Chiropractic and Ear Issues

Ear issues can be very frustrating to deal with. In some cases they can be extremely painful and can interfere with you being able to get on with your day to day life, as they are very distracting. While standard medical interventions can sometimes help, they are sometimes not enough to help your ear issue resolve, and you may be looking for something different to try and resolve your issue. Or perhaps you are just wanting a more natural remedy. Chiropractic care might be the natural solution you are looking for. Chiropractic care has shown to be very effective for people dealing with issues such as ear infections, tinnitus, or blocked ears. This article will talk about some of the main ear issues there are, and how chiropractic care can help resolve your ear issues.

Chiropractic and Ear IssuesEar infections: An ear infection is inflammation that occurs in the middle ear, due to fluid build up behind the ear drum. This is also called otitis media. Ear infections can happen to anyone, but they are particularly common in children. Over 80% of children have had at least one ear infection by the time they turn 3. This is because the Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and are under developed, meaning they lay flatter in the ear. This causes them to not drain as easily, leading to a build up of fluid and eventually inflammation and infection. It is also because young children don’t have a fully developed immune system yet, meaning that it is harder for their bodies to fight off an ear infection if one occurs. Some signs of an ear infection in children include trouble sleeping, crying often, pulling or tugging at their ears, fever, or mild pain in their ear.

Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing noise happening in either one or both ears. It may be constant or it may come and go. It is commonly associated with hearing loss. Tinnitus can be caused by many things, such as a build up of earwax, a perforated ear drum, an ear infection, exposure to a loud noise, due to a head injury or whiplash, or as a side effect to some medications. Those who suffer from Ménière’s disease will also likely deal with tinnitus.

Blocked ears: Your Eustachian tube is normally closed, but when you swallow or yawn it lets air into your middle ear. If your Eustachian tube isn’t working properly, this can cause reduced air pressure in the middle ear, which pulls your ear drum inwards. This can cause pain and can cause your ear to feel blocked. It may also affect your hearing in that ear. The most common cause of this happening is a blocked nose, as the swelling causes the entrance to the Eustachian tube to close. Anything that changes the air pressure in you ears can also cause the blocking of your ears, such as going in an airplane or going scuba diving. Smoking can also affect the function of your Eustachian tube.

Vertigo: Vertigo is a sensation of spinning, falling, or tumbling in space, or feeling like your surroundings are moving while you are stood still. While this may not seem like an ear issue, your vestibular/balance system is located in your ears. Vertigo can happen for many reasons, such as BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), Ménière’s disease, a head or neck injury, a brain issue such as a tumour or a stroke, a migraine, or due to some medications. Some common symptoms that often accompany vertigo include feeling nauseas, vomiting, abnormal eye movements, a headache, sweating, ringing in the ears, or hearing loss.

How can chiropractic care help with these ear issues?

There are a few different ways that chiropractic care can help with your ear issues. The first way is by ensuring your nervous system is functioning without interference. Your nervous system controls every little thing that happens in your body, and there are nerves that branch out from your spinal cord to every part of your body, including your ears. Sometimes areas of the spine stop moving correctly and can interfere with how the nervous system is functioning. If this is happening in an area that involves nerves that connect to the ears and vestibular system, it can cause issues with the ears. If you brain is unable to accurately perceive what is happening in your ear and vestibular system, it wont be able to properly control the healing process, meaning ear issues may not resolve quickly or to 100%. By adjusting your spine, (in the case of your ears, particularly the cervical spine) this removes the interference from the nervous system, meaning it is able to properly detect what is happening in your ears, and can effectively control the healing of whatever ear issue you are dealing with. Another way chiropractic care can help is through balancing out the spine and the muscles. If the joints of the upper cervical spine are misaligned, this can cause an imbalance of the muscles in the head, which can contribute to issues such as an ear infection. When the muscles in the head are balanced this can help with things such as drainage of the Eustachian tube in the ear, minimising the chance of acquiring an ear infection. Another way chiropractic can help is through specific adjustments of the ear and cranial bones. There are chiropractic techniques that have adjustments of the ear and cranial bones that directly affect the health of the ear. These adjustments have been shown to improve things such as blocked ears, tinnitus, and vertigo, as they allow the Eustachian tubes to drain effectively. Overall, chiropractic care is a natural and effective way of dealing with ear issues that you may be suffering from, so if the standard medical route hasn’t been working for you, or if you just want a more natural option, maybe you should give chiropractic care a go!

Your Child’s Spine and Nervous System

How to Look After Your Child’s Spine and Nervous System

The spine and nervous system are extremely important. The nervous system is what controls every little thing that our body does. Every single muscle and organ system in your body is controlled by your nervous system, making it arguably the most important part of your body. In children, it is their nervous system that co-ordinates all of their growth and development, both physically and mentally, therefore it is extremely important that the nervous system is looked after, so they are able to grow and develop to their full potential. The spine is important for many reasons. One of them being that it is what protects the nervous system. Your spinal cord runs directly through the spine, while the spine acts like armour, protecting it from any possible damage. A healthy spine means a healthy nervous system, but sometimes there can be areas of the spine that stop moving correctly and cause an interference to the nervous system. This can affect the way the nervous system functions. As the nervous system controls everything in your body, there are many ways that a nervous system not functioning at its best may show up. In babies and children, some of the ways this can show up is incoordination, more trips, falls and accidents, poor sleep, slower development, and colic. The spine is also important as it is the centre of the structure of our bodies. It is important that the spine is looked after as your child grows as the spine can have an influence on what the rest of the body is doing. Any issues with the spine can also cause issues of the arms and legs, as well as all of the muscles that are attached to the spine. It is important for all children to have a strong foundation, so that their bodies can grow and develop to be strong and healthy. This article will outline how to look after your child’s spine and nervous system, so that their little bodies can be at their best.

