Patients often seek osteopathic health care in preparation for the cold and flu season. You might ask how osteopathy could possibly help?
Well let’s look at our lungs first. The COVID19 virus seems to impact our lungs more than our sinuses, ears or nose, potentially resulting in pneumonia. Assessing your breathing mechanics, the chest, and the diaphragm becomes important. When we breathe our lungs need to be able to expand with the in breath and reduce in size during the out breath. The lungs are attached by connective tissue to the inside of your chest cage. When you breathe in you notice your chest-cage expands and when you breathe out it changes shape as the pressure in your chest cage decreases. For your lungs to be able to change shape well, it relies on the ribs, the spine and the bones of the front of your chest on being able to move properly.
Your osteopath can assess the range of motion of your ribs and spine to ensure that they can move fully. If they are restricted your osteopath can work with you to achieve improved range of motion and improved breathing mechanics. With improved breathing mechanics it will help the circulation of the fluid in your veins and arteries through your chest cage. We all know when we move things they drain better; lungs like to move fully too.
Your diaphragm a big muscle that helps us breathe is attached to your rib’s spine and chest area. For the diaphragm to be able to fully shape change with the air moving in and out of your lungs it is reliant on good movement of the related joints. Your osteopath can assess this area and work with you to get some changes. Even more interesting the liver and spleen sit right underneath your diaphragm in fact the liver has little ligaments that attach it to the diaphragm. When the diaphragm moves so does the liver and spleen. Immune organs that help you fight infections.
When we get a common cold runny nose, sore throat and congested sinuses osteopaths also investigate the drainage pathways of your head and neck area. Fluid like your lymph, which helps you fight infections needs to make its way back to your chest area and back to the heart. Osteopaths can assess the tone or tension of the muscles and connective tissues of your neck and how the joints in your neck are moving. Good tone in the neck and good range of movement will help assist that drainage process.