Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm.

Asthma has become a large health concern for children in recent years. Over the past 20 years the incidence of asthma has doubled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 1998, approximately 17,299,000 people in the United States, or 6.4% of the population, with cases among very young children up 160%. As reported in the June 16, 1999 issue of JAMA, the CDC also noted that between 1980 and 1994, the number of people self-reporting asthma grew 75%.

In a study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Council (MCC), a panel of doctors performed an out-come assessment study to test the qualitative and quantitative effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The high demand of parents seeking alternative care for pediatric asthma was shown by the overwhelming interest in the study.  More than 500 parents called the MCC seeking to get their child involved in the chiropractic study.

The study, which took place during May and June of 1996, examined the chiropractic effectiveness in correcting the cause of asthma in patients from birth to age 17. The average age of the participant was 10 years. "After 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one attack, whereas prior to the study they were experiencing more than four attacks," said MCC Dr. Bob Graham, who directed the study. "Medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent. Finally, patient satisfaction was rated 8.5 on a scale of 10." More than 70 chiropractors from 62 cities in Michigan studied more than 80 children suffering from asthma.

From the November / December 2000 issue of Todays Chiropractic, comes a study report on Asthma. The article notes that approximately 14 Americans die each day from asthma. Asthma is only one of three diseases that has shown an increasing death rate in recent years, up 58% since 1979.  Presently estimates say that 17 million Americans suffer from the disease making it the most common and costly illness in the United States today, costing over $13 billion annually. Presently, asthma causes more hospitalizations of children than any other childhood disease.

In the study, 47 patients were observed for a two year period. These patients had all been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases. The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments. The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period. Most patients in the study began care at a rate of 3 visits per week with this frequency being reduced after 4 to 8 initial weeks.

The patient results were very good with all 47 of the study patients showing a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent. Patient observed improvement was measured by both improvement in their symptoms as well as a decrease in their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up.

A case study published in the July 19, 2012, issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, documents the case of a young boy suffering from asthma who improved with chiropractic care.

The study authors start by noting that asthma in children is very prevalent with 9 million U.S. children under the age of 18 being diagnosed with asthma. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) estimate that 15 million people suffer from asthma. Asthma is currently the leading cause of school absence in the U.S., with the rate of asthma cases increasing steadily.

In this case, a 24-month-old boy was brought to the chiropractor by his mother for chiropractic care. According to the boy's mother, her son had suffered from asthma, chronic colds, and respiratory issues since birth. At the time the child was brought to the chiropractor, he was taking 2 medications daily that were prescribed by his pediatric pulmonologist. These medications included Flovent at 2 puffs twice per day, and Singulair almost daily.

A chiropractic examination was performed and it was noted that the boy’s neck had a limited overall range of motion. Additionally, multiple areas in his spine had restricted segmental motion and abnormal positioning. It was determined that multiple areas of vertebral subluxations were present, and a specific plan of corrective chiropractic adjustments was initiated.

The study authors noted that the child responded quickly. They wrote that the  "...patient’s mother reported that due to her son’s improvement and decreased symptomatology, she was no longer giving her son the Flovent or Singulair."

In the case study, the authors reported that, "...the boy was still being seen in the chiropractor’s office for wellness care once every other week and has reported only one cold with a respiratory flare up once in the past two years."

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "In the case of a 2-year-old male suffering from asthma, chronic colds, and respiratory issues since birth, there was a resolution of symptoms after receiving four adjustments over the course of three weeks. Evidence in this case supports chiropractic care in the management of asthma and associated symptoms."

It is estimated that up to 15 million people suffer from asthma. Of those, 14.8 million are children under the age of 18. In 1993 alone, there were 198,000 hospitalizations for asthma. In that same sample year, 342 people under the age of 25 died due to this problem. In money terms, the direct cost of managing a patient with severe asthma has been estimated at more than $18,000 per year.

The following statistics about asthma come from the Better Health & Medical Network.