The number one best way to look after your child’s spine and nervous system is to take them to a chiropractor. Chiropractors don’t just help with back pain and headaches, they are there to help with overall spine and nervous system function, whether there is pain there or not. Chiropractors are able to find areas of the spine that aren’t moving properly, and that may be causing interference to the nervous system, and are then able to gently adjust them, to restore proper motion of the spine and to allow the nervous system to flow properly. Having a well functioning nervous system will help with your child’s mental and physical development, and will ensure that they are able to grow into the best version of themselves. Chiropractic care also helps to look after their spine. Just because your child isn’t in any pain, doesn’t mean that their spine is in perfect condition. Children’s bodies are put through a lot of stress, and this can affect the health of their spine. This stress on their spine starts at birth, as no matter how they are born, a lot of force is placed on their little bodies, and this can cause misalignments in their spine. If these misalignments are left there, babies can have issues such as colic, not sleeping properly, constantly turning their head to one side, and not latching properly. The stress on their spines continues as they grow older. As they are learning to walk the will be constantly falling down. And there will always be falls and accidents as they play with friends, play sports, learn to ride a bike, and do everything else that kids do. Getting their spines adjusted by a chiropractor will correct these misalignments, and ensures the health of all the joints of the spine, as well as all the surrounding muscles and ligaments. This will help your child’s body stay strong and healthy as they continue to grow. The best part about chiropractic is that it is safe for all ages, right from when your child is born. The forces used on babies and children are extremely gentle, and is very different to how an adult is adjusted. It is very safe and effective, and the care is always tailored to the person that the chiropractor is seeing, meaning that as your child grows, the care that they receive will change with them, so that they are always getting adjusted in a way that’s best for them.

While chiropractic is the best thing you can do for your child’s spine and nervous system, here are some other ways to look after the health of your child’s spine and nervous system:

  • ♦ When your child is a baby, ensure that when you lift them up that you are supporting the back of their head and neck. Their heads are heavy, and the muscles and joints in their neck aren’t yet strong enough to support all of that weight.
  • ♦ Avoid using a bouncer when your child is a baby. Bouncers place a lot of excess stress on your child’s spine, which may cause misalignments in their spine, or sometimes can even cause an injury.
  • ♦ When your child is of school age, make sure they are wearing their backpack correctly. Carrying their bag on one shoulder can place uneven stress on the spine. Make sure that they are wearing both straps, and make sure their bag is no more than 15% off their body weight, as any more than this is too much force on their spines.
  • ♦ If you let your child go on a phone or iPad, make sure they are not sitting with their head hanging forward to look at it. This places a lot of stress on the joints and muscles in their necks and upper backs. The best way for them to go on their devices is to lay on their stomachs on the floor.
  • ♦ Make sure your child doesn’t sleep on their stomach with their head turned. This puts a lot of stress on the spine, and is a hard habit to break as an adult.
  • ♦ Make sure you child eats a healthy, balanced diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables, as this will help to ensure a healthy nervous system.

Infant Reflexes

Infant Reflexes that do not Integrate Successfully can Lead to Developmental Delays

 

Infant Reflexes and Developmental DelaysInfant Reflexes are involuntary movements due to a response to certain actions. These movements can occur spontaneously and as a part of the baby’s normal activity. The presence and strength of a reflex indicates the nervous system development and function.  Some reflexes occur only in specific periods of development. Many reflexes disappear as the child grows older, although some remain through adulthood. A reflex that is still present after the age when it would normally disappear can be a sign of brain or nervous system damage.  Healthcare providers check reflexes to determine if the brain and nervous system are working well in a growing child. These reflexes are mitigated by Central nerve system and brain stem. They inhibit in sequential order during first year.

 

Following are the reflexes seen in babies and what would they mean if they do not integrate successfully.

  • ♦ Blink and Acoustic Blink: Reacting to light, touch and noise.
  • ♦ Rooting: Present at birth and inhibited by 3-4 months. If it is retained, it indicates issues with eating solids, issue with language, poor manual dexterity while talking or chewing.
  • ♦ Palmer grasp: In this reflex, if an object is placed in the child’s hand it will curl its fingers around it. It is present at birth and inhibited by 2-3 months. If it is retained, it affects ability to hold objects and writing.
  • ♦ Planter grasp: In this reflex, toes curl around an object pressed against the bottom of the foot. It is present at birth and inhibited by 9 months or when starting to walk. If its retained it affects ability to walk.
  • ♦ ATNR: In this reflex, as a baby turns its head it will extend the arm and leg on the side of turn and flex the arm and leg on the contralateral side. It is present at birth and inhibited by 6 months. If it is retained, it indicates difficulty rolling, crawling, bringing hands to mouth. Later can cause scoliosis, poor hand/eye coordination, difficulty sitting at school.
  • ♦ Suspension: In this reflex, holding baby in vertical suspension at axilla. Gently lift then place feet on the table. Baby should not feel like it is going to slip out of your hands. At 3-4 months old the baby should try and weight bear by pushing down with its legs. This is the first postural reflex to appear. These reflex tests muscle tone and if it is delayed, it can affect walking.
  • ♦ Placing: In this reflex, holding baby vertically, touch the dorsum of the foot on the edge of a table, the baby will flex the knee and ‘place’ it’s foot on the top of the table. This reflex is present at birth and inhibited by 6 weeks to 3 months. It tests neurological integration and muscle tone.
  • ♦ Stepping: In this reflex, Soles of the feet are touched to a flat surface the reflex is to flex the knee and hip, looking like they are trying to walk. This reflex is present at birth and inhibited by 2 months. If it persists, it can be an indicator of Cerebral Palsy, leading to difficulty crawling. This reflex can reappear by 8-9 months as baby prepares for walking.
  • ♦ Plantar reflex- In this reflex, run your finger, pen or end of reflex hammer on the lateral side of the sole of the foot. Normal is for toes to flare. This reflex is present at birth and inhibited by 12-24 months as cortico-spinal tracts become myelinated. If it is retained, it can affect foot position, affect walking and balance. This can also lead to toe walking.
  • ♦ Galant- In this reflex, with the baby in the prone position stroke one side of the paraspinals, look for flexing of the hip towards that side. This reflex is present at birth and inhibited by 3-9 months. If it is retained, it can affect sitting still, if bilaterally stimulated will cause urination = bedwetting, sensitivity to clothing, irritation and reduced attention span due to irritation.
  • ♦ Moro- This response is for the unexpected stimulation or if they feel like they are falling. It is theorized it may have developed in human evolution to help the infant cling to its mother while she carried it around all day. If the infant lost its balance, the reflex caused the infant to embrace its mother and regain its hold on the mother’s body, this reflex is present at birth and inhibited by 2-5 months old. If it is retained, it can indicate Hypersensitivity to sudden noise, light or movement, anxiety, distractibility as has to pay attention to everything, adrenal fatigue, learning problems, motion sickness.

