Recently, there have been a few parents who have brought their infant children into our office for assessment and chiropractic treatment because the babies were not feeding well or were very fussy when feeding. It is important to stress that chiropractic care is modified for infants to ensure safety and efficacy.
Breastfeeding seems like the most natural thing in the world, but it is true that some children struggle to maintain secure latching, have especially prominent reflux symptoms, exhibit distress when turning to one side only, or have colic and other symptoms. Breastfeeding is often a learning process for both mother and child. Even though it may be difficult, breastfeeding is considered so important for baby's health that it is worth getting to the cause of why breastfeeding is difficult, rather than simply abandoning it for bottlefeeding. Bottle feeding is indeed sometimes appropriate for some families, but it should not be used merely because breastfeeding is difficult at first.
Sometimes your baby might have trouble turning her head to one side because of a simple joint problem in the neck, or because of a tightened muscle on one side, or because of a traumatic birth process. Sometimes children have difficulty latching because of a tongue-tie, neck muscle constriction, or reflux. The baby cannot tell the parent that he is in pain, but parents are always able to tell when something just isn't right.
Many of these problems can actually be addressed in the chiropractor's office. Some reflux symptoms can be treated by gently modified chiropractic adjustments to the baby's midback. Some neck joint problems can be successfully treated by very gently adjusting the baby's neck or simply applying pressure to certain areas of the body.
Chiropractors have known for decades how effective infant adjusting can be. Now, it appears that some of the evidence is being collected in the medical literature. The evidence is limited, but it points to positive results correlating chiropractic adjustments and improved breastfeeding. There are not yet enough clinical studies to (in research language) definitively show that chiropractic adjustments can help babies breastfeed better, but if you were to talk to the parents of the babies that recently visited my office, you'd hear the same thing.
I'd encourage all breastfeeding parents to read the original article. If some of the symptoms mentioned in the article apply to your family and your situation, you may want to consider having a chiropractor assess and/or treat your baby. Please also check out the positive reviews of Johnson Family Chiropractic as written by patients of our office.
Back pain is one of those mysterious pain conditions that can come seemingly out of nowhere and prevent you from living a full life. What is back pain? Where does it come from?
Although back pain can sometimes be caused by internal organs referring their pain to the skin, or caused by direct trauma or injury, back pain usually indicates a very different type of pain altogether. This is because pain nerves can alert you to an active problem, but they can also send pain signals to the brain if the body believes that it is unstable.
Most back pain is not due to acute injury, but rather instability. If the low back does not think that it is capable of bearing the load of the body itself, it will send pain signals to the brain in order to tell the body about the problem. When the brain interprets the pain, your body will react accordingly. You might stop your motion or you might lay down, and in both cases you have relieved the back of its sudden load. The pain signals have done their job: they've alerted you to a problem.
This is why so much low back pain results from the simple act of bending over. Bending over does not cause acute injury or a ligament tear, but it does increase the load on your spinal discs and muscles by a very large amount. If the back believes itself to be unstable, then it will tell you, and you will feel back pain. This is why so many patients will say, "I was just bending over to pick up something from the floor, and it wasn't even heavy. Why do I hurt?" You hurt because your back doesn't think it's strong enough to continue.
This is why, when a patient has back pain, often nothing definitive can be seen on an X-ray or MRI. If there is no structural problem, nothing will be positively identified on imaging. Sometimes doctors will even say, "Nothing seems to be wrong." The bones are fine, the muscles are fine, the nerves are fine... but something is still wrong. Or, even worse, "You might just be imagining the pain." No, the pain is very real, and the question is: What is wrong? Answer: The perceived stability of your low back.
In this case, the best thing you can do for your back is to continue to strengthen it, and continue to use it. This advice sounds counterintuitive, because normally when we feel pain we think it's best to rest. However, we need to strengthen and stabilize unstable backs, and this requires work, effort, and normal motion.
This understanding of back pain and its origins has been around for the last twenty years or so, but it is starting to make an impression on the medical community. Fox News reports that a new book is out with much of this information, as well. I have not read the book and cannot review it, but this news article contains solid information:
Many Americans try to alleviate back pain with prescription pain medications, which can lead to dependence and other health problems. [Neurosurgeon Dr. Patrick] Roth believes taking pain medication may cause more harm than good.
