They might make you sneeze and cough. Your eyes water, your skin itches and your nose runs.

They are allergies—diseases of the immune system that cause a reaction to substances called “allergens”—and they affect one out of every five Americans. For some people, allergies are simply an irritant they have to manage, but for others, they can cause debilitating suffering leading to isolation, a diminished quality of life and chronic medical conditions.

Allergies come in many different forms.

Hay fever is an allergic response to pollen and other microscopic substances, and sufferers of year-round hay fever frequently have an allergic response to allergens found indoors such as house dust mites, feathers, and animal dander as well. Many people also have allergies to plants, bee stings, animals, latex, mold, cosmetics, drugs, the sun and several kinds of food.

The body’s natural defense mechanism, the immune system, is supposed to recognize and fight off foreign substances called antigens. Allergens are particular antigens that cause an allergic reaction. When the immune system detects allergens in the body, it creates protective proteins called antibodies that are meant to attack these foreign substances. In most people, the body can fight off these irritating substances without a problem, but allergic people develop an antibody in response to normally harmless substances such as cat dander. When these people encounter an allergen that irritates them, their cells become irritated and begin releasing chemicals that cause inflammation and other allergic symptoms.

In essence, the immune system is not working properly because it isn’t able to stage the correct defense against allergens, which shouldn’t cause any problems at all. Like many medical conditions, allergies often addressed with medication. There are nasal sprays, pills, eye drops and injections that people use to help find relief from their allergies. However, a number of natural remedies are also available. Herbal supplements such as butterbur, freeze-dried nettles and a tonic made from the herb goldenseal have been shown to alleviate symptoms, as have many nutrients including grape seed extract and a flavonoid compound known as quercetin.

But like most medical conditions, allergies can also be tamed with frequent visits to an upper cervical chiropractor. When a chiropractor realigns the spine, he allows the spinal cord to properly send messages throughout the rest of the body using the nervous system. Studies have shown that the nervous system is tied to the immune system, so when nerve interference is removed, the immune system can operate at peak performance.

When the immune system is not operating property, it can fail to recognize and remove actual harmful substances, and it can mistake harmless substances as being dangerous, thereby overreacting to allergens. It is also unable to fight infections properly. Traditional allergy treatments only address the symptoms of allergic reactions, but when upper cervical chiropractors relieve the stress on the nervous system, the body can effectively neutralize allergens in the body, which means you can breathe easy once again.

Adapted from http://thespecific.com/blog/2012/04/17/allergies-and-chiropractic-free-of-the-sneeze/

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care focuses on the atlas, which is the first bone in the spine.  It weighs, on average, 2 ounces and is one of the most freely moveable bones in your spine.  A simple bump on the head or a serious car crash can cause significant problems within your neck.

Editorial submitted by Dr. J Spencer Andersen, DC, BCAO