It is very common for children to experience ear infections. In fact, 80% of children experience an ear infection by the age of 3. Because of this, most parents believe this is normal and there is not much we can do about it.
Im here to tell you, COMMON does not mean NORMAL.
So WHY do children get ear infections? Most pediatricians will agree that its because your child's eustachian tube (the tube that drains the ear into the back of the throat) is just more horizontal during childhood, and there's nothing you can do other than wait it out or prescribe antibiotics. This follows the belief that ear drainage is dependent on gravity.
Let me ask you one question. Could you do a headstand and swallow? Hopefully your answer is yes, because it is possible to do a headstand and swallow. Which leads us to the understanding that GRAVITY, actually has little to do with drainage of the ears. Drainage of the ears is much more dependent on muscle, soft tissue and lymphatic function than it is on gravity. So this means, we need the muscles of the eustachian tube to be able to 'milk and massage' fluid out of the ears.
OK... so.... how the heck do we do that?
Let me just back track for a minute. How your child sat in your womb and how your child was born is the first area of stress on their delicate spine and nervous system. THAT, along with any bumps and falls or less than ideal positions they are frequently in (for example; does mom carry baby with his head bent to the side all day long?) can be a major cause for stress in the child's upper spine.
This can lead to bad plumbing of the ears! A small muscle called the Tensor Veli Palentini is attached to the eustachian tube and is responsible for opening the tube in order to equalize pressure and allow the middle ear to drain into the back of the throat. Structure and function in the neck need to be working properly in order for this muscle to do its job.
So, when this muscle is NOT doing its job, fluid gets caught in the ear and can't drain as well. Let me just say this is not an infection yet. BUT, when that fluid sits in the ear, it is a breeding ground for bacteria or virus'. NOW you have an ear infection.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends a 'watch and wait' approach before administering antibiotics. This means we should not be handing out antibiotics at the first sign of every ear infection, because most of the time they go away on their own, and most of the time they are actually viral instead of bacterial.
Sometimes though, they DO NOT go away on their own, and they continually come back antibiotic after antibiotic. This is where we recommend getting the child's spine and nervous system checked for subluxations so that the child's drainage system can return to proper function. In this case, we are NOT treating the ear infection. We are treating the spine, and by removing stress in the spine, we can expect the body to function like it was designed to do.
If your child is struggling with chronic, recurring ear infections, please call our office (or find a pediatric chiropractor in your area) so we can help you!
Back to school is here! Lets take a few minutes to protect our children's backs and assure proper backpack use.
Recent studies have estimated that children carry backpacks that are 40-50% of their total body weight! Carrying a backpack that is too heavy or carrying it improperly can lead to added stress on the child's muscles and spine leading to injury or future problems.
Lets take a few minutes to prevent that! Here are a few tips you can use to give your child and their backpack a good fit!
1) Assure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5-10% of their total body weight.
2) The backpack should sit at the correct height and should never sag more than 4 inches below the waistline.
3) Encourage your child to wear their backpack using BOTH straps. Using only 1 strap distributes the weight unevenly and can lead to major neck and back strain.
4) Wide padded straps are important! They help disperse the weight of the backpack and provide extra comfort to the shoulders.
5) Adjustable straps allow you to fit the backpack to your child's body. This also allows for continued use as they grow.
6) Purchase small-medium sized backpacks. The more room in the backpack the more your child will carry. If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher to see if some of the heavier books can be left at school.
Please use these guidelines to protect your child's spine! If you're concerned that your child's backpack is affecting his/her body negatively, please call us for a free backpack check and spinal consultation. We're happy to help!
Breastfeeding is a tough job and it's important to be supported throughout the process. The first month is full of challenges that can cause a new mom to give up on breastfeeding. I want to offer some insight as a chiropractor on some of these challenges. Let me first say I am not an expert at breastfeeding nor am I wanting to replace professional advice from a lactation consultant or your doctor. My insight comes strictly from the paradigm that babies should innately feed from the breast, and if not, what is interfering with that intelligent process? Chiropractic has been known to help babies feed better when certain challenges arise, and when I hear "I tried everything possible to breastfeed", I wish they'd had more information.
So, let's cover some of the reasons moms feel like they cannot successfully breastfeed that I believe can benefit from chiropractic specifically.
1. My baby will not latch
I hear this ALL the time, and it saddens me when a mom wants to breastfeed and has to give up that dream bc her baby won't latch.
I like to think about things in our primal days. How would a healthy baby be born with no ability to feed? Before bottles and formula were invented? A baby under normal circumstances, SHOULD instinctually know how to latch and suckle, and if they don't, we need to ask why.
The biggest question I would ask would be... how was the birth process? I'll go over this in more detail in a separate article but generally speaking, the birth process can be rough on a baby's fragile spine and nervous system. Then add forceps, vacuum and even c-section in the mix and you have yourself lots of added stress on a babies spine and nervous system. So here's the thing, in order to effectively latch, suckle and remove milk from the breast, a baby's head and neck must be free of interferences so that the muscles of the jaw can perform this task effectively. So, before you give up hope with a not so good latch, get your baby checked by a pediatric trained chiropractor! Besides allowing baby to effectively latch, chiropractic for babies will remove the stress and tension from the birth process and improve immune function and digestion/gut function, along with so many more benefits.
Breastfeeding Difficulties Resolve After Chiropractic
Birth Induced TMJ Dysfunction: The Most Common Cause of Breastfeeding DifficultyChiropractic Evaluation and Treatment of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction in Infants Demonstrating Difficulty Breastfeeding
2. I wasn't producing enough milk
So there may be many reasons mom isn't producing enough milk, but the one I'm going to briefly go over correlates with what we just talked about. If your baby is not removing milk from the breast, your body is not going to produce it. So it's important babies latch is effective at removing milk for your body to be producing. Another reason why a check after birth by a pediatric trained chiropractor is crucial and important.
