Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pediatric Chiropractic

Did you know that during birth, an average of 60-90 pounds of pressure is applied to the cervical spine of the baby?

The birthing process is a traumatic experience for both mother and child.  The amount of pressure applied to the baby's neck can cause significant misalignments in the spine which can inhibit nerve communication between the brain and the body and vice versa.  That break in nerve communication can lead to a reduction in immunity, pain, muscle tension and a long list of other issues.  If left unchecked and untreated, these issues can continue past infancy into childhood and even into adulthood.  Children can be evaluated and treated as early as a few days after birth.  
Does your child suffer from ear aches, ear infections, asthma, allergies, colic, digestive problems, inability to concentrate, scoliosis, athletic injuries, joint pain or overuse of technology?  Keep reading 

Below are 7 common reasons children see a chiropractor:

1. To encourage good neural plasticity

No need to visit!  Neural plasticity, simply put, is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new nerve connections throughout life.  Those nerve connections travel from the brain to the body through the spinal cord which is protected by the spine.  If there are misalignments in the spine, pressure can be put on the nerves which interrupts those connections.

2. To help strengthen a child's immunity

The immune center in the body is located in the brain stem which sits at the level of the upper cervical spine (neck).  Recent studies show that chiropractic adjustments to that region encourage fewer colds, ear aches and general illness.  Consistent adjustments have also been shown to reduce the occurrence of ear infections and decrease the need for antibiotics.

3. To help with colic and trouble latching during breastfeeding

Colic is characterized by the presence of loud, piercing crying, flexed legs, tension in abdominal muscles and clenching of fingers. Research has found that up to 94% of colicky infants show improvement in symptoms with chiropractic care.  Spinal misalignments in the mid to lower thoracic and upper lumbar regions, which carry nerve supplies to the stomach and intestines, cause disruption to the digestive system resulting in colicky symptoms.  Chiropractors are trained to correct spinal misalignments thus relieving the symptoms and bringing great relief to your baby. 

Many new mothers experience pain or difficulty with breastfeeding their baby.  Often times, difficulty breastfeeding is a result of poor latching by the infant.  This can be caused by misalignments in the upper cervical spine and/or temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to help in as many as 78% of cases, especially when an infant tends to feed primarily on one side.

4. To help support digestive strength

Many children deal with issues such as constipation or acid reflux, which can be caused by misalignments in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine.  Correction of these misalignments will clear the nerve connection to those areas, thus clearing up the problem.

5. To help with a child’s capacity to learn and concentrate

Countless children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and parents are becoming more and more cautious about medicating their child for it.  While medication has been shown to help, there can be significant side effects.  Chiropractic care is a treatment option to consider with few to no negative side effects.  A diagnosis of ADHD often comes from answers on a questionnaire; however Dr. Robert Melillo, a chiropractic neurologist says that is not enough.  He says, "True ADHD patients have other signs — tics, tremors, balance or postural problems, or unusual sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds." 

Doctors of chiropractic and chiropractic neurologists offer a non-drug and non-invasive treatment alternative for ADHD patients that targets the underlying problems, not just symptoms. "Motor activity—especially development of the postural muscles—is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will influence brain development.  Musculoskeletal imbalance will create imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other, and that's what's happening in ADHD patients," says Dr. Melillo.

6. To help promote body balance

With the increasing prevalence of kids with cell phones, video games, computers and tablets, there is a noticeable increase in poor posture.  Kids seem to be constantly bent over a mobile device of some kind thus promoting forward head carriage and rounded shoulders; a condition known as Upper Crossed Syndrome (Tech Neck).  This posture causes tightening of the pectoral and trapezius muscles and weakening of the deep neck flexors and rhomboids (muscles that draw the shoulder blades together), thus drawing the head forward and putting extra pressure on the cervical spine and causing a loss in natural cervical curve.  The cervical curve, or lordosis, is important to bear the weight of the head properly and minimize and slow down degeneration of the spine.  Consistent chiropractic adjustments and specific corrective care can help restore the natural curve.

Chiropractic care can also help with issues such as asthma, allergies and bed wetting.  Pressure on the nervous system can disrupt nerve connection to organs such as the lungs and bladder thus causing problems with breathing and wetting the bed. 

 7. To help relieve joint pain

As children learn to crawl, walk, run and play, tremendous amounts of pressure are put on the spine causing misalignments and decreasing the communication between the brain and the body.  Kids fall!  It is inevitable.  Whether the fall is minor or significant, it will cause the soft tissues that support the spine to compensate thus pulling the spine out of alignment.  Consistent adjustments will help correct that and keep the body healthy during the important years of growth. 

