Tag Archives: Children

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From Birth and Beyond

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In today’s world of infant carriers, sitting for hours at school, hunched forward on tablets and cell phones, television watching and driving in cars, kids are breaking down their spines faster than ever.

Postural patterns can begin in the womb, especially towards the end of pregnancy when there is less space to move. This reveals itself in the way a baby may keep their head turned, or legs crossed one way. If left uncorrected, this can turned into a stuck or locked posture. However, if we can correct these learned patterns at a young age it requires much less time and effort to make a change. When a child is only months old as opposed to years – we do not see the muscle memory and learned behaviors/postures that work against what we do in the office. This means that something that would take 3-4 months to correct on a 10 year old could potentially be corrected in 3-4 weeks on a 10 month old. Sounds better, right?

In addition, when there is strain, tension, pulling and stress placed on the child’s head and neck during the birth process, it very commonly leads to a structural shift in the spine. This will often times lead to secondary conditions (colic, constipation, difficulty feeding) that we see resolve when these misalignments are corrected in infants.

We’ve talked previously about the safety of chiropractic care (A 2011 literature review found that no serious adverse events have been reported in the scientific literature in the last 20 years) – given the research, it’s quite reasonable to conclude that modern pediatric chiropractic care is safe. But does it work?

Data from the ICPA’s ground breaking study, The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network, was recently published  in the biomedical journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. The most common reasons for parents seeking symptom relief care were muscles conditions, ear, nose, and throat, respiratory and digestive disorders. Both parents and doctors indicated a high rate of improvement with respect to the children’s presenting complaints. In addition to these improvements, respondents reported better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavior and, improved immune system function while under chiropractic care.

In our office, kids who get adjusted tend to be more comfortable, have stronger immune systems, and reach developmental milestones appropriately…and they love getting adjusted.

As a reminder, those who receive advanced training and are active members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) are the most qualified to examine and care for children and pregnant patients. NOT all chiropractors adjust kids (nor should they). If you need help finding a chiropractor in your area, check http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/


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Simplify Your Family’s Health

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Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
– Oscar Wilde

Minimalism can provide many benefits to your life, be it less stress, more money or more time. What many people don’t realize is that it also applies to your family’s health and well-being. We are often told we couldn’t possibly figure out how to improve our health on our own, that it is a very complicated process. The truth is – it isnt.

If you follow these simple yet essentials tips your family’s health will improve, without leaving you overwhelmed (or broke!).

Move your body in a way you enjoy.

Traditional “exercise” is not mandatory. Sure, you can join a gym if you’d like but it’s not necessary – and the downside is your children can’t exercise with you. So, instead – why not walk more?

It’s that simple. Move your body way more than you currently are and your health will improve. Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships –  it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your everyday life. Plus, the whole family can be involved – even the dog!

The benefits of walking are endless – so let’s just name a few: it helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease (like high blood pressure and diabetes), it also improves mood and mobility. The best part about these benefits is that it doesn’t take much time from your day to achieve them. Thirty minutes a day is where we see start to see great health benefits.

Besides these health benefits – there’s also quality and uninterrupted time as a family: Being outdoors and breathing fresh air promotes a sense of calmness that can lead to bonding time and better conversations. In addition, you’re leading by example -setting a great example by modeling good healthy exercise habits that can reap future benefits in a child’s attitude towards exercise and fitness.

If walking isn’t your thing – do something else. Hiking, pillow fights, dancing to music, bike rides, jumping on the bed, whatever your kids enjoy – anything to get your family moving.

Eat Clean

This one truly is simple – research has proven what matters most: make sure your diet consists mostly of real, minimally processed foods.

To successfully implement this into your life remember we often eat what’s convenient, and if you buy it and keep it in the house, you’ll eat it – so don’t buy it in the first place. The following are some basic ground rules to follow when eating clean. Eat more organic and/or local fruits and vegetables, and remember the fresher the food, the more potent the nutrients. Drink more pure filtered water (Divide your weight by 2, aim to drink that number in ounces). Eat a handful of raw nuts/seeds everyday. When it comes to meat and dairy – choose products where animals live as close to their natural state as possible -free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, raw milk etc.). Lower your intake of inflammatory/mucus producing foods (dairy, sugar, wheat) and instead aim to eat more raw foods that contain powerful enzymes and phytonutrients (try juicing).

You can even involve your children by letting them help make a green smoothie; this can be any combination of several greens, avocado, coconut oil, and a little fruit. They deliver great nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables with the fruit added to sweeten and lessen any bitterness from the chard, kale and spinach. They taste great and your children will learn about new foods and become more comfortable in the kitchen. Just remember the 3 main ingredients should be plants, fat, and protein (not all fruit/sugar).

