Dr. Steve Kreutz
CONTACT US: (425) 353-1011

Most people do not realize how much they move their neck during the day until they are unable to do so. The degree of flexibility of the neck, coupled with the fact that it has the least amount of muscular stabilization and it has to support and move your 14 - 16 pound head, means that the neck is very susceptible to injury. You can picture your neck and head much like a bowling ball being held on top of a stick by small, thin, elastic bands. It doesn't take much force to disrupt that delicate balance.

The spinal cord runs through a space in the vertebrae to send nerve impulses to every part of the body. Between each pair of cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck! Symptoms in the arms can include numbness, tingling, cold, aching, and "pins and needles".

These symptoms can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands that is often found in people who work at computer keyboards or perform other repetitive motion tasks for extended periods. Problems in the neck can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back, ringing in the ears, otitis media (inflammation in the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion and chronic tightness in the neck and upper back.

We associate the neck and upper back together, because most of the muscles that are associated with the neck either attach to, or are located in, the upper back. These muscles include the trapezius, the levator scapulae, the cervical paraspinal muscles and the scalenes, as well as others.

The Causes of Neck and Upper Back Pain

Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, chiropractic subluxations, stress, and in some instances, disc problems.

Injuries

By far, the most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, either backward, forward, or sideways, that results in the damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whether from a car accident, sports, or an accident at work, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take weeks or months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as injured as you really are. Too often people don't seek treatment following a car accident or sports injury because they don't feel hurt. Unfortunately, by the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent. Numerous studies have shown that years after whiplash victims settle their insurance claims, roughly half of them state that they still suffer with symptoms from their injuries. If you have been in a motor vehicle or any other kind of accident, don't assume that you escaped injury if you are not currently in pain. Get checked out by a good chiropractor.
Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of neck pain, and sometimes headaches, is poor posture. It's easy to get into bad posture habits without even realizing it - even an activity as "innocent" as reading in bed can ultimately lead to pain, headaches, and more serious problems. The basic rule is simple: keep your neck in a "neutral" position whenever possible. Don't bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods. Also, try not to sit in one position for a long time. If you must sit for an extended period, make sure your posture is good: Keep your head in a neutral position, make sure your back is supported, keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, and rest your arms if possible.

Subluxations

Subluxations in the neck and upper back area are extremely common due to the high degree of stress associated with holding up your head, coupled with the high degree of instability in the cervical spine. Most subluxations tend to be centered around four areas: the top of the cervical spine where it meets the skull; in the middle of the cervical spine where the mechanical stress from the head is the greatest; in the transition where the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meet; and in the middle of the thoracic spine where the mechanical stress from the weight of the upper body is greatest. Signs of subluxation include looking in the mirror and seeing your head tilted or one shoulder higher than the other. Often women will notice that their sleeve length is different or that a necklace is hanging off center. If someone looks at you from the side they may notice that your head sits forward from your shoulders. This is known as FHP - forward head posture - and is very common for people who are stooped over their computers all day long. Subluxations are a debt to the body. If they are not taken care of soon after they occur, then they can get much worse over time due to the accumulation of compounding interest.

Stress

When most people become stressed, they unconsciously contract their muscles. In particular, the muscles in their back. This 'muscle guarding' is a survival response designed to guard against injury. In today's world where we are not exposed to physical danger most of the time, muscle guarding still occurs whenever we become emotionally stressed. The areas most affected are the muscles of the neck, upper back and low back. For most of us, the particular muscle affected by stress is the trapezius muscle, where daily stress usually leads to chronic tightness and the development of trigger points.

The two most effective ways you can reduce the physical effects of stress on your own are to increase your activity level - exercise - and by deep breathing exercises. When you decrease the physical effects of stress, you can substantially reduce the amount of tightness and pain in your upper back and neck.

Disc Herniations

The discs in your cervical spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine through that area. Although cervical discs do not herniate nearly as often as lumbar discs do, they occasionally can herniate, especially when the discs sustain damage from a whiplash injury. Contact us today!

Regular chiropractic care, eating a healthy diet, taking vitamin supplements, keeping your weight under control and stress management are all part of an overall wellness lifestyle that, if followed, results in a longer, healthier and pain-free life.  Here are a list of basic tips to help you maintain a healthier, more vibrant body.

Regular Chiropractic Care

The chiropractic approach to healthcare is holistic, meaning that it addresses your overall health.  Numerous studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports injuries and many other types of musculoskeletal problems.  It has even been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure, decreasing the frequency of childhood ear infections (otitis media) and improving the symptoms of asthma.

Chiropractic is so much more than simply a means of relieving pain.  Ultimately, the goal of the chiropractic treatment is to restore the body to its natural state of optimal health.  In order to accomplish this, chiropractors use a variety of treatment methods, including manual adjustments, massage, trigger point therapy, nutrition, exercise rehabilitation, and massage, as well as counseling on lifestyle issues that impact your health.  Since the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself and to maintain its own health, my primary focus is simply to remove those things which interfere with the body's normal healing ability. 

Chiropractors understand that within each of us is an innate wisdom, a health energy, that will express itself as perfect health and well-being if we simply allow it to.  Therefore, the focus of chiropractic care is simply to remove any physiological blocks to the proper expression of the body's innate wisdom.  Once these subluxations are removed, health is the natural consequence.