There are some postural reflexes which emerges during infancy and inhibits by 2years.  These reflexes include Landau, Symmetric Tonic neck, the righting reflexes, Parachute, clonus, lateral and posterior propping, cross marching and head lag. These reflexes assess muscle control, balance and crawling. If they do not integrate successfully, it can lead to learning disabilities, lack of coordination, inability or difficult to read, no concept of balance, clumsiness, stuttering, seeing or saying words backwards, dropping objects and tripping a lot.

These reflexes play major role in the development of gross motor, fine motor, language, cognitive, social skills. If the reflexes do not integrate properly, it simply indicates the dysfunction in nervous system development. Chiropractors are trained to perform gentle adjustments on the body to restore normal body and nervous system. The adjustment helps to aid the body to perform its function efficiently. Birthing is a complex process which can affect the development of your baby.  According to some studies, as much as 70lbs of pressure is being put on the baby’s head and neck during birth. This could injure the nerves and joints of the infant body as well as it can lead to slight misalignment in their vertebral column.  The adjustments help to relieve the pressure from the nerves and allow the body to perform its functions properly. Chiropractic care supports and strengthens the nervous system of the growing baby leading to a growing happy child.

All About the Nervous System

There is so much more to chiropractic than just helping with things like neck pain, back pain, or headaches. A big part of chiropractic is that it looks after the health of your nervous system. If you would like to know more about it and what it does, and how chiropractic can help with it, then have a read of this article.

What is the nervous system?

It  is essentially your body’s control system. It is a complex system made up of nerves and special cells called neurons, that transmit signals between all the different parts of the body. It carries all the motor and sensory information that your body needs to function. This system is arguably the most important part of your body, as everything else in your body relies on it to function. This system is what lets your heart beat and your lungs breathe.

All About The Nervous SystemIt is composed of two main parts, your central nervous system and your peripheral nervous system. The central system is made up of your brain and your spinal cord. Your brain is where all the information processing happens. Your brain receives information from your sensory organs and processes this information to interpret exactly what is happening in your environment around you. It also is in charge of sending information back out into the body about what the body needs to do. Every time you move your arm or your leg or blink your eyes, that is because your brain has sent out the signal for that to happen. It also sends out signals to control all the things you’re not aware of, like your heart beat and the digestive process. Your spinal cord is a long tubelike structure that extends out from the bottom of your brain. It extends from your brain stem down to the bottom of your spine. It carries all of the incoming and outgoing messages between your brain and the rest of your body.  In some cases there are messages processed in the spinal cord and sent back out to the body, at the same time as the message is sent to the brain. This is called a reflex arc. For instance if you put your hand on something really hot, you will automatically move your hand away from it before your brain has even registered that you have touched something hot. This is a protective mechanism, and just one of the things that your spinal cord is extremely important for.

The other part of it is the peripheral nervous system. This is everything else in the system that isn’t in the central. It is mostly made up of all of the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. These nerves then spread out and attach to every single little part of your body. These nerves carry the information to and from all of your organs, muscles, and skin. None of the processing of the information is done in the nerves, they are just in change of carrying the messages.

The peripheral system is divided into two main parts, the somatic and the autonomic. The somatic is what controls things that are conscious and/or voluntary. It carries sensory information from the body to the central system, and carries motor information from the central nervous system to the skeletal muscles in order for them to contract. When you move your arms or your legs, this is your somatic nervous system in action. The autonomic system is what controls those things that are outside of our voluntary control. It regulates our bodily functions such as our heart rate, breathing, and digestion.

The autonomic nervous system is then further divided into three main parts, the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the enteric nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system controls your body’s involuntary response to stressful situations. It controls your fight or flight response. When put into a stressful situation it will do things such as raise your heart and breathing rates, and direct more blood to your muscles, so you are physically ready to respond to whatever the threat is. The parasympathetic nervous system is essentially the opposite of this. It helps to return your body to its normal state, also known as the rest and digest state. The third part of the autonomic nervous system is the enteric nervous system. This is in charge of controlling gastrointestinal behaviour.

How does chiropractic help?

