Baby Won’t Poop? Chiropractic Can Help!

I never knew once in practice I would get so many email, calls and texts from happy mothers who report that after their child’s adjustment their bowels were working better! We all know how uncomfortable constipation, diarrhea or any gastro-intestinal dysfunction can be –  imagine how your little one feels! There can be many causes of tummy troubles with infants, toddlers, and children of all ages such as food sensitivities, dehydration, stress, food poisoning, and lack of movement within the spine and nervous system!

Chiropractic Care Sets the Body Up For Health

Chiropractic isn’t a ‘cure’ for anything, but rather a way to support the body so that it can heal from within. When there are misalignments in the spine (subluxation), particularly in the lower spine where the nerves branch off the spinal cord and supply energy to the digestive organs, it will lead to dysfunction. When we restore proper joint movement through a chiropractic spinal adjustment, this also relieves tension within the nerves and allows them to function the way they were designed to. The colon works better, the heart works better, the lungs work better, your legs work better, and so does your brain, reproductive system and virtually every other part of your body!

If your child is struggling with digestive system complaints it’s time to take a look at the cause and start restoring proper function to your whole digestive tract. Chiropractic care will remove any structural imbalance, and then we can work at examining their diet, stress levels and making some other adjustments to your lifestyle so that their body can heal from the inside out.

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Stronger, Fitter, Faster

Athletes at all levels, in every sport, of all ages, both male and female benefit from increased stamina, strength, flexibility, balance, agility, balance, position sense,and power.  Given these improvements, it’s not much of a surprise that professional athletes have a Chiropractor on their health team!

And the “mini athletes” benefit too….

“My speed and reaction time on the ice is better.”
“I don’t get hurt as often.”
“I can run straighter, and faster!” 

Spinal care is not just for the injured, it’s necessary to optimize health in every possible way, and especially important with the rapid growth in childhood. Bodies with healthy spines perform better – in sporting events, recreational hobbies, and life!

Disclaimer: Chiropractic is not a treatment or cure for diminished sports performance in children.

Child receiving chiropractic adjustment

Why I Love Seeing Children

Second to being in the womb, the first year of a child’s life is a period of intense growth. At birth the spine is 20cm, within 24m will grow to 45cm. The entire spine doubles in the first year! The first 12 months of life are also crucial for spinal curve development, and 65% of neurological development occurs in the first year.

Given these rapid changes, the vertebrae are especially susceptible to changing shape in response to pressure by slowing bone growth. Spinal misalignments will causes asymmetrical growth, and tension on nerve system means less ability for growth and development.

This then leads to changes in the health of these sweet little ones. Infants may develop symptoms such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Reflux, or spitting up
  • Irritability, or colic
  • Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, head turning, swallowing)
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Balance issues
  • Delayed developmental milestones

For most parents I meet with, spinal care for their child has not been something they have given much thought to, in fact many adults are the same! But once they observe the gentle care their child receives, and the profound changes in their overall wellbeing, it’s quite easy for them to continue to see the benefits of chiropractic care for their growing family.

I love watching these children grow strong, straight, how they recover more easily from injuries, and get sick less.

What’s even more fun is that when they are not feeling well, or observe something unusual with their body, they ask to see me first!

These children are growing up learning that a healthy body needs good food, exercise, sleep, love, and Chiropractic, and that if something is wrong we can look to figure out what’s wrong rather than just pop a pill or suppress their symptoms, and THAT is what I love the most ?

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health, but is not a cure or treatment for trouble breathing, reflux or spitting up, irritability, colic, difficulty nursing, balance issues or delayed development. 

What Do Chiropractors Do When Our Children Are Sick?

It’s highly unlikely we’ll give them any medication or rush them to a walk-in clinic. Instead, we honour the innate wisdom of the body and it’s power to heal from the inside-out.

Each illness a child experiences helps to strengthen and enhance their natural immunity. Rather than suppress their symptoms we encourage the immune system to process the bacteria or virus as effectively as possible by supporting cellular function.

