Long-term asthma tends to lead to restrictions in the thoracic spine and ribs. The accessory muscles that help lift the upper ribs become overworked and become inefficient, exacerbating the problem of breathing when asthma is present. Osteopathy does not treat asthma, but can help by stretching the muscles of respiration, allowing them to function more efficiently, and maintaining the mobility of the rib cage, so those muscles do not have to work as hard during respiration.