So you may be wondering where chiropractic comes into this. Because the nervous system runs directly through the spine, the two have a very close relationship. The spine is made up of lots of moveable segments, and when these segments stop moving properly, it can interfere with the nervous system and its ability to function at its best. It means that the messages being transmitted between your brain and body can not do so as effectively as normal. If your nervous system isn’t able to function at 100%, then neither is the rest of your body. This can cause issues such as clumsiness, low energy, lowered immune function, slower healing times, and pain. This is where chiropractic comes in. Chiropractors are able to find these areas of the spine that are not moving properly and are interfering with nervous system function. They then perform what is called a chiropractic adjustment. This is a fast, low force impulse into the affected area, usually with their hands, in a specific direction. This impulse is like a reset for the joint, and allows it to regain its normal motion. When all of the segments of the spine are moving normally, this allows for optimal nervous system function. When your nervous system is functioning well, then the rest of your body is able to work at its best. Chiropractic is essential if you want a healthy, well-functioning nervous system, and why wouldn’t you? It is the most important part of your body, so it pays to look after it well.

Types of Headaches

headacheA headache is a painful sensation in any part of the head. Headaches can produce many different types of pain, such as dull, sharp, or throbbing, and can also occur with other symptoms such as light sensitivity or neck pain. While headaches make it feel like your brain is hurting, this is not actually what is happening, as brains are unable to experience pain themselves. Instead your brain tells other parts of your body when they are feeling pain. Most headaches are pain in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles within your head and neck, not the actual brain itself. Headaches are horrible to deal with, so people will often take painkillers to stop feeling the effects of the headache. While this may help short-term, all this is doing is covering up the symptoms. Headaches are usually there due to an underlying issue, and your first step to getting rid of them should be to figure out what is causing them in the first place. There are many different things that can cause headaches, and many different types of headaches. In this article I will discuss a few of the most common types of headaches, so you can have a better understanding of what is going on with your head, and therefore how you can help it.

Headaches are separated into 2 categories; primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are when the pain in your head is the condition, and is not being caused by something else happening in your body. Secondary headaches are a symptom of something else that is happening in your body, such as an illness or an allergy.

Tension Headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and are a primary headache. Pain can range from mild to intense, and can cause pain behind the eyes, in your head, and down into your neck. A lot of people describe a tension headache as a tight band around their forehead. They can also cause tenderness in the head, neck, and scalp. In some cases they can also cause light and sound sensitivity. These headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and the neck, squeezing too hard on the head and causing pain. These headaches are often caused by stress, but can also be caused by things such as staring at a computer screen for too long, driving for too long, or not getting enough sleep. For this type of headache you need to identify what the trigger is and do what you can to prevent it. You may need to take more breaks from your computer screen, get more sleep, drink more water, make sure you’re getting enough to eat, or do what you can to reduce stress in your life.

Migraines: A migraine is a severe throbbing or pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Migraines are primary headaches. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last anywhere from hours to even days for some people. Migraines tend to be the most severe form of headache, and often the pain is so severe that it interferes with that person’s daily activities. People with migraines often get a warning sensation before the migraine starts, called an aura. An aura can consist of visual disturbances such as flashes of light or blind spots, or things like tingling in the face or in an arm or leg, or difficulty speaking. Migraines are still largely misunderstood, but it is thought that genetic and environmental factors play a role. For migraines there are many things that can trigger them, so you should aim to reduce these things and work out what the trigger may be. Possible triggers can be stress, not enough sleep, alcohol, caffeine, medications such as oral contraceptives, and foods such as cheeses, overly processed foods, and sweeteners. If you are not able to reduce your migraines through lifestyle changes, have a talk to your chiropractor or your GP to see how they can help.

Types of Headaches

Cervicogenic Headaches: Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that come from issues in the neck. These are secondary headaches. Cervicogenic headaches tend to start from the neck, come up into the back of the head, and then radiate towards the front of the head. These headaches can often be confused with tension headaches or migraines, as they can all experience neck pain. These headaches are caused by structural problems with the spine in the neck, which can also cause issues with the surrounding muscles. If you are suffering from cervicogenic headaches, the best person to go see is a chiropractor. Chiropractors are able to find the dysfunctions in your spine that are causing the headaches, and address them using chiropractic adjustments. This stops the cause of the headaches, rather than just covering up the symptoms with pain killers.

Hormone Headaches: Hormone headaches are headaches caused by fluctuations of your hormones, and are secondary headaches. A common cause of these is birth control pills. If you have started getting headaches since starting birth control pills, it may be a hormone headache, and you should talk to your GP about other options for birth control. Hormone headaches can also happen during menstruation. Things that can help with these include relaxation techniques, acupuncture, yoga, and eating a healthy diet.

Caffeine Headaches: Caffeine headaches are caused by caffeine consumption, and are a secondary headache. Caffeine affects the way blood flows to your brain, and having too much can put pressure on the blood vessels in the head, leading to a headache. If you are suffering from headaches due to your caffeine consumption, it is a very good idea to cut back. You may want to even consider stopping caffeine consumption completely. One thing you should be aware of if you do choose to stop drinking caffeine completely is that you can sometime get a caffeine withdrawal headache, if you choose to quit cold turkey. Caffeine affects your brain chemistry and your brain gets used to this, so if you suddenly stop drinking it, this can produce a withdrawal headache. This wont last for too long, and quitting from caffeine is definitely better for your health in the long run, but if these headaches make it too difficult to quit all at once, you can look at slowly reducing your caffeine intake over time.

 

 

 

 

Chiropractors & Misalignments

How does Chiropractora misalignment affect you and your health? & What’s the role of your structural chiropractor in all this?

 

⁣Here’s all you need to know about what misalignment is and does to the body and what a properly trained structural chiropractor can do about it.