Just like continuing an exercise program and eating well in order to sustain the benefits of exercise and proper diet, it is necessary to continue chiropractic care to ensure the health of your musculoskeletal system.  When you make routine chiropractic care a part of your lifestyle, you avoid many of the aches and pains that so many people suffer through, your joints will last longer and you will be able to engage in more of the activities you love.

Many years ago, dentists convinced everyone that the best time to go to the dentist is before your teeth hurt - that routine dental care will help your teeth remain healthy for a long time.  It is important to remember that, just like your teeth, your spine experiences normal wear and tear - you walk, drive, sit, lift, sleep and bend.  Regular chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier throughout your lifetime.  Although you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care even if you are only treated for a short time, the real benefits come into play when you make chiropractic care a part of your lifestyle.

Maintain Good Posture

Poor posture creates a lot of stress on your spine and chronic muscle tension, leading to pain and stiffness.  This happens because the weight of your upper body must be supported by your back muscles instead of the bones of your spine.  The further your posture deviates from normal, the greater the stress on your back and the more pain that you will experience.

To illustrate this idea, think about carrying a briefcase.  If you had to carry your briefcase with your arms outstretched in front of you, it would not take long before the muscles of your shoulders would be completely exhausted.  This is because carrying the briefcase far away from the center of your body places an undue stress on your shoulder muscles.  If you held the same briefcase down at your side, your muscles would not fatigue as quickly because the briefcase is closer to the center of your body and the weight is, therefore, supported by the bones of the skeleton, rather than the muscles.

A simple exercise to improve your posture is called the Wall Posture Exercise.  To do this exercise, simply find a flat wall.  Rest your back against the wall and scoot your heels, shoulders and head back until the touch the wall.  Holding this posture, step away from the wall and try to hold this posture as long as you can while you go about your day.

Reduce Your Stress

Modern life is full of pressure, stress and frustration.  Worrying about your job security, being overworked, driving in rush-hour traffic, arguing with your spouse - all these create stress. According to a recent survey by the American Psychology Association, fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives and two-thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress.

You may feel physical stress as the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet or the effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental: when you worry about money, a loved one's illness, retirement, or experience an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work.

However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures which are both physical and mental are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.

After decades of research, it is clear that the negative effects associated with stress are real.  Although you may not always be able to avoid stressful situations, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the effect that stress has on your body.  The first is relaxation. Learning to relax doesn't have to be difficult. You can learn about specific techniques for stress reduction in the Stress Reduction section of this website.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Most people know that excessive body weight contributes to the development of a number of conditions, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.  However, it may also be a major contributing factor for the development of low back pain.  The spine is designed to carry a certain amount of body weight.  When it is exposed to the excess pressure of being overweight, the spine becomes stressed and, over time, can suffer structural damage.  Being overweight significantly contributes to symptoms associated with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), degenerative disc disease (DDD), spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.

In addition to back pain, those who are overweight may suffer from fatigue, as well as difficulty breathing and shortness of breath  during short periods of exercise.  If the fatigue and shortness of breath causes one to avoid activity and exercise, then this can indirectly lead to back pain as lack of exercise contributes to many common forms of back pain.

If you are currently overweight and suffer from low back pain, talk to your doctor about effective ways to lose weight.  Not only will your back pain improve, but you will decrease your risk of most major degenerative diseases at the same time.

Sleep on a Good Mattress

Good health and sleep are closely linked. Just as we improve our eating habits for better health, we should also improve our sleep habits.  Sleep debt is a costly problem in our society, both fiscally and physically.  Sleep should be a priority and not just a negotiable need determined by our busy schedules.  Good sleep not only reduces costly back problems but also helps to prepare us for a more productive, alert and safe day ahead.

Here are some tips to help you select the proper mattress for you:

• Personal preference should ultimately determine what mattress to purchase.  Any mattress that helps someone sleep without pain and stiffness is the best mattress for that individual. There is no single mattress that works for all people with low back pain. 
• Find a mattress with sufficient back support to reduce low back pain.  A good mattress should provide support while allowing for the natural curves and alignment of the spine.  Medium-firm mattresses usually provide more back pain relief than firm mattresses. 
• Know when it's time to get a new mattress.  If an old mattress sags visibly in the middle, it is probably time to purchase a new one. Putting boards under a sagging mattress is only a short-term fix and may cause more back problems and low back pain in the long run.
• Be wary of mattress advertising gimmicks. Claims that a mattress is "orthopedic" or "medically-approved" should be viewed skeptically.  There has not been extensive medical research or controlled clinical trials on the topic of mattresses and low back pain.  You must determine whether or not extra features on a mattress make it more comfortable or supportive for your back.

Wear Orthotics

Orthotics are custom fitted inserts that you place into your shoes to keep your feet functioning correctly. Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you stand, walk, or run. And they help protect your spine, bones, and soft tissues from damaging stress as you move around. Your feet perform better when all their muscles, arches, and bones are in their ideal stable positions.

The foot is constructed with three arches which, when properly maintained, give exceptional supportive strength. These three arches form a supporting vault that distributes the weight of the entire body.  If there is compromise of one arch in the foot, the other arches must compensate and are subject to additional stresses, which usually leads to further compromise.

By stabilizing and balancing your feet, orthotics enhance your body's performance and efficiency, reduce pain, and contribute to your total body wellness. Since the average person spends almost two-thirds of their day in shoes, it's important to make sure that they provide optimal support.  One popular brand of orthotics is Foot Levelers.  Foot Levelers orthotics support all three arches in your feet, thereby creating a stable foundation upon which to build proper body posture.