Asthma has increased 46% from 1982-1993 with an 80% growth in children under 18 - In the 5-17 age group, asthma causes an annual loss of more than 10 million school days per year - Asthma accounts for more childhood hospitalizations than any other childhood disease - Children with asthma spend approximately 7.3 million days per year restricted to bed rest - In 1990, there were 7.1 million physician visits for asthma - Health care costs for asthma were estimated to be $6.2 billion, which is almost 1% of the total US health care costs - More than 5,200 Americans died from asthma in 1991.

Recent articles in publications such as "The American Chiropractor", and "Today's Chiropractic" describe strong links between people who suffer from these conditions and nerve interference from subluxation. Subluxations are when bones in the spine pressure or irritate nerves causing abnormal nerve function. An article appearing in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research Vol. 1 No. 4, also demonstrated the positive effects of chiropractic care on 81 children with asthma.

According to Richard Pistolese, research assistant for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, "Based upon information currently available, chiropractic care represents a safe non-pharmacological health care approach, that may be associated with a decrease in asthma-related impairment, reduced respiratory effort, and a decrease incidence of asthma attacks." Pistolese goes further to say, "The correction of vertebral subluxation is a non-invasive procedure, which could reduce or eliminate the need for medication, and potentially ease the severity of the asthmatic condition."

Three case studies reported in the September 2005 issue of the British scientific journal, Clinical Chiropractic, highlighted the success of chiropractic care on patients with long term asthma. The study performed  at the University Of Surrey Chiropractic clinic, reported that asthma is the most common chronic disease in the United Kingdom, with nearly 3.5 million people affected, including 1.3 million children."

These studies document three separate cases of individuals who had suffered with asthma for years. The first was a 28-year-old athletic male who had been suffering from asthma since childhood. The study notes that his symptoms were most prevalent when exercising and at night. He was using an inhaler daily in the morning and at night before going to bed. The report then notes that he began a program of chiropractic care. The study reported that a few weeks into his care he felt so good that one night he forgot to use his inhaler. He reported that he suffered no ill-effects and reported he had a great night's sleep.  From that point forward he reportedly did not use his inhaler at night, and was extremely pleased with the results achieved from chiropractic care.

The next case was a 56-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with asthma 5 years previously. She reported that her main symptoms were chest tightness and coughing. After just 2 weeks of chiropractic care, she reported feeling much better within herself. She reported that she found it much easier to breathe with less coughing. Additionally she also reported feeling less tired, and had also noticed that her dry skin had apparently also shown dramatic improvement. "I knew this treatment was having an effect as I could feel the changes happening."

The third case in this report was of a 26-year-old woman, who had suffered with asthma since childhood. In her case she played rugby competitively for a ladies team and she reported that she was always having to stop during the game to use her inhaler.  She would also awaken each night wheezing and have to use her inhaler. In her case, after starting chiropractic, she reported being able to play a whole game of rugby without needing her inhaler once, and was sleeping through the night uninterrupted.

The report noted that "The mechanism by which chiropractic is thought to affect asthma is based upon the proposition that spinal adjustment can modify autonomic nervous system.

In an article from Reuters Health Information, printed in the Journal of the AMA is a report of a survey that showed many children with asthma were seeking what the article termed, complementary medicine for their problem. Dr. Sheldon Spier, of Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary, surveyed the parents of 117 pediatric asthma patients. Thirty percent reported using complementary medicine to help manage their children's asthma symptoms, most commonly herbal medications, chiropractic, homeopathy, and vitamin C supplementation. One of the common reasons given for the usage was, the non-medical practitioners were perceived as treating the whole patient."

The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association lists several studies on their web site ( ) discussing the benefits of chiropractic for children with asthma. The following are some of those excerpts: "76.5% of patients with bronchial asthma said they benefited from chiropractic treatment. Peak flow rate and vital capacity increased after the third treatment. Significantly lower quality of life impairment rating scores were reported for 90.1% of children after 60 days of chiropractic care. During this same time period the average number of asthma attacks decreased an average of 44.9%, and asthma medication usage was decreased an average of 66.5%. Among parents of asthmatic children who had received chiropractic treatment, 92% considered this treatment beneficial."