Backpacks seem to be getting heavier and heavier as the years go on.  Not wearing a backpack correctly can put excess stress on the spine.  Encourage your children to wear both straps even if it isn’t “cool” and show them how to load the pack with the heaviest contents towards the back so that it sits closer to the body.  Cinching the straps so the backpack does not hang too low is beneficial…and also, get them in to a chiropractor to get adjusted!

Scoliosis starts during adolescence which is the worst time because that is when the majority of growth occurs.  If scoliosis goes untreated, a growth spurt can make the curve worse.  Consistent chiropractic care can help reduce a scoliotic curve and promote proper growth.

Kids are starting athletics earlier and earlier in life, which is great for physical fitness, however, it increases the risk of injury.  Things like ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee injuries and the like can inhibit a child’s ability to continue play.  Chiropractors are trained in adjusting more than the spine.  They can adjust extremities as well.  If your child suffers an injury, a chiropractic adjustment will help speed up the healing process and get them back to what they love sooner. 

Think of chiropractic care like dental care…you wouldn’t want your first dental check up to be when you’re an adult, so why get your first chiropractic adjustment when you’re an adult?  There is always a reason for children to get adjusted. 

If you, or someone you know, have children, are in the Gallatin Valley area and looking for a pediatric chiropractor in Bozeman, please call Dr. Shea Stark with Pro Chiropractic at 406-388-9915 to schedule an appointment.  Dr. Stark is a board certified chiropractor and the author of this blog post.  To learn more about Dr. Stark and the many benefits of chiropractic care, please visit our website:

Monday, March 2, 2015

The What and How of Chiropractic Joint Manipulation - The Adjustment

Chiropractic Joint Manipulation

Chiropractic care focuses on treating the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. It addresses back pain, neck pain, joint pain as well as pain in the extremities (arms and legs). The most common procedures that are used are spinal  and joint manipulations, also known as adjustments. These procedure are used to restore joint mobility by using the Chiropractor's hands and fingers or small instrument to move joints and bones into proper motion, position, and alignment.

Often problems occur in the spine and joints of the body as a result of stress.  This can be when you lift something the wrong way or have a job with repetitive movements. Additionally, when you bend the wrong way or sit incorrectly for long periods of time this can cause problems in your joints and surrounding tissues.
Car accidents and sports injuries also cause injuries that result in joint injury, swelling, and fixation  As a result of these physical stresses, the tissues in and around joints becomes inflamed leading to swelling and pain.   Spinal manipulation therapy restores the movement to the joints and bones, effectively opening up space and taking pressure off sensitive structures.
Physical Exam

When you go for an exam the chiropractor will give you a physical exam and assess joint motion and position in your body. A properly trained chiropractor will look at posture, movement, and function to determine the cause of your pain or problem before beginning treatment.  The doctor will determine where your body needs alignment and better range of motion.  The top chiropractic offices use ever-advancing technology such as digital x-ray, computerized posture analysis, dynamic gait scanning study, in combination with finely tuned palpation skills and orthopedic tests to assess you joints.  Once the initial examination is complete the doctor will determine which joint manipulation treatments, therapeutic exercises, diet, and lifestyle changes are needed.

Joint Manipulation

Joint manipulation involves using the Chiropractor's hands or sometimes a small instrument to move the joints into better position. They are expertly trained to rapidly move the joints in specific directions, improving motion and opening space to alleviate pain.  It sometimes leads to a popping or cracking sound, which is harmless gas bubbles releasing from the joint fluid.

Spinal manipulation therapy unlocks stiff joint segments, calms muscle spasms, and stimulates the
mechanoreceptors (joint motion sensors) that signal the brain. This reduces the pain in the joints and gives you better balance, through improved feedback from the brain. Those that experience joint manipulation report greater energy and less pain, and feel ready to tackle the tasks of the day. Joint manipulation often provides more rapid pain relief than other therapy methods.
Joint manipulation can assist with repetitive and posture injuries from standing or sitting in one spot for long periods of time. Often car accidents cause neck and back pain from muscle strains, torn ligaments, and jammed, stressed joints that joint manipulation can help. Athletes that get sports injuries from training or trauma often find this treatment very helpful. 
Doctor's of Chiropractic are the accepted experts at spinal and extra-spinal joint manipulation.  No healing specialty has more training and competency to be able to answer your questions, and deliver this beneficial treatment in a safe, professional,  and comfortable way

To learn more about joint manipulation, visit your Top-Rated Bozeman Chiropractic Clinic at Pro Chiropractic today.  Dr. Jonathan Wilhelm, the author of this blog post the founder of Pro Chiropractic, is a board certified chiropractic physician, and holds a master's degree in Sports Science and Rehabilitation.