I would also highly recommend you visit with a lactation consultant to help with the baby's latch and learn more in regards to latching and breastfeeding, etc!
3. My baby was allergic to my milk
There's tons of information out there you can learn more about allergens in the milk from dairy, soy, corn, wheat, etc.. and breastfeeding diet, I'm just here to offer support. If you're breastfeeding and you cut out that allergen from your diet, then your baby is no longer allergic to your milk. Trust me, I've been there. Playing with dairy, soy, etc.. trying to figure out what you're doing wrong to make your baby gassy... it's frustrating and it's not easy! But if giving your child the beautiful gift of breast milk is important to you, you will jump through many colorful hoops to make that possible.
Also, remember when I said chiropractic improves gut and digestive function in a baby (really an individual of ANY age). Your babies fussiness and gassiness could be improved though chiropractic. When that stressful birth process interferes with your babies vagus nerve, located in their upper neck, you have the potential to have a gassy/colicky baby on your hands.
4. My nipples hurt!
Yes, I get this one. Those first 2 -4 weeks are rough! I dreaded every latch because it hurt so bad. In this case, the pain should get better as baby gets more experienced with breastfeeding. If not make sure you take measure to fix the latch (i.e. See a Chiropractor and Lactation consultant!!) This one DOES get better.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, even when no struggles exist! You may try everything in the books and still be unsuccessful in breastfeeding. Every experience is going to be different but I want to make sure moms have the most information before they transition to formula.
Make sure you have a good support team to help you through. Have your significant other help you by keeping your water bottle full (breastfeeding makes you extra thirsty!) and helping prepare food for you, and just grabbing things you forgot before you sat down to feed baby.
Contact a pediatric chiropractor to assure baby's spine and nervous system is functioning optimally. See a lactation consultant if you're having any other issues.
Other great resources:
La Leche League
Seriously mommas, you got this and you rock.
Fall has arrived and with the change in season comes the returning threat of "seasonal" illnesses like colds and flus. Have you ever wondered why there is such a thing as "seasonal" illness? Why would viruses and bacteria only come around during the fall and winter months? They don’t - this is a MYTH!
The truth is that we are exposed to viruses and bacteria every day of our lives; the thing determining who gets sick and who stays well is NOT the presence of the viruses or bacteria – it is the state of our IMMUNE FUNCTION. In other words it is not the seed it is the soil. This has been shown to be true many times, perhaps one of the best known studies was by Cohen et al. in 1991 where they exposed ALL subjects to the cold virus but only those who were "stressed" developed a cold! (Cohen, S. et al. Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold. N. Engl. J Med 1991 Aug 29; 325 (9); 606-612).
The state, or fitness, of our immune system is influenced by two main variables. The first is the amount of stressors in our lives; and thus the amount of neurobiochemical down-regulation of our immune system via our sympathetic nervous system and stress hormones - i.e. cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline).
Increased stressors in our lives causes a genetic down regulation of our immune system and also drives a switch away from Th1 (cellular) immunity toward Th2 (humoral) immunity. Th2 immune dominance is associated with more allergies and atopic disorders such as eczema and asthma. (Elenkov et al. The Sympathetic Nerve - An Integrative Interface between Two Supersystems: The Brain and the Immune System Vol. 52, Issue 4, 595-638, December 2000).
Clearly the amount of stress in our lives is NOT SEASONAL, this is why many people still get colds and flus in the summer months. So why do MORE people get colds and flus in the fall and winter months? What is a seasonal variable that can explain a significant change in our immune function? Vitamin D! (Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Oct;135(7):1095-6; author reply 1097-8.)
Humans require sunlight exposure to produce Vitamin D and during the fall and winter months we simply reduce the amount of sun exposure and thus reduce the amount of Vitamin D. Why is this important? Because a sufficient level of Vitamin D is ESSENTIAL to maintain immune function! This is the second variable that influences the state, or fitness, of our immune system – being sufficient in the raw materials our immune system requires to function properly.
Vitamin D is required to turn on or activate the innate immune system; it up-regulates the genetic expression of effectors that are used to attack viruses, bacteria and other antigens or invaders. In addition to the vital role that Vitamin D plays in immune function it is also essential for the control of insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, inflammation, and blood coagulation and this is why Vitamin D deficiency is a significant causal factor in cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, asthma, and diabetes. (Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? IntJ Epidemiol. 1980 Sep;9(3):227-31.; Cantorna MT. Vitamin D and its role in immunology: multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. ProgBiophysMol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):60-4.; Wang TJ, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2008 Jan 29;117(4):503-11.)
So, during the fall and winter months (and the rest of the year when we are inside or covered with clothing or sunscreen outside) we simply do not get enough sun exposure to produce enough Vitamin D. This vitamin D deficiency leads to reduced immune function and thus makes us more susceptible to colds and flus. REMEMBER, most industrialized humans do not get enough sun exposure even in the summer months. This has led to a pandemic of Vitamin D deficiency and increases in cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and recurrent colds and flus.
So what should we do? What is the best solution? How do we best ensure we and our loved ones are sufficient in Vitamin D? It’s EASY. Supplement with Vitamin D Drops!
What else can we do? Well, the two variables that influence immune function are stress levels and whether or not we are sufficient in Vitamin D and other essential nutrients!
Here are some simple steps to keep you healthier not just during the winter but all year, and all life, long.