Drink More Water
Water is the single-most abundant nutrient in the body, accounting for around 60% - 65% of your total weight.  It is also the least forgiving of all the nutrients you consume.  You can survive for weeks without food, but for only a couple of days without water.  Water is responsible for the transport of nutrients, oxygen and waste products, as well as for regulating your body temperature and serving as the medium in which all of your body's chemical reactions take place.  Most people do not drink enough pure clean water.

Drinking an adequate amount of clean water every day is one of the most overlooked, but simplest ways of keeping your body healthy.  Water is used to help the body cleanse itself of toxins and metabolic waste.  Although drinking water has become more popular over the past several years, many people still do not consume enough water.  Instead, they drink coffee, tea, juices and soft drinks and figure that they get enough fluids.  It is true that when you drink these things you are consuming water.  However, along with the water, you are also consuming a lot of other stuff that the body will need to ultimately eliminate, so the potential beneficial effect of the water is somewhat negated.  To make matters worse, drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, actually cause more water loss than the amount of water they contain, resulting in a net loss of water.

Ideally, the average person should consume around ten cups of water per day, or just over a half gallon.  Some of this water is found in the food and beverages you consume, so you don't have to drink an entire half-gallon of water every day.  An easy way to accomplish this is to buy a 1.5 liter bottle of water from the local grocery store and to drink that amount of water every day.  If you exercise heavily, you may have to drink two of those 1.5 liter bottles of water each day.  By drinking enough water, you will be helping your body to remain healthy.  It is by far the cheapest health insurance you can buy. 

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

People know that they should eat more fruit and vegetables in their diet, but most people don't do it.  It seems lately that the four major food groups of the American diet have gone from dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains, and meat to sugar, fat, salt and caffeine.  Because of the easy availability of fast foods and snack foods, we have lost our taste for fruits and vegetables; especially vegetables.  It is not uncommon for many people to go for weeks without consuming a single serving of fresh vegetables.  This is not good.

The human body evolved with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and is dependent on many of the compounds unique to plant foods in order to operate correctly.  If you don't consume enough of these plant compounds, your energy level will suffer along with your overall health.  Most people are shocked at how much better they feel when they cut down on the fast foods and snack foods and increase their fruit and vegetable intake. 

If you find it difficult to work in several servings of fruits and vegetables into your routine every day, you may find it helpful to supplement your diet with what is called a "greens" supplement, which is a highly concentrated powder of fruits, vegetables and antioxidants.

Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is an important way to improve your overall health.  The key is to make it part of your lifestyle - to make it a new habit.

Cut Down on Sugar

In a recent study done by the USDA, it was reported that the average American consumes 134 pounds of refined sugar every year, or approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.  As hard as this may be to believe, consider the following facts:

• A 12 oz. can of Pepsi™ contains 10 teaspoons of sugar
• A 2 oz. package of candy contains 11 teaspoons of sugar
• A 16 oz. cup of lemonade contains 13 teaspoons of sugar
• A cup of Frosted Flakes™ contains 4 teaspoons of sugar

This high level of sugar intake is very unhealthy and contributes to obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease due to elevated triglycerides, kidney stones, dental caries, chronic tiredness and reactive hypoglycemia.  Decreasing your sugar intake is as simple as avoiding foods which are high in refined sugars, such as soft drinks, candy, cake and donuts, as well as most condiments.  When you purchase sweetened food, look for products that are sweetened with apple juice or stevia, rather than sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

Take a Multivitamin

Many people don't think that they need to take vitamin supplements because, after all, the human body did not evolve to need supplements - as long as you eat a balanced diet, you can get everything that your body needs, right?  While it is certainly true that people living a thousand years ago did not have multivitamins, they also did not have thousands of tons of toxic chemicals being pumped into their environment every year; they were not exposed to a constant man-made electromagnetic field from power lines and cell phones; they did not eat highly processed foods that contained artificial colors, flavors and preservatives; they were not sedentary; and they were not under constant stress at work and at home.  Our bodies were simply not designed for a fast-paced, high-stress, highly processed lifestyle.

The reality is that we need to give our body some help in order to stay healthy in the world today.  That's where supplements come in.  Supplements help to ensure that your body gets all of the extra vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and probiotics necessary to function the way it should.  You can find more information about the importance of vitamins on this site.

Get Into the Light

One of the most important nutrients for your mind and body speeds toward you at 186,000 miles per second from more than 93 million miles away. This nutrient is called sunlight. Most people don't think of sunlight as a nutrient, but it is. Sunlight is necessary for regulating proper hormone function, calcium absorption, bone health as well as a normal daily sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). In fact, if you don't get enough sunlight in your daily 'light diet,' you can suffer deficiency symptoms, such as:

•  seasonal depression (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder)
•  poor quality of sleep
•  a loss in work performance (especially in night-shift workers)
•  disrupted melatonin regulation
•  depressed cortical brain activity
•  depressed immune function

Unfortunately, the light to which most of us are exposed each day comes from manmade sources,  such as fluorescent, sodium and incandescent lights that do not produce full-spectrum sunlight.  Numerous studies have shown that these limited-spectrum artificial light sources can make students irritable in school, reduce production among factory workers and make office workers sluggish. In one study, researchers even found that calcium absorption dropped off in the elderly who spent their days indoors during the winter, while those who spent time under full-spectrum lighting had an increase in calcium absorption.