My sons are 12 and 8 years old, and have never had any medication whatsoever. Do they get sick sometimes? Of course they do, but at a much lower frequency than many of their peers. They eat really well, get plenty of rest, are active, happy, and get adjusted regularly!

When they get a cough, cold or some congestion, this is what I do:

– Adjustments to correct spinal subluxations to remove nerve interference (daily).

– Encourage added sleep and rest.

– Keep them home from school until they have no fever and their energy is back.

– Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin D, and a high quality multi vitamin.

– Eliminate all refined sugars and dairy products from their diet, keep foods simple and nourishing.

– Offer increased fluids, nutrient-dense smoothies, and warm herbal teas.

– Mix some olive oil with a few drops of the essential oils of tea tree and eucalyptus, rub into their chest and under their collar bones to encourage drainage of the lymph glands in those regions.

– Offer natural raw honey to soothe the throat.

– Have them gargle with salt water (1/4 tsp sea salt with 1/2 cup water) to flush bacteria out of the mouth and to ease discomfort in the throat.

– Offer lots of love, comfort, and reassurance!

I’ve also found that illness is always a great teaching moment with them. Helping them understand how their bodies work, what is happening when they have a fever, and are coughing/sneezing, and what their body needs to feel and function well is a lesson that everyone needs!

This approach has never failed us, and I am confident that their developing brains and bodies are stronger for it.  Next time your children are ill, consider supporting their body naturally, and working with health professionals who can help you along the way.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for illness in children.

Coughs, Colds & Congestion

69443tegi1jeqhsMany times when people in the practice are dealing with colds, coughs, sore throats, or congestion they want to stay home, but you’ll often hear me encourage them to come get adjusted and stress the importance of it during illness.

If germs were the only factor that made us sick…we would all be in serious trouble, but a healthy body is dealing with germs everyday and does not become ill. Sure some bacteria or viruses are more threatening than others, but in general when we become ill it’s because our body’s ability to cope with the demand on our immune system has failed.

Congestion, coughing, sneezing, fevers, and a runny nose are all signs the body is effectively creating an immune response to help the body eradicate the bacteria or virus causing the infection. This is a good thing and not to be suppressed! Medications to make you feel better offer temporary relief, but often create other imbalances in the body that can affect your long-term health.

As per any ailment, my recommendations are always to support the body as best as you can and strategize to boost the immune system, and Chiropractic care is a huge contributor to a healthy immune system!

Chiropractic works: A study by a neurologist found that 92% of children with chronic tonsillitis had upper cervical misalignments, and after studying 76 children with chronic tonsillitis it was concluded that “tonsillitis goes hand in hand with movement restriction in the cranio-cervical skull and neck junction”

If you’re sick and suffering make a spinal check-up high on your priority list. In addition to increasing fluids, sleep, and nutritional support, your body will likely recover without any other intervention and give your body better health moving forward.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for cough, colds or congestion.

Understanding Fevers

ID-10036546As both a Chiropractor and a mother, I have personally seen the benefits of a more natural approach to children’s health, and seen hundreds of children thrive without reliance on pharmaceuticals for everything that ails them. My sons are 7 and 11 years old, and I can  count the number of times I have taken their temperature.

They rarely get sick, but when they do fall ill, I understand the importance of monitoring them, giving them love, fluids and nourishment, and letting their body deal with the bacteria or virus on their own. They have never taken any medication (and yes, that is a fact I am proud of!) and I have certainly never given them any medication to treat a fever. Here’s why:

What is a fever?
A fever is a raise in the body’s core temperature above:
37.8    If taken orally
37.2    If taken under the arm

Fevers are part of a healthy immune response, one of the body’s first lines
of defense against bacteria and viruses.  By raising the temperature inside the body bacteria cannot survive!  The number of circulating white blood cells increases (important immune system fighters), the amount of iron in the blood (which bacteria need to survive) is moved into the liver where it is stored, and many toxins are released through perspiration.

