Anatomy lesson of the day: Most people know that the human spine is made up of a series of bones, known as vertebrae, which house and protect the spinal cord. What you may not know is that the spinal cord is actually a bundle of nerve tissue approximately 18 inches long and ¾ inch thick. It extends from the lower brain down through the spine, and along the way, various nerves branch out to the entire body.
In this way, the spinal cord acts as an information super highway, directing and processing information directly from the brain to every organ, subsequent hormonal regulation, and muscle in the body and vice versa.
This extraordinary system, however, takes a regular beating. Children, especially, jump, fall, slip, crash, bang, and trip on a daily basis! These stressors and traumas can cause subluxations, or slight misalignments of the vertebrae which can disturb the spinal cord and result in decreased or altered functioning of the nervous system.
Without further ado,
5 Common Childhood Ailments and How Chiropractic Can Help:
The very first thing my children do after a chiropractic adjustment is take a gloriously long nap! Just today, after an adjustment, my 6 month old napped for 3 hours!! And this is my baby who typically is down for no more than 30 minutes at a time.
How does chiropractic help? Any number of things can cause poor sleep in young children, but the nervous system plays a particularly important role. Without going too in depth, the nervous system functions in two basic modes: “Fight or Flight” (Sympathetic Nervous System) and “Rest and Digest” (Parasympathetic Nervous System). The calming hormones which bring on
restful sleep are developed as a part of the parasympathetic nervous system. But when this system is out of whack? You guessed it! Sleep is a struggle!
[Read more about The Effect of a Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment on Toddler Sleep Pattern and Behavior]
Do you ever feel like your brain is pulling you in five different directions at once? Our kids can experience this too. It’s stressful and frustrating and it can make concentration and focus difficult.
How does chiropractic help? An imbalanced nervous system could be causing a biochemical reaction, stimulating your body’s sympathetic nervous system and kicking the body into that “Fight or Flight” mode that we mentioned earlier. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can make it difficult to focus and can send confusing signals to a young child’s body and brain. A simple, gentle, chiropractic adjustment is a great first step when you’re noticing symptoms of poor concentration.
[Read more about The Connection between Concentration and Chiropractic Care]
This common childhood condition occurs when fluid gets trapped in the ear. Swelling or clogs within the nasal passage due to respiratory infections, allergies, or even just thick mucous from a common cold can block the eustachian tubes which link the ears, throat, and nose and can create prime conditions for bacterial overgrowth.
How does chiropractic help? The realignment
of subluxations in the cervical spine have been proven to help clear fluid from the ears as well as help support the immune system through improved nervous system function. Whenever I notice my kids are getting runny noses I do three things: we spend time in the sun (Vitamin D), we make sure to take our vitamins and probiotics, and I call our Chiropractor! Ear infections are no fun and making sure that everything is lined up properly is a huge part of making sure that my kids are healthy again ASAP!
[Read more about The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Care and Treatment of 332 Children with Otitis Media]
INFREQUENT BOWEL MOVEMENTS
The other guarantee whenever my kids visit our Chiropractor? A big, near blow-out, diaper gift! As yucky as it sounds, it also comes with quite a bit of relief for me as well as baby. It’s stressful knowing that you are the primary caregiver for a little human and when things aren’t going just right in the input-output equation, the seed of worry is planted. Personally, I’m always happy to try a gentle chiropractic adjustment before utilizing a pharmaceutical option!
How does chiropractic help? Our body’s “Rest and Digest” mode is an important factor in healthy bowel movement, so I’m sure you can see how the nervous system can affect this important bodily function. However, misalignments in the lower spine can also pull and restrict regular movement. Addressing these ailments can often bring almost instant relief and routine back to this digestive process.
[Read more about Successful Resolution of Chronic Constipation in Pediatric Patients with Adjustments to Sites of Vertebral Subluxation]
Although some parents may describe Colic as intense, ceaseless, fussiness for no apparent reason, Colic is medically defined as severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen caused by intestinal gas or obstruction in the intestines, suffered especially by babies. No wonder those sweet babes are so unhappy!
How does chiropractic help? While many other care providers are content to tell sleepless new parents that Colic will resolve itself within a few months, for reasons similar to infrequent bowel movements, Chiropractic care can aid in the relief of intestinal gasses and obstructions as well as aid sleep and anxiety.
[Check out this Case Study in which Infantile Colic Resolves After Chiropractic Care]
Parenting young children is full of obstacles! Fortunately, chiropractic care is a form of gentle manual adjustment which is able to carefully manipulate and realign the information super highway and bring healing and balance back to the Nervous System. With a Chiropractor on your care team, you can rest a little more easy knowing that your young child’s spine is in optimal alignment and their nervous system is balanced and functioning at it’s best.