This post is the fourth in a series taken from the article by Keith Wassung entitled “Asthma and Chiropractic: A Research Review”. This series focuses on Asthma, the epidemic, the anatomy of an asthma attack, conventional treatment, and chiropractic care. This week’s post looks at a properly functioning nervous system and asthma.

A properly functioning nervous system should be the first priority in solving asthma since it is the nervous system which controls all of our bodily functions.


The nervous system works by sending and controlled by centers in the brain, the main one being the respiratory center which is found in the medulla oblongata. From here, the nerve impulses are sent to the respiratory muscles, causing them to expand or contract.

Nerve impulses also control the tone of the bronchial tubes. The sympathetic system opens or dilates the bronchial tubes, and the parasympathetic system closes or constricts them.

“The nervous system plays an important role in both the control and activity of the immune system. The sheer power of the brain to affect the body as a whole and the general state of health is amazing.” 11
– Human Anatomy and Physiology

“The nervous system does much more than transmit sensory information to the brain or control motor functions. It actually controls the peripheral organs, including its biomolecular environment. The central nervous system is involved in all disease conditions as the central nervous system not only processes incoming physical and chemical information from the body, it actually controls organs and cells to maintain health and homeostasis.” 12
– Medical Hypothesis

The nervous system is protected by the spine, consisting of 24 moveable vertebrae. When the spine is in its proper position, it protects the nerve pathways. But when vertebrae become misaligned, interference to the nerve impulses occurs, which reduces the overall functioning of the nervous system and of the particular organ to which it is assigned. These spinal misalignments are known as vertebral subluxations.

“Physiopathic changes in spinal structures actually produce an inhibition of nerve impulses. Subjective and clinical findings associated with this syndrome include severe asthma attacks and bronchial asthma.” 13

“Research has shown that an imbalance may exist in the nervous system that supplies the bronchial tubes of an asthmatic individual.” 14

“Asthma is often related to the position of the first and second thoracic vertebra, although misalignment of the spine in other areas can be a contributing factor. Faulty alignment around the seventh cervical vertebra can also be a reason for asthma and other breathing difficulties.” 15

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction likely plays a role in chronic upper airway inflammatory disease. Further investigation may lead to a better understanding of autonomic nervous system dysfunction in these disorders and hence, opportunities
for innovative solutions.16

Abnormal autonomic nervous system responsiveness may contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma and other allergic diseases.17


  1. Marieb, E. Human Anatomy and Physiology. Benjamin/Cummins Publishing Company, 76.
  2. Usher, N.T., M.D. (1993). The viscerospinal syndrome. California Western Medicine, 38, 4
  3. Lee, T.. Thalamic Neuron Theory, Medical Hypothesis
  4. Adams, F., M.D. The Asthma Sourcebook.
  5. Roberts, R., & Sammut, J. Asthma: An Alternative Approach. Keats Publishing
  6. Loherl, TA, Autonomic dysfunction, allergy and the upper airway. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.
  7. Kaliner, M. Autonomic Nervous System Abnormalities and Allergy, Ann Intern Med.