When a bone is misaligned, it doesn’t have the proper motion and movement that it normally should have. Why is this important and what can a structural chiropractor do to improve your health? ⁣Well without a properly functioning joint, the muscles that surround that joint become useless, they also lose nerve connection to your brain. How? Let’s look at a couple of analogies to understand this. ⁣

  1. What happens to the muscles when you break a bone and have to put a cast around it to wait for the bone to repair? The muscles waste away right? They get smaller and weaker. Why? Because without joint activity and movement, muscles don’t need to do anything.⁣

So this is how muscles around a misaligned joint that don’t move properly lose their strength. They become weak and are therefore less support for your structure, creating abnormalities in your structure⁣

and posture and without the muscle support, you will damage joints, bursas, capsules, discs, nerves, and all that’s within them. ⁣

  1. Muscles and joints have mechano-receptors that send information up to your brain (via your nerves) so that your brain can alter its control of the body / make it more appropriate and better.⁣

⁣Without joint motion and muscle activity, these receptors also don’t work therefore the brain doesn’t have accurate information from the body therefore it does not control the body the best possible way. It’s use it or lose it for the brain, once it’s had a while of lack of proper connection to a part of your body, it will become more and more confused and creates more compensations in your body which causes tightness and stiffness in your muscles which can cause pain. Your pain may also be coming from repetitive trauma on your joints and all the structures within the joint because of lack of muscular support. ⁣

How can a structural chiropractor help?

With all that jazz happening… you end up with all these weak spots deep inside your body, and all these tightnesses and impingements on the surface which can feel better with some stretching, rolling, massage or any technique that releases tight muscles… but the weaknesses are left to cause more havoc inside your body for years to come until you see a structural chiropractor who not only just “cracks” your joints, they will  adjust your entire structure and body to support your spine as well as give you specific structural corrective rehabilitation to help your muscles and ligament actually remodel and get stronger and only then you have addressed the real cause of your imbalances and injuries. ⁣

Chiropractic & Breastfeeding

For many mum and babies breastfeeding can be a real challenge.

We know that about 80-90% of mum try to breastfeed at birth but by one week of age as few as half of mums are still exclusively breastfeeding. This figure continues to drop with only about 1% of mum exclusively breastfeeding when baby is 6 months old, which is the recommended time we should exclusively breastfeed for.
There are of course many reasons why mums give up on breastfeeding, from sore nipples to inadequate milk supply, or baby having issues with latching to suckling. All too often these problems lead to too much pain, or even breast infection and ultimately and understandably mum giving up on breastfeeding because it just gets too hard.

This is a real shame, because we know that breastfeeding is really important for babies health. We know that babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ear infections and tummy bugs, they’re even less likely to develop asthma and other conditions that can be life threatening.

It just goes without saying that nature knows best and that breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for infants.

So if someone is having issues with breastfeeding, what can they do about it? luckily help is available.

-Lactation consultants and other health professionals can really help mums and babies to overcome the breastfeeding issues.

-One health care profession that many mums turn to for help is their family chiropractor.

But why might a chiropractor help with breastfeeding? Well the answer is really simple. Chiropractors see babies to help improve the way their body and nervous system functions so that they can get the best possible start in life.

Revolution Chiropractic – Pregnancy & Child Chiropractors

To Schedule Your Appointment at Revolution Call 09 418 3718. You can also book online.

Revolution Chiropractic
Family Chiropractors
09-4183718
46 Lake Road, Northcote, Auckland

Muscle Cramps

What are muscle cramps?

Muscle CrampsThere are 3 different types of muscles in your body. There is cardiac muscle, which is what your heart is made out of, there is smooth muscle, which is what lines your blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, and some of your organs, and there is skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscles attach to your bones and contract in order to allow voluntary movements of your body to happen. Sometimes these skeletal muscles can contract involuntarily and forcefully, this is called a muscle spasm. If this muscle contraction sustains and does not relax, this becomes a muscle cramp. These muscle contractions are often painful. The most common area of the body to have muscle cramps is the muscles of the legs. The most likely muscles to crap are your quadriceps (thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and gastrocnemius (calf). While these are the most common, cramps can happen in any skeletal muscle. Other common places for cramps to occur are in the arms, hands, feet, and abdominal wall. If a cramp happens in your leg it can make it difficult to walk, and the pain of cramps can often wake people in the middle of the night.  In some cases there can also be a bulging lump of muscle tissue beneath the skin, that accompanies the pain of the cramp. There may be some twitching of the muscle. Muscle cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to over 15 minutes long. In most cases muscle cramps are harmless, however they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for the person experiencing them.

 

What causes muscle cramps?

There are many things that can cause muscle cramps to happen. These include:

  • ♦ Overuse of the muscle, usually due to exercising.
  • ♦ An injury. This could be directly to the muscle, or could be to a nerve or a disc, causing the surrounding muscles to spasm.
  • ♦ Excessive loss of fluids in the body / dehydration.
  • ♦ Low levels of minerals that contribute to healthy muscle function. These include magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium.
  • ♦ Low blood supply to the muscles, this usually happens when walking or exercising.
  • ♦ Physical deconditioning of the muscle.
  • ♦ An issue with the spine or spinal nerves, such as spinal nerve compression.
  • ♦ A medical condition. Some examples are kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, atherosclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.
  • ♦ Certain medications or supplements.
  • ♦ Poor posture.

How can chiropractic help with muscle cramps?