Getting enough full-spectrum light can give your mood a tremendous boost.  Light can help reduce stress, help you feel happier and improve your ability to concentrate.  To make sure that you are getting enough light in your diet, doctors recommend the following tips:

•Try to spend at least 15 minutes outside every day; even when it's very cloudy. The full-spectrum daylight is still beneficial to your health.
•Begin using a light box during the fall and winter seasons, especially if you tend to get the winter blues.
•  Stop wearing sunglasses as they create very unnatural light for your eyes. Sunglasses should only be worn when you need to protect your eyes from physical harm or very bright light.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is currently the number-one killer of adults in the United States.  This is unfortunate because most heart disease is caused by poor lifestyle choices.  The four big lifestyle changes you can make to ensure to maximize the health of your heart are exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, taking a high quality vitamin supplement and stopping smoking. 

Just as exercise is important to the health of your neuromusculoskeletal system, it is also critical to the health of your heart.  When you regularly exercise, your body becomes much more efficient at using oxygen and burning calories and your blood pressure is normalized.  This decreases the stress on your heart.

Another easy way to reduce the stress on your heart is to decrease the amount of body fat you carry around.  It takes approximately one mile of additional blood vessels to supply one pound of additional fat.  If you are twenty, thirty or fifty pounds overweight, it is easy to see how that extra body fat can place an undue burden on your heart.

Vitamins E and C and folic acid are the three most important nutritional supplements to take for your heart.  Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant which helps to prevent the cholesterol in your blood from becoming oxidized.  High cholesterol levels in the blood, per se, are not that big of a deal.  Cholesterol only becomes dangerous when it interacts with an oxidizing radical.  Vitamin E helps to prevent this.

Vitamin C is important to help strengthen the walls of the arteries and prevent the development of cholesterol plaques inside the coronary arteries.  Did you know that the arteries that are the most likely to develop cholesterol deposits are the ones that are close to the heart?  The reason is that when the heart contracts, it pushes blood out with a great degree of force.  If the walls of the arteries which are closest to the heart are not as strong as they should be, they will tend to momentarily stretch out like a balloon and cause small tears to the inside arterial wall as the rush of blood from the heart passes by.  These small tears serve as a place where platelets and cholesterol form deposits.  High levels of vitamin C reduce the number of tears in the arteries by strengthening the collagen tissues around the arteries, keeping them from expanding too much as blood pulses through.

The third vitamin which is important is one of the B-vitamins called folic acid.  Folic acid, also called folacin, is important for reducing the level of homocysteine in the blood.  Homocysteine is a metabolic by-product which can contribute significantly to the development of heart disease.  So, when you take your multivitamin while you are on your way to do your exercises, make sure that it contains at least 400 IU of vitamin E, at least 500 mg of vitamin C (1000 is even better) and 40 mcg of folic acid.

Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, you are sick of hearing this, but….  it is REALLY important that you stop smoking!  Smoking throughout the day is akin to living inside a burning building.  Smoking degrades the collagen of your skin, causing premature wrinkling, destroys the cells inside your lungs, promotes heart disease, cataracts and cancer because of the oxidizing radicals released into the blood stream.  It can also contribute to back pain by dehydrating the spinal discs. 

Bone is a living tissue dependent on the functions and support provided by the other body systems. When these systems are not able to perform normally, bone is unable to rebuild itself. The formation of bone is particularly influenced by physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of harmful substances, such as carbon monoxide. In addition, nicotine causes a constriction of the small blood vessels that feed your spinal discs, shutting down their nutrient supply.  Over time, the loss of normal blood supply leads to your discs becoming dehydrated and they begin to degenerate.  Smoking is also known to cause an increase in estrogen loss in women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal, which can result in a loss of bone density and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

There is no question that it is difficult to quit smoking.  Many people who have quit say that it was the hardest thing they have ever done.  But it is not impossible.  People do it all the time.  If you currently smoke and want to quit, there are a number of effective medical programs that can help you.  Some people have also found complimentary therapies, such as hypnosis, to be helpful in quitting smoking. Contact us today!

Modern life is full of pressure, stress and frustration.  Worrying about your job security, being overworked, driving in rush-hour traffic, arguing with your spouse - all these create stress. According to a recent survey by the American Psychology Association, fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives and two-thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress.

You may feel physical stress as the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet or the effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental: when you worry about money, a loved one's illness, retirement, or experience an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work.

However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures which are both physical and mental are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.

The Stress Response

Often referred to as the "fight-or-flight" reaction, the stress response occurs automatically when you feel threatened.  Your body's fight-or-flight reaction has strong biological roots.  It's there for self-preservation. This reaction gave early humans the energy to fight aggressors or run from predators and was important to help the human species survive.  But today, instead of protecting you, it may have the opposite effect.  If you are constantly stressed you may actually be more vulnerable to life-threatening health problems.

Any sort of change in life can make you feel stressed, even good change.  It's not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters.  What may be stressful is different for each person.  For example, one person may not feel stressed by retiring from work, while another may feel stressed. 