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives—and yet it is the one with the most immediate power to improve our lives in every waking moment. Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.

When it comes to bedtimes – the earlier is truly the better. Now, I know early bedtimes may not be possible with some families’ schedules, which is totally understandable. But for those who can do it – I strongly urge you to try.

Research consistently shows that putting kids to bed early is beneficial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Not only do kids tend to sleep more when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a glass of wine in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown-up movie for once? It’s really quite lovely.

In addition- sleep that happens earlier in the night tends to be more restorative than sleep that takes place later at night and in the early morning. So putting your kid to bed early may ensure that a higher proportion of her sleep is the extra-restful kind. And well-rested kids behave quite differently than sleep-deprived kids.

When kids (and adults) are sleep-deprived, their bodies release hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which give them a second wind at bedtime and also make it harder for them go back to sleep early in the morning.

If sleep is an issue it’s worth noting – if you follow the other tips we mention here (walking more, eating cleaner, and getting adjusted) – your sleep will most definitely improve.

Remove Interference

Chiropractic care can literally change your family’s life, and enable you to live a pain-free life full of energy and vitality. That’s because chiropractic adjustments help reduce or eliminate pressure on your nerves—the same ones responsible for your everyday bodily functions. Chiropractic will help eliminate pain and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and restore normal balance and nerve flow to all your organs, giving you the energy, drive and peace of mind to go out there and live life the way it was meant to be lived.

Your child’s spine is affected by a multitude of things: starting with birth, leading to crawling/walking and slips and falls, to backpacks, texting, and computers as they grow older. If statistics are what motivates you – consider this – in the US alone, over 200,000 children are taken to hospital each year to have playground injuries assessed. Other likely times that our children will become misaligned include learning to ride a bike, sporting activities or hobbies, and minor or major car accidents.

The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. By removing the interference to the nerves, many of these conditions can improve and/or resolve naturally – without drugs or surgery. Regular chiropractic check ups are a key component in growing healthy kids.

Focus on the lifestyle, not the goals.

Strive to make eating well and moving your body in an enjoyable way part of your family’s daily life. Enjoy the journey and do these things for the right reasons – and you’ll improve your health, fitness and quality of life.


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Studies Prove Your Child Needs Vitamin D

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From 2000 to 2014 there was an increase in the rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnosis among children, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in Pediatrics.

The researchers found that from 2008 to 2014 there was a 15 fold increase in rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnosis. Diagnosis rates were higher in boys versus girls aged <5 years, while rates were higher in girls aged ≥10 years. “There has been a marked increase in diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in children over the past decade,” the authors write.

Now, the next question should be: Why is this important? The reason is that Vitamin D is an essential genetic requirement for human wellness and prevention. It aids in proper function of the immune system, cardiovascular health, bone growth and repair and for overall wellness.

While it’s true that there are dietary sources of Vitamin D, they are NOT sufficient. We were designed to get our Vitamin D from sun exposure. This poses another problem as studies have also shown that children are spending less time outdoors than ever before.

This is why we recommend children (and adults) supplement with Vitamin D3 – the same form of Vitamin D that is produced by sun exposure. Ask us about the Vitamin D drops we carry on your next visit to our office.

 


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The 5 Most Common Chiropractic Questions

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The 5 Most Common Chiropractic Questions

As a structural chiropractor – there are certain questions that I’m asked several times a week, every week – either by patients in the office, or by email, or at a party/function on the weekend. This post aims to answer the 5 most common questions I get, along with some sources when applicable so you can do some further research of your own.

1. “What kind of mattress should I be sleeping on?”

This is one I hear all of the time, and as much as I wish that there was ONE perfect mattress that worked for everyone – there just isn’t. However, what we do know is that a mattress that is more on the firm side is best. Any sagging often undermines mattress comfort and structural support. In fact, results of a recent systematic review show that a medium-firm mattress is optimal for promoting sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment.

2. “Once you start getting adjusted, do you have to keep going for the rest of your life?”

In our office, when it comes to the correction of your structural abnormalities – once we have reached our goal, you’re given a couple of options in terms of protecting what we have worked so hard to accomplish. While the structural corrective exercises that were prescribed will continue to help, most of our patients opt to come in once in a while, get checked, and if need be – receive a structural corrective chiropractic adjustment. There is no obligation to continue care, BUT to most patients, it makes sense to keep things in check with periodic visits.

3. “Is It bad to crack your own __________ (neck,back, hip, etc…)?”