If you are suffering from regular muscle cramps, it is a good idea to talk to a chiropractor and see how they can help. There are many ways your chiropractor may be able to help you with your muscle cramps, these include:

  • ♦ Helping you figure out what is causing your cramps. The first step to stopping your cramps from happening is to figure out what is actually causing them in the first place. Chiropractors are very knowledgeable when it comes to health and how the body works, so they can work with you to figure out what be causing the cramps, so you can find a solution for them from there.
  • ♦ Improving muscle health. If your muscles aren’t functioning well and have a lot of extra stress placed on them, this is going to increase the chance of you having muscle cramps. Having misaligned joints throughout your body places excess stress on the muscles in that area, as they are having to do extra work to compensate for the misaligned joint. Too much stress on that muscle for a long period of time may cause it to start cramping. Chiropractors are able to locate these joint misalignments, and perform a chiropractic adjustment on them to get them moving in the proper way again. When the joint is moving properly it allows all the surrounding muscles to function properly, reducing the likelihood of muscle cramps happening.
  • ♦ Improving posture. Poor posture can place stress on the muscles in your body, and in some cases this can cause those muscles to start cramping. Poor posture happens due to weakness of the small stabilising muscles that surround your spine. They become weak due to lack of spinal movement. Chiropractors are able to locate the areas of the spine that aren’t moving properly and adjust them. This helps to get the spine moving again, and this movement helps to strengthen up those small spinal muscles. As those muscles get stronger, your posture will start to improve, which takes stress off of your bigger muscles. Less stress on these muscles will reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps happening. If you are wanting to improve your posture, it is a good idea to see a structural chiropractor, as they specialise in improving the structure of the spine and improving posture.
  • ♦ Improving nerve health. All of your muscles are controlled by nerves, that are in charge sending information to the muscles to make them contract or relax. If the nerves aren’t working at their best then they may be sending the wrong messages to your muscles causing them to contract when they shouldn’t be. Nerve health is largely influenced by spinal health, as the nervous system runs directly through the spine. Chiropractors are able to adjust the spine in order to improve the function of your nervous system, which will ensure that the nerves that connect to your muscles are functioning the way they are supposed to.
  • ♦ Injury recovery. It may be an injury that is causing your muscles cramps. Chiropractors are able to assist your body in healing your injury, whether it is an injury directly to the muscles, or to something else like a disc or a joint.
  • ♦ Exercise and stretching advice. Chiropractors can provide you with stretches and exercises to help with muscle health, which will reduce muscle cramps. They can also give you stretches to do when a muscle cramp is happening, to help the muscle relax and stop the cramp.
  • ♦ Other advice. Chiropractors can also provide you with other advice to help with your muscle cramps. This may be advice on supplements, what you are eating, and what to do during a cramp, such as applying heat to the muscle.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur due to the compression, injury or irritation of the nerves and/or blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the lower neck and upper chest area. This condition is named for the space (the thoracic outlet) between your neck and upper chest where this grouping of nerves and blood vessels is found.

In this condition, the brachial plexus and/or subclavian/ axillary arteries are compressed at various sites as they travel down into the arm. Cervical rib (C7), scalene muscle, costoclavicular area and sub- coracoid area (between coracoid and pec minor) are all possible sites of compression. This condition is common in athletes with repetitive overhead activities or shoulder activities. Post clavicle fracture deformity, AC joint degeneration, postural alterations, Playing a musical instrument, Post rib fracture and Congenital anomaly in region.

There are three types of Thoracic outlet syndrome: Arterial, venous compromise and neurogenic compromise. 90-95% of cases of TOS are due to venous compromise.

Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome

This condition is due to the abnormalities of bony and soft tissue in the lower beck region that compress and irritate the nerves of the brachial plexus, the complex of nerves that supply motor  and sensory function to the arm and hand.  The symptoms of neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome may include weakness of the hand, decreased size of hand muscles, tingling, prickling, numbness, and weakness of the neck, chest, and arms.

Venous thoracic outlet syndrome

This condition occurs due to the damage to the major veins in the lower neck and upper chest. It can develop suddenly and/or often after unusual and excessive exercise of the arms.  The symptoms may include swelling of the hands, fingers, and arms. As well as heaviness and weakness of the neck and arms. The veins in the anterior (front) chest wall veins also may appear inflamed (swollen).

Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome

This is the least common type of Thoracic outlet syndrome, but the most serious. It is caused by congenital (present at birth) bony abnormalities in the lower neck and upper chest. The symptoms may include cold sensitivity in the hands and fingers; numbness, pain or sores of the fingers; and poor blood circulation to the arms, hands and fingers.

The cause of this disorder is unknown. When the blood vessels and nerves in the tight passageway of the thoracic outlet are abnormally compressed, they become irritated. It can also be a result of an extra first rib, an old fracture of the clavicle that reduces the space for the vessels and nerves. Bony and soft tissue abnormalities are among the many other causes.

Causes and Risk

The following may increase the risk of developing thoracic outlet syndrome due to sleep disorders, Tumours or large lymph nodes in the upper chest or underarm area.

Stress or depression. Sports that involves repetitive arm or shoulder movements, such as baseball, swimming, volleyball, and others.

Repetitive injuries from carrying heavy shoulder loads, Injury to the neck or back (whiplash injury), Poor posture and Weightlifting.

Thoracic outlet syndrome is diagnosed by performing a complete physical exam and reviewing the results of diagnostic tests.  A thorough evaluation by neurologist may also be recommended to rule out any cervical spine disease or other neurological conditions that may cause those symptoms. Physical examination may include thorough postural assessment, orthopaedic tests e.g. Adson, modified Adson, wrights test, Eden, east test to rule out the type of TOS present.

Additional tests may include Nerve conduction studies, Vascular studies, Chest X-rays to rule out cervical rib abnormalities, Cervical spine X-rays to rule out a cervical rib or cervical spine abnormalities, Computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging of the chest, spine to rule out cervical spine impingement, which can mimic neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, Magnetic resonance imaging with angiography to view blood vessels, Arteriogram/venogram and Blood tests.

Complications of Thoracic outlet syndrome may include Permanent arm swelling and pain. Ischemic ulcer of the fingers, Gangrene, Blood clot. Pulmonary embolism and Neurogenic complications such as permanent nerve damage.

Treatment

Treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome may include physical therapy, chiropractic care, medications, surgery. The role of physical therapy and Chiropractic care is to increases the range of motion of the neck and shoulders to strengthens muscle and promote better posture. Most patients experience an improvement in symptoms after undergoing physical therapy.  Medication may include aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin).

