma in Western countries ranges from $300 to $1,300 per patient per year. In the United States, asthma medication costs between $1 billion and $6.2 billion per annum. With an increasing prevalence of 50% every decade, there is no question that the burden of asthma is tremendous. The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use amongst adult asthmatics ranges from 4% to 79% whilst, in children, it ranges from 33% to 89%. Of the various practitioner-based CAM therapies, chiropractic stands as the most popular for both children and adults. As with other chiropractors, the authors aspire to the principles of evidence-based practice in the care of asthma sufferers. Recent systematic reviews of the literature places into question the effectiveness of chiropractic. To assuage the discord between our clinical experience and those of our patients with the dissonant literature, we performed a systematic review of the literature on the chiropractic care of patients with asthma.

Methods   Our systematic review utilized the following databases for the years indicated: MANTIS [1965–2010]; Pubmed [1966–2010]; ICL [1984–2010]; EMBASE [1974–2010], AMED [1967–2010], CINAHL [1964–2010], Index to Chiropractic Literature [1984–2010], Alt-Health Watch [1965–2010] and PsychINFO [1965–2010]. Inclusion criteria for manuscript review were manuscripts of primary investigation/report published in peer-reviewed journals in the English language involving the care of asthmatic patients.

Results   The studies found span of research designs from non-experimental to true experimental studies consisting of 3 randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs), 10 case reports, 3 case series, 7 cohort studies, 3 survey studies, 5 commentaries8 and 6 systematic reviews. The lower level design studies provide some measure of evidence on the effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients with asthma while a critical appraisal of 3 RCTs revealed questionable validity of the sham SMTs involved and hence the conclusions and interpretations derived from them. The RCTs on chiropractic and asthma are arguably comparison trials rather than controlled clinical trials per se.

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Conclusion   Chiropractic may offer an alternative care approach for asthmatic patients. Future investigations of this conservative care approach for patients with asthma should pave the way for higher-level design studies such as randomized controlled clinical trials.

From the FULL TEXT Article:


The burden of asthma is tremendous. Prevalence estimates of asthma range from 7% in France and Germany to 11% in the United States and as high as 15–18% in the United Kingdom. [1] In Britain, asthma is the commonest chronic childhood disease. [1] [2] In the United States, approximately 6.7 million children (or 9.1% of the pediatric population) have asthma. Some 10.6 million office visits to medical physicians are attributed to the symptoms of asthma. Deaths as a result of asthma have been estimated at approximately 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population. [3] Asthma medications alone have been placed at costing $1 billion per year in the United States. In 1985, the burden of asthma was placed at almost $4.5 billion and extrapolated to $6.2 billion in 1990 in the United States. Given the ever increasing prevalence of asthma since the 1990s, the cost to society undoubtedly enormous. [4]

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About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


  1. Russell R. Berg D. C. March 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Having been an asthmatic growing up, and receiving injections for four years as a youth, I ended up with a severe reaction that could have cost me my life! It wasn’t until later I learned about chiropractic and nutrition that I was able to rid myself of asthma. I have not had any problems with asthma since 1972 and continue to do well thanks to chiropractic and the nutition I now use.

  2. Adelaide March 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve been an asthmatic all my life. Was very serious as a child, but now as an adult it is easier to manage. I still take Symbicort twice a day. Just learnt about the benefits of Chiropractic and how it is being used to help rid people of Asthma. Going to be looking into it much more now that I’ve read your article. Hopefully Chiropractic can help.


  3. Marco La Starza March 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I have a patient with asthma. He no longer uses his inhaler. Chiropractic care is a way of life! I have been seeing him, his brother, and his mom the last 3 years.

    La Starza Wellness Chiropractic

  4. Boston Chiropractor October 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I am so happy to see these research studies published. It is so important for us to do a wider scale study and get this information out the public! We see these cases in our offices get well so often that you forget this is not mainstream knowledge…yet. Thank you for sharing this.

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