Yes. It amazes me that someone would think it’s a good idea to self adjust it. It’s not the sound that is the problem (which comes from tiny gas bubbles within the fluid that lubricates your joints), it’s the way the thrust affects your spine. Self-manipulation, while a temporary rush and feel-good sensation, can create hypermobility and long-term structural problems.

In addition, people who self-manipulate tend to do it several times a day, every day. This causes ligaments to stretch and eventually become less stable – not a good thing when it comes to movement. This instability not only affects the mechanics of the spine, but also can predispose you to an injury.

4. ” Why would a baby/toddler/child need an adjustment?”

The primary reason is that the birth process is physically demanding for babies. A typical birth can place 60-90 lbs of force onto an infant’s head and neck. While most children are okay, these shifts have been associated with colic, constipation, sleep issues and trouble feeding. Early check ups can help prevent structural shifts from becoming a chronic problem.

In our office, we’re fortunate to have referrals from some excellent pediatricians and midwives who pick up on these symptoms and choose to recommend a safe, non-drug approach. We use very gentle corrections which help the child be more comfortable, typically after a handful of visits. It’s our experience that children who get adjusted often nurse better, are more comfortable, have regular bowel movements, sleep better, and have a stronger immune system.

5. “Are neck adjustments dangerous?”

In the past 10 years, you may have heard or seen billboards, ads, or words from doctors talking about the relationship between “spinal manipulation and stroke”. The truth is that chiropractors DO NOT cause strokes. People have strokes, are in pain, and end up seeing a doctor or chiropractor. This is not my opinion, a well designed study 5 years ago helped put this concern to rest. It showed NO ASSOCIATION between a visit to a chiropractor and a stroke. It studied thousands of people making over one million visits the offices of both chiropractors and medical doctors.

In a study of 19,700 patients and 50,000 adjustments, the most common reactions have been mild soreness, light headedness, and a minor tension headache after the first adjustment. More intense reactions were very rare and not specifically tied to the adjustment. Of course it can be easy to fall into the trap of what you might see in an article online or hearsay from someone who may not know any better (and may have ulterior motives). However, given the facts and applying a little common sense, I think you can see that chiropractic might be one of the safest forms of healthcare you may ever have the chance to experience.


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How Do You Know If Your Baby Needs an Adjustment?

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How Do You Know If Your Baby Needs an Adjustment

DID YOU KNOW that structural shifts in the spine can happen from the birth process?

A typical birth can place 60-90 lbs of force onto an infant’s head and neck. While most children are okay, these shifts have been associated with colic, constipation, sleep issues and trouble feeding. Early check ups can help prevent structural shifts from becoming a chronic problem.

So why would a baby need an adjustment? It all starts with our modern birth process. You see, for thousands of years – the vast majority of children brought into this world were done so without the need for intervention and induction. That doesn’t mean that every birth was perfect and non-complicated – but it does mean that 40% or more of them did not end with drugs, anesthesia, and surgical tools. Unfortunately, in our present society – the birth process can often times be the first injury to a baby’s upper neck, cranial area, and spine. In my experience, the greater the amount of intervention during the birth process (induction, forceps, vacuum, C-section, etc.), the greater the likelihood of a significant shift in a newborn’s spinal structure.

When there is strain, tension, pulling and stress placed on the child’s head and neck during the birth process, it very commonly leads to a structural shift. This shift has three parts – misalignment, fixation (“stuck”), and nerve interference/irritation. This will often times lead to secondary conditions (colic, constipation, difficulty feeding) that we see resolve when these misalignments are corrected in infants.

The following are physiological signs of a structural shift in newborns, infants, and toddlers that parents can be on the lookout for:

Cervical spine (neck):
  • Baby always has head turned one way (head tilt)
  • Difficulty rotating head or restrictive neck motion in one or more directions
  • Apparent discomfort or resistance when touching muscles at base of skull (sub-occipitals).

Hips/Pelvis (sacrum):

  • Forward rotation of a hip when holding baby up under arms
  • One crease of buttocks higher than the other (deviated gluteal crease)
  • Arching of back
  • Unequal crawling

Skull (cranial bones):

  • Aysmmetry of cranial bones
  • Flattened occipital bone (back of head)
  • Uneven eye orbits

Pediatric Chiropractic care is gentle and safe. Only light force is needed when adjusting an infant or child’s spine. Imagine the pressure needed to press your pinky finger into a ripe red tomato. It’s important to note that not all chiropractors check and adjust children. I recommend using the ICPA’s website to find a pediatric chiropractor in your area that specializes in dealing with prenatal care, pregnancy, and children.


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