If nonsurgical treatment wont relieve symptoms, doctor may offer surgery which involve removing a portion of an abnormal first rib, releasing a muscle that joins the neck and chest, or sometimes both.

For chiropractic care, we will begin with your health history following up with orthopaedics, neurological testing and spinal exam.

These tests will help to create a baseline of your spinal function and to any neurological and musculoskeletal condition. Your Chiropractor will focus to find, analyze and correct the joint misalignments in your spine. It will help to strengthen the weakened muscles focusing more towards your cervical and thoracic spine.

This process will ultimately stabilize your spine and correct any joint dysfunction present.

If  you know anyone experiencing symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, contact your Chiropractor and start your journey towards healthy living.

Degenerative disease (Arthritis)

Arthritis, like other degenerative diseases occurs when the joints in your spine and/or the rest of the body begins to wear away.

This condition is most common in older adults and can cause symptomatic pain in the localized affected area either the lower back, neck, wrist, shoulder, etc. It leads to anatomical changes and loss of normal function of joints in the spine. It may result from abnormal mechanical forces (e.g. occupational stress, obesity) or previous joint stress (trauma, rheumatoid arthritis). Degeneration can occur in any part of the human body joints e.g. spine, shoulder, wrist, etc.

This condition is most common in older adults and can cause symptomatic pain in the localized affected area either the lower back, neck, wrist, shoulder, etc. It leads to anatomical changes and loss of normal function of joints in the spine. It may result from abnormal mechanical forces (e.g. occupational stress, obesity) or previous joint stress (trauma, rheumatoid arthritis). Degeneration can occur in any part of the human body joints e.g. spine, shoulder, wrist, etc. To be specific in the spine, it can be an involvement of disc (degenerative disc disease), facet (facet arthrosis) and uncinate processes (uncinate arthrosis). Degeneration can be asymptomatic, but it can cause local pain to the area. It usually occurs insidiously with a history of repetitive stress and/or neck trauma.

Signs and Symptoms

Patients usually mention that long term of inactivity, movement or cold weather makes the condition worse. Lifting or adding stress also worsens the condition. Heat and rest help to alleviates the symptoms. It is usually common in the age of over 50 years old causing dull, achy and stiffness after period of inactivity.

In this condition, an individual can go through postural changes e.g. loss of the curve or increase in thoracic (upper back & mid back) curve. The motion of the spine can be restricted due to the less mobility in the joint. Orthopedic test can also be performed to confirm the diagnosis which may include Cervical distraction, Cervical foraminal compression, Jackson’s, Maximum cervical compression test, modified Spurling’s test and shoulder depression test which may lead to local neck pain indicating degeneration in the cervical spine.

Standing kemp’s test and goldwait’s test may indicate local pain in the back which indicates lumbar and lumbar spinal degenerative disease.

Degeneration can also occur in other part of the body. It typically affects the shoulder, wrist, ankle, knee and hip joint destroying the smooth outer covering of bone. During movement, the bones of the joint rub against each other, causing pain. There are five major types of degeneration/arthritis affecting the extremity joints.

1. Rheumatoid arthritis: a chronic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body. It is symmetrical, meaning that it usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body e.g. both wrists, feet and shoulder. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks its own tissues. In RA, the defenses that protect the body from infection instead damage normal tissue (such as cartilage and ligaments) and soften bone.

2. Post traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that develops after an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation of the shoulder or other joint.

3. Rotator cuff tear arthropathy (specific for shoulder): Arthritis can also develop after a large, long-standing rotator cuff tendon tear. The torn rotator cuff can no longer hold the head of the humerus in the glenoid socket, and the humerus can move upward and rub against the acromion. This can damage the surfaces of the bones, causing arthritis to develop.

4. Osteoarthritis: wear-and-tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is a condition that destroys the smooth outer covering (articular cartilage) of bone. As the articular cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases.

5. Avascular necrosis: Avascular necrosis (AVN) is a painful condition that occurs when the blood supply to the bone is disrupted. Avascular necrosis develops in stages. As it progresses, the dead bone gradually collapses, which damages the articular cartilage covering the bone and leads to arthritis.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms of arthritis/degeneration include is pain. As the disease progresses, any movement of the joint e.g. neck, shoulder, knee and hip movement causes pain. Night pain is also common which may affect the sleep. Other symptoms may include limited range of motion affecting their daily lifestyle. A grinding, clicking or snapping sound may also be heard from the joint.

Diagnosis:

A physical examination will be performed where your health Practioner will look for any weakness, tenderness signs of previous injuries, perform thorough orthopedics and neurological assessment. In terms of radiographic imaging, Degeneration can be diagnosed with the help of x-rays. Osteophytes (extra bone growth can be seen around each vertebra end plate). There is reduction in the disc height in between each vertebra, the joints get blunt and the ligaments starts to thicken in the spine. These features indicate the presence of degeneration in the spine. Medical managements may include NSAID’s, facet joint infection, physical therapy, occupational therapy, lose weight, surgery and stem cell therapy.

Management:

Initial treatment usually involves rest or change in activities. Physical therapy exercises may improve the range of motion of the spine and extremities. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may help relieve pain. Surgical treatment may also be considered if the degeneration causes disability and severe pain is experienced. These may include Arthroscopy, steroid injection etc.

In terms of Chiropractic management, there are no absolute restrictions to the treatment provided. Your chiropractor will moderate the technique and force according to your (patient) tolerance. Chiropractor focus on the relationship between the spine and nervous system. Since spine can get affected by the daily physical repetitive stresses, it may also alter the biomechanics of the spinal and extraspinal structures such as the cranial or extremities bones, can lead to the altered neural signal being sent to the spine or vice- versa.