How stress affects your body

When you experience stress, your pituitary gland responds by increasing the release of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). When the pituitary sends out this burst of ACTH, it's like an alarm system going off deep inside your brain.  This alarm tells your adrenal glands, situated atop your kidneys, to release a flood of stress hormones into your bloodstream, including cortisol and adrenaline.  These stress hormones cause a whole series of physiological changes in your body, such as increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, shutting down your digestive system, and altering your immune system.  Once the perceived threat is gone, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your bloodstream decline, and your heart rate and blood pressure and all of your other body functions return to normal. 
If stressful situations pile up one after another, your body has no chance to recover. This long-term activation of the stress-response system can disrupt almost all your body's processes.  Some of the most common physical responses to chronic stress are experienced in the digestive system.  For example, stomach aches or diarrhea are very common when you're stressed. This happens because stress hormones slow the release of stomach acid and the emptying of the stomach. The same hormones also stimulate the colon, which speeds the passage of its contents.

Chronic stress tends to dampen your immune system as well, making you more susceptible to colds and other infections. Typically, your immune system responds to infection by releasing several substances that cause inflammation.  Chronic systemic inflammation contributes to the development of many degenerative diseases.

 Stress has been linked with the nervous system as well, since it can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and dementia. Over time, the chronic release of cortisol can cause damage to several structures in the brain.  Excessive amounts of cortisol can also cause sleep disturbances and a loss of sex drive. The cardiovascular system is also affected by stress because there may be an  increase in both heart rate and blood pressure, which may lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Exactly how you react to a specific stressor may be completely different from anyone else.  Some people are naturally laid-back about almost everything, while others react strongly at the slightest hint of stress.  If you have had any of the following conditions, it may be a sign that you are suffering from stress: Anxiety, Insomnia, back pain, relationship problems, constipation, shortness of breath, depression, stiff neck, fatigue, upset stomach, and  weight gain or loss.


After decades of research, it is clear that the negative effects associated with stress are real.  Although you may not always be able to avoid stressful situations, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the effect that stress has on your body.  The first is relaxation. Learning to relax doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some simple techniques to help get you started on your way to tranquility.

Relaxed breathing

Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you're stressed? Stress typically causes rapid, shallow breathing. This kind of breathing sustains other aspects of the stress response, such as rapid heart rate and perspiration. If you can get control of your breathing, the spiraling effects of acute stress will automatically become less intense. Relaxed breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help you.

Practice this basic technique twice a day, every day, and whenever you feel tense. Follow these steps:
•Inhale. With your mouth closed and your shoulders relaxed, inhale as slowly and deeply as you can to the count of six. As you do that, push your stomach out. Allow the air to fill your diaphragm.
•Hold. Keep the air in your lungs as you slowly count to four.
•Exhale. Release the air through your mouth as you slowly count to six.
•Repeat. Complete the inhale-hold-exhale cycle three to five times.

Progressive muscle relaxation

The goal of progressive muscle relaxation is to reduce the tension in your muscles. First, find a quiet place where you'll be free from interruption. Loosen tight clothing and remove your glasses or contacts if you'd like.

Tense each muscle group for at least five seconds and then relax for at least 30 seconds. Repeat before moving to the next muscle group.
•Upper part of your face. Lift your eyebrows toward the ceiling, feeling the tension in your forehead and scalp. Relax. Repeat.
•Central part of your face. Squint your eyes tightly and wrinkle your nose and mouth, feeling the tension in the center of your face. Relax. Repeat.
•Lower part of your face. Clench your teeth and pull back the corners of your mouth toward your ears. Show your teeth like a snarling dog. Relax. Repeat.
•Neck. Gently touch your chin to your chest. Feel the pull in the back of your neck as it spreads into your head. Relax. Repeat.
•Shoulders. Pull your shoulders up toward your ears, feeling the tension in your shoulders, head, neck and upper back. Relax. Repeat.
•Upper arms. Pull your arms back and press your elbows in toward the sides of your body. Try not to tense your lower arms. Feel the tension in your arms, shoulders and into your back. Relax. Repeat.
•Hands and lower arms. Make a tight fist and pull up your wrists. Feel the tension in your hands, knuckles and lower arms. Relax. Repeat.
•Chest, shoulders and upper back. Pull your shoulders back as if you're trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Relax. Repeat.
•Stomach. Pull your stomach in toward your spine, tightening your abdominal muscles. Relax. Repeat.
•Upper legs. Squeeze your knees together and lift your legs up off the chair or from wherever you're relaxing. Feel the tension in your thighs. Relax. Repeat.
•Lower legs. Raise your feet toward the ceiling while flexing them toward your body. Feel the tension in your calves. Relax. Repeat.
•Feet. Turn your feet inward and curl your toes up and out. Relax. Repeat.

Perform progressive muscle relaxation at least once or twice each day to get the maximum benefit. Each session should last about 10 minutes.

Listen to soothing sounds

 If you have about 10 minutes and a quiet room, you can take a mental vacation almost anytime. Consider these two types of relaxation CDs or tapes to help you unwind, rest your mind or take a visual journey to a peaceful place.
•Spoken word. These CDs use spoken suggestions to guide your meditation, educate you on stress reduction or take you on an imaginary visual journey to a peaceful place.
•Soothing music or nature sounds. Music has the power to affect your thoughts and feelings. Soft, soothing music can help you relax and lower your stress level.

No one CD works for everyone, so try several CDs to find which works best for you. When possible, listen to samples in the store. Consider asking your friends or a trusted professional for recommendations.

Exercise

Exercise is a good way to deal with stress because it is a healthy way to relieve your pent-up energy and tension. It also helps you get in better shape, which makes you feel better overall.  By getting physically active, you can decrease your levels of anxiety and stress and elevate your moods.  Numerous studies have shown that people who begin exercise programs, either at home or at work, demonstrate a marked improvement in their ability to concentrate, are able to sleep better, suffer from fewer illnesses, suffer from less pain and report a much higher quality of life than those who do not exercise.  This is even true of people who had not begun an exercise program until they were in their 40s, 50s, 60s or even 70s.  So if you want to feel better and improve your quality of life, get active!

During pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity shifts forward to the front of her pelvis. This additional weight in front, causes stress to the joints of the pelvis and low back. As the baby grows in size, the added weight causes the curvature of her lower back to increase, placing extra stress on the fragile facet joints on the back side of the spine. Any pre-existing problems in a woman's spine tend to be exacerbated as the spine and pelvis become overtaxed, often leading to pain and difficulty performing normal daily activities.

Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This is especially true during the third trimester when the baby's body gains the most weight. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the pain and discomfort frequently experienced in pregnancy, and creates an environment for an easier, safer delivery. It is one safe and effective way to help the spine and pelvis cope with the rapid increase in physical stress by restoring a state of balance. In fact, most women have found that chiropractic care helped them avoid the use of pain medications during their pregnancy, and studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help to reduce time in labor. Your  chiropractor should be your partner for a healthy pregnancy. They can provide adjustments, as well as offer nutritional, ergonomic and exercise advice to help address your special needs.

Chiropractic tips for pregnant women:

Be sure to get adjusted regularly. Chiropractic care is important to help maintain a healthy skeletal structure and nervous system function throughout a pregnancy and childbirth.

Do some gentle exercise each day. Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling are relatively safe cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women. Avoid any activities that involve jerking or bouncing movements. Stop exercise immediately if you notice any unusual symptom, such as nausea, dizziness or weakness.

Wear flat shoes with arch supports. Your feet become more susceptible to injury during pregnancy, partially due to a rapidly increasing body weight, but also because the ligaments that support the feet become more lax.

When picking up children, bend from the knees, not the waist. Your low back is much more prone to injury during pregnancy.

When sleeping, lay on your side with a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back. Full-length "body pillows" or "pregnancy wedges" are very popular and can be helpful.

Eat several small meals or snacks every few hours, rather than three large meals per day. This will help alleviate nausea, stabilize blood sugar and allow your body to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the foods that you eat.

Take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day; 800 micrograms is even better. Folic acid has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of neural tube defects in a developing fetus. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement to make sure it's safe for you and the baby.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by mood swings, swollen abdomen, headaches, back pain, food cravings, fatigue, irritability or depression in the days before a woman's monthly period. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating and may last from a couple of days to two weeks.

It has been estimated that three of every four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome, and it is more likely to trouble women from their late 20s to early 40s. Between 10-20% of all women experience symptoms that are severe or even disabling.

PMS is thought to be a side effect of hormonal changes during the monthly menstrual cycle and can be made worse by stress, decreased serotonin levels in the brain and subluxations in the low back.

Although chiropractic care cannot fix the way your body responds to the hormonal changes that preceed menstruation, several studies have shown that it can help decrease many of the symptoms of PMS without the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Since the nerves that exit the low back are responsible for regulating all of the tissues in the lower abdomen, any pressure or irritation that can be alleviated through chiropractic care can be helpful. Contact our chiropractor.

The term "pinched nerve" is somewhat of a catch-all phrase that is commonly used to describe the pain associated with a variety of conditions from subluxations, to tunnel syndromes to the referred pain from trigger points.

Most of the time, what is called a pinched nerve is actually an irritated, or inflamed nerve where the nerve itself is not actually pinched. In most cases, nerves become irritated and inflamed when the bones, joints or muscles of the spine are not in their proper position, or are not moving properly. This condition is called a "subluxation", the treatment of which is the specialty of the doctor of chiropractic.

There are instances when nerves do become 'pinched', such as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Sciatica and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In each of these cases, injury, spasm or inflammation of the surrounding muscles and connective tissue causes the nerve to become compressed, resulting in pain. These conditions are referred to as "tunnel syndromes." Treating tunnel syndromes is more complex than treating a simple spinal subluxation, but they usually respond very well to chiropractic care; especially when combined with other physical therapies, such as exercises and stretches.

Trigger points are very tight "knots" of muscle that form when muscles are either chronically overworked or injured, and are often experienced as a pinching or burning pain. Trigger points will commonly cause pain that radiates to other parts of the body, which is also known as referred pain. The successful treatment of trigger points usually requires a combination of chiropractic care, stretching and a form of deep tissue massage called 'trigger point therapy.'
It is very important that the cause of any form of pain be properly diagnosed. This is especially important when nerves are affected as severe or long term irritation, or compression, of a nerve can lead to permanent nerve damage. If you have been told that you have a "pinched nerve" it is very important that you seek professional care from a doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible. Contact us today!

The word  fibromyalgia comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia). Fibromyalgia syndrome is chronic disorder which includes widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points that affects 3-6 million people in the United States. For reasons that are unclear, more than 90% of those who develop fibromyalgia are women. It is not currently known whether the predominance of women who suffer from fibromyalgia is a phenomenon of the socialization of women in the American culture or whether it is some combination of the female reproductive hormones and other genetic predispositions.

