A chronic cough is more than just a nuisance and may cause some serious disruptions to a person’s health. Any cough persisting for more than 8 weeks in adults, or more than 4 weeks for children, is considered a chronic cough.
Coughing attacks during the night can interrupt sleep, resulting in day-time fatigue and drowsiness. Coughing episodes can also cause vomiting, dizziness, headaches, urinary incontinence, loss of consciousness, and rib fractures.
The most common causes of a chronic cough are smoking, post nasal drip, asthma and acid reflux. Other culprits are chronic bronchitis, the flu, pneumonia, whooping cough and certain blood pressure medications. Although less likely, lung cancer or cystic fibrosis can cause a chronic cough as well. Signs and symptoms that often accompany a chronic cough include runny nose, constant need to clear the throat, difficulty breathing, sour taste in the mouth, or spitting up blood or sputum.
When treating a chronic cough, it is important to address the underlying cause, or root cause, as it is known according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Once the root cause is cleared up, the chronic cough will clear up. However, no matter what organs need rebalancing to address the root cause, treatment of the lungs is necessary.
Uncontrollable coughing represents a risky, potentially dangerous characteristic known as ‘rebellious Qi.’ Qi is the most fundamental energy essential for all forms of life. Just as it sounds, rebellious Qi flows in the wrong direction and causes health problems. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help soothe and eliminate risk factors that can contribute to a chronic cough such as smoking or acid reflux.
One of the biggest risk factors is smoking tobacco, and stopping this habit is a necessity. Reducing chemical dependencies helps reduce a patient’s craving and assists the body in detoxifying harmful substances. In the case of acid reflux, acupuncture treatments can help the stomach from forcing digestive juices upwards. As the acid reflux subsides, chronic coughing should lessen as well.