This altered state of the spine can interfere with the neurological function, affecting homeostatic balance which may symptomatically and adversely affect the individual’s health. Adjusting the spine or correcting the biomechanics helps to restore and improve the overall function. It helps to relieve the pain and increase the mobility in the joint. Chiropractic care is not limited to any individual with any age and condition present. If you or anybody you know you may get benefit from Chiropractic care, get in touch with your nearest Chiropractor and start the journey towards the healthy living.

Pregnancy & Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is based on the theory of alterations to the biomechanics of the spinal and extraspinal structures such as the cranial or extremities bones, can lead to the altered neural signal being sent to the spine or vice- versa. This altered state of the spine can interfere with the neurological function, affecting homeostatic balance which may symptomatically and adversely affect the individual’s health. Adjusting the spine or correcting the biomechanics helps to restore and improve the overall function. Chiropractic care is not limited to any individual with any age and condition present. It is becoming quite popular in pregnant women in terms of their specific pregnancy related health concerns, such as back or neck pain. In this blog, I will talk about the physiological and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, benefits of Chiropractic care and what to expect during your appointment.

Physiological changes

During pregnancy, these are the common changes that happen which include changes in the spinal curve, increase in cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis, increase in ligament laxity, tightness in back extensor muscles, reduction in skeletal muscle tone, tight hamstring stretching, additional weight in breast may cause downward traction, stretching of uterus ligament, abdominal muscles may stretch and separate, weight of the baby constantly increase which can change the centre of gravity, Pelvis misalignment leading to hip joints to rotate internally, lumbricals weakening, tight tender Achilles and foot arch dropping. Ribs increase in diameter by up to 10cm and rib attachment angles flatten. Joints of the body can become unstable as they widen. In terms of Cardiovascular system, during pregnancy cardiac output increased about 30-50%, stroke volume increased about 10-15%, pulse increases about 15-20 bpm and systolic ejection murmur and S3 heart sound is common in 90% of population. There is normally a fall in blood pressure during the second trimester (5-10mmHg systolic and 10-15 mmHg diastolic) and then returns to normal during the third trimester. In terms of hematologic system. Plasma volume increases by about 50% and platelet count decreases. Respiratory system increases the inspiratory capacity by 5% and tidal volume by about 30-40%. It is common to experience the symptoms of bladder irritability, frequency and nocturia, urinary tract infection due to changes in progesterone hormone which slows down the smooth muscle contraction and the urine get retained. During pregnancy, there is also increase in kidney size and weight as well as bladder becomes an intra-abdominal organ.

In terms of gastrointestinal system, pregnancy hormones also affect the smooth muscles which slows down the digestive process. Stomach is usually displaced and squashed by the uterus as it rises which can cause reflux, nausea and/or constipation. In terms of reproductive changes, the uterus weight increases from 70gram to 1100 gram and blood flow increases by about10-15%. There is an increase in water content, vascularity and cervical mucous secretion in the cervix. It is common to have chloasma (dark, blotchy brown patches of skin) due to the oestrogen stimulating melanin production. Having the spine checked by a chiropractor helps ensure that your pelvis is sitting correctly and allows for optimum room for your baby to grow and move. It Maintains and improves the function of your spine with chiropractic adjustments throughout your pregnancy helps to clear your nerve system of interference. This allows you to be as healthy as possible enabling your body to more easily combat many of the physical hurdles of pregnancy. The reason of joint misalignment or altered neural signal may include weight gain, hormonal changes and alterations of the supporting structure of the joint, previous physical trauma may have altered the biomechanics of the spine and become more pronounced during pregnancy, Lifestyle factors and level of exercise, Number of previous pregnancies and status of pelvic musculature, Changing posture – increased lumbar lordosis, anterior head carriage compensating for lumbar changes and Rib cage – + 10cm diameter.

Common health complaints during pregnancy

The common complaints that are experienced during pregnancy include Nausea and vomiting, Constipation, Heartburn/reflux, Varicose veins and haemorrhoids, Headaches, Edema/swollen ankles, Back Pain, Faintness and light-headedness, Breast tenderness, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Urinary Tract Infections, Anaemia, Hip pain especially when sleeping and Pelvic instability – most common 22-26 weeks

Physical examination

Chiropractor will review your health history by asking questions around current presentation, previous pregnancies, lifestyle choices, health history, previous chiropractic care and screening for red/yellow flags including any contraindications. After a thorough health history examination will be performed which may include range of motion, posture, orthopaedic test, abdominal physical exam and any other regional system if required.
Modifications to the treatment will be made if required. These modifications include using pregnancy pillows, table with drop pieces, pillows to support tender breast, place under leg or between knees when side lying. There are several Chiropractic techniques that may help to address the joint misalignment in the spine. Activator method, drop-assist, Thompson, diversified are few to list. Your Chiropractor will moderate the force and depth accordingly to the patient’s presentation.

Recommendations of spinal care during pregnancy

These are the following recommendations which should be utilized to minimize the risk of joint dysfunction. Do not Don’t try and sit up from lying using your abdominal muscles – roll on to your side and push up with your arm. Relax your knees when standing. Let others lift heavy items for you. Try to minimize carrying toddlers. Avoid twisting – i.e. when getting out of the car turn your whole body and place both feet on the ground. Avoid remaining in one position too long. Set up your workstation to accommodate for each stage. Keep your pelvic floor strong by doing Kegel exercises. Regularly moving, stretching and eating healthy. Smiley belt can also be utilized to stabilize the spine while doing any lifting e.g. picking up laundry or toddlers.

If you or anybody you know who may get benefits from chiropractic care while they are pregnant, get in touch with your nearest Chiropractor and start the journey towards the healthy living.