Alternative Ways to Treat Your Allergies

Dr. Lambros Lambrou May 26, 2014

After the winter we’ve had, the spring season is a welcomed change. As we know, with spring comes that pollen that turns even the darkest color car green with stuff that makes your eyes itch. So of course, what comes hand-in-hand with the changeover into warmer weather? Allergies.

Many of us rely so much on over the counter allergy medications or even prescription relief but as with any medication, there are side effects. Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, upset stomach, dry mouth, nose and throat, and headaches. What if there was an alternative treatment available that comes with none of those side effects? There is.

You can “rinse” allergens away with saltwater using a neti pot. These small vessels have been used in India for thousands of years to flush the sinuses and keep them clear. If you don’t have a neti pot, you can simply use your cupped hand to rinse your sinuses as well.  A randomized controlled trial in 2002 found that daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.

If the idea of irrigating your sinuses doesn’t sit well with you, there are allergy-fighting foods. A German study, published in the journal Allergy, found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t regularly eat these foods. Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs.

Another way to use food to fight your allergies is by adding a dash of horseradish, chili peppers, or hot mustard to your food when the pollen counts are high. These all act as a natural, temporary decongestant.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that is used for many chronic diseases, including allergies. In a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined 422 people who tested positive for pollen allergies and had allergic nasal symptoms such as a runny nose. The participants reported their symptoms as well as what medication and doses they used to treat them. The researchers then divided them into three groups; one received 12 acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines as needed, a second group received 12 fake acupuncture treatments (needles placed at random, non-meaningful points in the body) and took antihistamines as needed, while the final group only took antihistamines for symptoms. After two months, the researchers asked the patients about their symptoms and how much medication they used. The participants who received the real acupuncture treatments with their antihistamines showed a greater improvement in their allergy symptoms and less use of antihistamines compared to the other groups.

Chiropractic treatments can also help alleviate allergy symptoms by releasing pressure on the nervous system. A nervous system with less stress helps the immune system function more efficiently and that is precisely what an allergy sufferer needs.

Don’t let allergies ruin your spring and summertime fun!

Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine offers solutions to help you this allergy season. Contact us for an appointment to learn more.