Also, make sure you visit your chiropractor in Peoria, particularly if you are already susceptible to low back pain. The chiropractic adjustment can help to stabilize your back by adding proper motion to the joints in the region. If you did nothing, the back pain might go away on its own, yes, but the recurrence rate for low back pain is higher than for any other condition. It is likely that the low back pain will return, partly because the conditions that made the back unstable are still present and have not yet been resolved. Remember that the absence of pain does not mean that the condition is gone.
Your Peoria chiropractor can also advise you on the best exercises for your back, given your age and physical abilities. You don't have to go through low back pain on your own, and it certainly isn't all in your head.
As we continue to embark upon a future into a world that is continually full of brand-new synthetic chemicals, it is important to continue to bear in mind that we simply don't know yet how all of these new chemicals affect our bodies. New drugs are manufactured and marketed each year. Is there any link between medications and the recent explosion in food allergies? What about the hormones present in contraceptives that are flushed into our drinking water supply every day? Does this sudden outburst of chemicals have any effect on public health?
A fascinating story from PBS, entitled "The Complicated Question of Drugs in the Water", examines current and potential problems that occur from pharmaceuticals that cannot be completely filtered by our current water treatment plants. You really should read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt:
Scientists think that the main way that the vast majority of pharmaceuticals get into the wastewater is through disposal. The vernacular for many years was to flush unwanted medications down the toilet, and many people still do that despite updated federal guidelines that now advise people to either take unused drugs to a collection site or mix them with kitty litter or coffee grounds and put them in the trash. (The only exception to this are narcotic pain relievers and other hazardous substances.) But even with these guidelines, plenty of medications still end up in sewers, wastewater treatment plants, and, to some degree, back our water supplies.
The takeaway point is to be sure to be responsible with the pharmaceutical drugs in your possession and to dispose of them properly.
Often, patients know that they feel better after a chiropractic adjustment, but it's hard to put into words why they feel better. Sometimes patients will say "I feel taller" because they are able to stand with better posture. Sometimes patients will say "I feel looser" because their muscles feel more relaxed. Sometimes patients simply say "I feel better."
The real gauge of how much better you feel after chiropractic care, though, is how much you can do. If there were activities that you could not perform before care, can you now perform them better after care? The improvement in these Activities of Daily Life (ADLs) is a wonderful benchmark for assessing how well patients respond to care.
ADLs are especially important in older patients. These patients, who tend to have Medicare as their primary insurance, also tend to have more degenerative conditions and age-related restricted range of motion than younger patients. For older patients, simple tasks can be much more difficult because of arthritic joints or subluxated spines.
The good news is that, according to a new study that examined Medicare data, chiropractic care may provide protection against further decline in ADLs when compared with medical care. This means that if an older person is receiving chiropractic care, the odds are greater that he will still be able to reach over his head without upper back or shoulder pain, or that she will be able to reach down into her garden without low back pain.
From the study:
...we observed a protective effect of chiropractic against declines in ADLs, IADLs, and declines in self-rated health. [snip]
For your information:
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Safety Alert indicating that the benefits do not outweigh the risks when more than 325 mg of acetaminophen is taken per dose. This can also be interpreted to mean that if, for example, you are taking acetaminophen at home in 100 mg tablets, you should take care not to exceed the recommended dosage or the recommended time limits. Although acetaminophen has long been considered a "safe" drug, serious risks of liver failure and death do apply.
Here's an excerpt from the Safety Alert. But please, do read the whole thing.
In January 2011 FDA asked manufacturers of prescription combination drug products containing acetaminophen to limit the amount of acetaminophen to no more than 325 mg in each tablet or capsule by January 14, 2014. FDA requested this action to protect consumers from the risk of severe liver damage which can result from taking too much acetaminophen. This category of prescription drugs combines acetaminophen with another ingredient intended to treat pain (most often an opioid), and these products are commonly prescribed to consumers for pain, such as pain from acute injuries, post-operative pain, or pain following dental procedures.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, PC, proudly located in Peoria, IL.