Fevers are a good thing!  They are the sign of a healthy, functioning immune system.  A fever on its own is not a reason for concern.  It’s important to monitor your child for other signs of possible illness (runny nose,tugging at ears, coughing, etc.) before assuming they are sick.  Other factors can also be responsible for an increase in body temperature (i.e.over-dressing, physical activity, heat exposure). When in doubt, seek advice from a health professional.

If your child has a fever: Watch them for other signs of a possible illness. Ensure they eat nutritious food (unprocessed, low-sugar, unrefined, whole foods), get adequate rest, and increased fluid intake (broth, diluted juice, H2O). If they are breastfeeding increase the frequency of feedings. Give them extra love, comfort, and reassurance their body is strong and working well to help them heal.

Can Chiropractic care help?  Yes. Spinal adjustments can provide beneficial support of the immune system, and subsequently, can help reduce a fever since the body is more easily able to process the bacteria or virus within. Fever is no longer needed because the infection subsides.

Can a fever be dangerous?   Untreated fevers caused by viral or bacterial infections do not rise inexorably, and will generally not exceed 105 degrees because the body actually has a built-in mechanism to prevent an infection induced fever from reaching 106.  Temperatures that climb to these levels are part of the cycle that normally occurs when the body is trying to fight the infection.  Although 95% of childhood fevers never reach 105, those that do often peak and then start to descend as the body heals.  Only in the cases of externally caused fevers (heatstroke, poisonings, etc) does the body’s inborn mechanism fail, and it is in these cases where fevers can exceed 106 and warrant immediate attention.

Head to the emergency room if your child…has a fever that persists for more than 3 days, develops other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, vomiting repeatedly, muscle twitching or other strange movements; is an infant younger than 2 months of age; cries inconsolably, has a high-pitched or weak cry; is difficult to waken, excessively drowsy, confused or delirious; has been exposed to an environmental toxin or ingested something poisonous; has had a seizure, a stiff neck or has purple spots on their skin; has difficulty breathing and does not feel better once nose is cleared; is acting very sick; or has underlying risk factors for serious infection.

If none of these are present, TRUST the body’s wisdom to use a fever as an adaptive response to restore health. Look to support your child’s health overall with a variety of preventative measures rather than symptom management. The long-term benefits are proven and your child will thank you!

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for fevers in children.

Kids Have Spines Too!

CIMG0902I love seeing children in the practice. Their energy is contagious and they are so much fun to be around. Many people are still surprised when they see me adjusting children…here’s some of the most commone questions I hear:

Why do so many parents choose to bring their children to Chiropractors?

To help them grow strong and healthy! Spinal misaligments (subluxations) begin early in life, and the sooner they are corrected, the better the body is able to recover and heal. Whether in an adult or in a child, subluxations cause joint damage, inflammation, reduced mobility and structural imbalance. More importantly, subluxations impair nerve system function, affect the ability to adapt to stress, and inhibit normal body function.

Parents seek Chiropractors for their children to help them recover from an illness, develop proper motor skills, support their brain development, and offer relief for many ailments.

Is it safe? How are children adjusted?

Clinical experience shows that chiropractic spinal adjustments are very safe and comfortable, even for newborns. Chiropractic examinations and adjustive techniques are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child’s developing structures, and parents often comment about how much their children enjoy their adjustments and look forward to visits. The best part about chiropractic care? Unlike over –the-counter prescription remedies and other drugs, chiropractc simply helps the body heal itself…no side effects, just good effects!

Does is Work?

A study compared the level of health of children raised under chiropractic care and mainstream medicine. The results revealed that:

– Nearly 43% of the medical children suffered from tonsillitis, compared to less than 27% of the chiropractic children

– The chiropractic children showed lower antibiotic use and a lower incidence of disease, especially ear infections. If this group of children did became sick, it was reported that the illness was mild compared to those exhibited by their classmates.