According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), fibromyalgia is defined as a history of pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting more than 3 months. Pain in all four quadrants means that you have pain in both your right and left sides, as well as above and below the waist. The ACR also described 18 characteristic tender points on the body that are associated with fibromyalgia. In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a person must have 11 or more tender points. In addition to pain and fatigue, people who have fibromyalgia may experience:
•sleep disturbances
•morning stiffness
•headaches
•irritable bowel syndrome
•painful menstrual periods
•numbness or tingling of the extremities
•restless legs syndrome
•temperature sensitivity
•cognitive and memory problems (sometimes referred to as "fibro fog")

Fibromyalgia is often confused with another condition called "myofascial pain syndrome" or "myofascitis." Both fibromyalgia and myofascitis can cause pain in all four quadrants of the body and tend to have similar tender point locations, but the two conditions are worlds apart. Myofascitis is an inflammatory condition due to overuse or injury to your muscles, whereas fibromyalgia is caused by a stress-induced change in metabolism and healing. Myofascitis tend to come on rather suddenly and is usually associated with a particular activity or injury, true fibromyalgia has a slow, insidious onset, usually beginning in early adulthood. It is very important to diagnose each of these correctly, for they require very different approaches to treatment. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time - possibly a lifetime. However. it won't cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs.

 

The Basics of Fibromyalgia

The latest research indicates that fibromyalgia is a stress-related condition that is a cousin in Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (often referred to as simply 'lupus') and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In all three of these conditions, there is the same predominantly female distribution, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, irritable bowel, as well as many other similarities. You can think about these three conditions as lying on a continuum with Fibromyalgia on one end, Lupus on the other and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the middle. All three of these conditions are caused by an abnormal stress response in the body, but with Lupus, the immune system is primarily affected, causing an autoimmune reaction that attacks your healthy tissues. On the other end of the spectrum is fibromyalgia, where metabolic abnormalities are primary. These metabolic changes are the result of a stress-induced decrease in blood flow to an area of the brain called the pituitary. This, in turn causes a decrease in a number of important hormones, such as the growth hormone releasing hormone (somatotropin) and the thyroid stimulating hormone. These hormonal changes lead to abnormal muscle healing, borderline or full-blown hypothyroid, as well as memory and cognitive changes.

One of the major physical abnormalities that occurs with fibromyalgia lies in the muscle itself, where there is a build up of a protein called "Ground Substance." Ground substance is normally found in muscle, bone and connective tissue all over the body and is responsible for making the tissues stronger and less susceptible to tearing. In a normal person, when a muscle is injured, the muscle tissue itself is able to regenerate and over time, completely heal itself. In a person with fibromyalgia, the muscle is unable to completely heal itself. Instead, an abnormally large amount of ground substance builds up in the injured area. It is the ground substance, coupled with local muscle spasm it creates that creates the muscle 'knots' associated with fibromyalgia.

A number of tests may be done to rule out other disorders and an examination can reveal whether a person has the characteristic tender areas on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, or knees. Unlike its cousin lupus, there are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia. Because there are no clinical tests for fibromyalgia, some doctors, unfortunately, conclude that a patient's pain is not real, or they may tell them that there is little they can do. But a combination of chiropractic, trigger point therapy, and lifestyle changes has proven to be very effective in decreasing the severity and duration of the physical pain and disability of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is. Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, utilizing chiropractic care, trigger point therapy, massage, dietary changes, as well as exercises and stretching.

 

Treating Fibromyalgia With Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is critical for those who suffer from fibromyalgia in order to keep the spine and muscles from losing too much movement. Because fibromyalgia causes the muscles to tighten up and lose some of their natural pliability, it results in a global loss of movement in the spine. The loss of movement in the spine results in a neurological reflex that causes the muscles to tighten further. This vicious cycle will continue and over time will lead to increased pain, increased muscle tightness, a loss of movement, more difficulty sleeping and the development of more and more trigger points.

The only option is to continually adjust the spine and keep it moving. It is not uncommon for those with fibromyalgia to be adjusted three to four times per month to keep everything mobile and relaxed. The biggest concern in treating people with fibromyalgia is that their muscles have a diminished healing ability. For this reason, chiropractic adjustments are usually modified slightly to be more gentle than normal. This helps to decrease the stress on all of the small supporting muscles of the spine, which can be easily injured. It is important when seeking chiropractic care, to make sure that the doctor is familiar with the muscular changes that occur with fibromyalgia so that they can adjust their treatment accordingly.

 

Treating Fibromyalgia with Trigger Point Therapy

The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points, and frequently, trigger points. Trigger points are often confused with "tender points." They are not the same. A trigger point needs firm pressure to elicit pain, while tender points are painful with even very light pressure. Trigger points will refer pain to other areas of the body, whereas tender points will not. Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure. As discussed earlier, trigger points are purely comprised of spasmed muscle fibers, whereas tender points are knots filled with ground substance. Those with fibromyalgia almost always have a combination of the two - trigger points and tender points - and can improve dramatically with light trigger point therapy.

Trigger point therapy for fibromyalgia is much like trigger point therapy for low back pain, neck pain or headaches. The points are the same. The difference is just intensity. Since the muscles in patients with fibromyalgia are easily injured and take longer to heal, it is necessary to use less pressure on their trigger points.

 

Treating Fibromyalgia with Cold Laser Therapy

Since poor healing of muscle tissue and chronic pain are characteristic traits of fibromyalgia, laser therapy is an important part of any treatment plan. Two of the major benefits of cold laser therapy is stimulation of tissue healing and decreased sensations of pain.

A 1997 study of 846 people with fibromyalgia reported in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery demonstrated that two-thirds of the patients experienced improved pain and mobility with cold laser therapy. Another study published in Rheumatology International in 2002, showed that those who received laser therapy had a significant improvement in pain, fatigue and morning stiffness.