A pilot study was undertaken to determine if a relationship existed between the incidence of childhood diseases and the intensity of chiropractic care. “Intensive” chiropractic care (i.e. more than seven visits per year, for more than one year, according to categories defined in the study) increased resistance to common childhood diseases.

Proper Spinal Care is Essential to Your Child’s Health.    

Now more than ever before, parents are searching for proactive lifestyle habits that will nurture their child’s health. Your child may not be sick, but their spine may be developing with spinal subluxations. Consider chiropractic as a natural, safe, preventive strategy to support healthy growth and development.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for tonsillitis or disease in children.

Ask Your Kids

Photo on 2012-09-30 at 19.53 #4Parenting is not easy. My sons teach me far more than I teach them, and I think I will be saying this for many years. They are also my greatest source of joy, and developing them into amazing human beings is by far the biggest accomplishment I am working on.

I believe we create independent children by giving them freedom to make choices, within limits of course, while providing them guidance, support, encouragement, and tons of love along the way. If we empower them to have some control over their lives, I believe they are more accountable for their actions and can feel more proud of themselves with what they achieve.

To start this summer, I decided to ask my sons for their thoughts about how they should spend their time.  My goal was to figure out what they wanted to do, rather than just imposing my ideas on them, and to give us a framework to plan our time.

I gave them this simple list of questions to answer.  To be honest, reading their responses moved me to tears.  Sure, I was reminded of their interests, and I learned a few new ones that had developed, but I was also completely inspired by some of their comments and very proud of the people they are becoming.

Obviously, it goes without saying that communication is the key in any relationship and the ones we have with our children is no different.  Giving them opportunities to express themselves with you will always succeed, and sometimes written communication  can offer different insights than verbal alone. If you’re connecting with your children, start now.

I mentioned this exercise to a few parents in the practice and they asked for a copy, so here it is…

school’s out!

Sleeping Like a Baby

Ty day2b

In addition to what we see clinically, research continues to support Chiropractic care for children!

One study looked at SLEEP PATTERNS IN CHILDREN regardless of the initial reason they were brought to a Chiropractor. Of the 116 infants enrolled in the study, 10% had reported ‘sleep disturbances’ and 75% had presented with ‘excessive crying’.

Overall, better sleep habits were seen in all the infants – and what parents wouldn’t appreciate that?!  Specifically, consecutive hours of sleep, quality of sleep, and time taken to settle before sleep all showed significant improvement. Parents reported that their infants settled more quickly and easily, noting improvements after only a few adjustments.

Chiropractic works. For everyone.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for sleep issues in children.

Back to School! Tips for Using Back Packs

Its that time of year again….school is in! Kids going back to school carrying packs on their back is a great reminder to all of us to exert some caution when using them to haul our stuff around. Check out these brief tips below:

– Avoid slinging your backpack on one side – this can cause the spine to lean, putting stress on the joints and muscles in the mid – and lower – back.

– As much as possible, wear both straps and adjust them so that the pack fits snugly. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your back. Ensure the straps don’t dig into the skin to prevent proper circulation.

– Use the waist strap during periods of long wear since it reduces the strain on your back and transfers some of the load to your hips.

– Position the shoulder straps on on your shoulders!  Carrying your backpack too low will cause you to lean forward and puts the weight on your upper back.

– Bend with your knees to lift the pack, or place the pack on a table or bench to more easily slide it onto your back instead of bending and twisting.

– Choose a pack with plenty of compartments and make use of them! Pack the heaviest items closest to your body, and place awkward shaped items towards the front so that they do not dig into your skin.

The most important thing to remember is this: when your spine is healthy, when your muscles are strong and balanced, everyday activities are not a problem for your body! Regular chiropractic care ensures this. If you haven’t yet made time to find a Chiropractor to work with to achieve your family’s health goals…now is the time!