 

Self-Care for Fibromyalgia

Your day to day lifestyle choices have a tremendous impact on how much impact fibromyalgia will have on your life. The difference between those who take care of themselves and those who do not is tremendous. Those who make lifestyle changes to help their fibromyalgia suffer much less pain, are able to remain more active and have a much higher quality of life than those who do not. If you have fibromyalgia, here are some of the main things that you can do on a daily basis to help your body:

 

Getting enough good sleep
-Getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can help ease the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, but is something that can be hard to get. Many people with fibromyalgia have problems such as pain, restless legs syndrome and brain-wave irregularities that interfere with restful sleep. Insomnia is very common. Although alcohol may help you to relax, it is not recommended before bed as it has been shown to interfere with restful sleep. Some of those with fibromyalgia have found 5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP) very helpful, as well as the prescription anti-depressant amitriptyline. Typically, we don't recommend taking perscritpion drugs, but in this case, it is difficult to heal without enough sleep.


Exercising
- Improved fitness through exercise is recommended. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms can be relieved by aerobic exercise. Though pain and fatigue may make exercise and daily activities difficult, it's crucial to be as physically active as possible. The best way to begin a fitness program is to start with low impact exercises, like walking and swimming. Starting slowly helps stretch and mobilize tight, sore muscles. High-impact aerobics and weight lifting could cause increased discomfort, so pay attention to your body. The more you can exercise, the better off you will be.


Making changes at work
-Most people with fibromyalgia are able to continue working, but they may have to make big changes to do so. It may be necessary to reduce the number of hours at work, find a job that will allow you to have a flexible schedule, or switch to a less physically demanding job. Many people with fibromyalgia require specially designed office chairs, adjustable desks or other adaptations in order to continue working. If you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files, your employer may make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job.


Eating well
-Foods, just like anything else, have the ability to either stress your body or to help your body heal. Foods that tend to be stressful on the body include: dairy, eggs, wheat, corn, as well as anything with monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates or nitrites (as are found in processed foods). Several environmental toxins may also contribute to the overall physical stress on your body, therefore fish should be avoided as well. It is important that you eat as much clean, organically grown fresh foods as possible. Base your diet around whole foods such as: brown rice, legumes, oats, spelt, rice milk, soy, hormone-free chicken or turkey, roots, nuts and berries.


Nutritional supplements
-There are dozens of nutritional products that claim to be 'the answer' for fibromyalgia. To date, none of them have proven to be of much long-term benefit for anyone. However, there are some people who have used magnesium malate with good results, some people who have used ginkgo biloba with good results and others with various herbals. The bottom line with nutritional supplements is that, to date, there is nothing that works for everyone. If you come across something that you would like to try, by all means do so, as long as you check it out with your chiropractor first to ensure that it won't interfere with any of your other treatment. Contact us today!

Almost half of all children will suffer from at least one middle ear infection (otitis media) before they're a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one episode by age three. The symptoms of otits media include ear pain, fever, and irritability. If you look into the ear of a child who has otitis media, you will be able to see a buildup of fluid behind the ear drum, and the inside of the ear will appear inflamed. Otitis media is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

Otitis media commonly emerges when there is improper drainage of the lymph system in the neck, or when the muscle that is supposed to keep bacteria or viruses from entering the eustacean tubes (the tubes in the back of the throat that lead to the inner ear) doesn't work correctly. While both of these things can happen in adults, it usually does not result in an ear infection for two reasons: First, the shape and the length of the eustacean tubes are different in adults, allowing easier drainage and making it more difficult for a bacteria to invade. Second, adults tend to spend more time upright than young children do, which also encourages better drainage and decreases risk of infection.

In either case, the underlying root cause of otitis media is usually a mechanical problem. There is either a reduced or blocked drainage of the lymph vessels in the neck lymphatic chains that causes a build up of fluid in the inner ear, or a loss of normal function of the small muscle at the opening of the eustacean tube in the throat that allows bacteria and viruses from the mouth to enter the inner ear. Instead of treatment that tries to kill the bacteria or virus, a more natural approach would be to restore normal drainage of the ears and neck lymphatics. This is most effectively done through chiropractic.

Unfortunately, the current treatment of choice for medical doctors is to prescribe oral antibiotics, usually amoxicillin, which can be helpful to get rid of a bacterial infection. But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body's own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria.

Most people have heard about the common practice of placing 'tubes in the ears' to relieve the pressure, and therefore pain, of otitis media. During this surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum and a small tube is placed in the opening. This opening helps to relieve the pressure in the ear and prevents fluid buildup. After a couple of months, the body pushes the tube out and the hole closes. Although the treatment is often effective, it does not address the underlying cause of the infection, which is the abnormal mechanical functioning of the lymphatics, muscles and nerves.

If your child experiences recurrent ear infections, it is important that you talk to your chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. By helping to restore the normal function of the tissues of the neck, otitis media can usually be significantly reduced or completely eliminated in most children, without the use of antibiotics and surgery.

Colic is a condition in young infants characterized by an unusual amount of crying.When they cry, they may draw their arms and legs toward their bodies as though they are in pain and may even turn bright red. Colic usually appears between the 3rd and 6th week after birth and is typically resolved by the time they are 3 months old. Although no one is certain what causes colic, there are a number of things that likely contribute, such as an immature and irritated nervous system, food sensitivites and gastrointestinal upset.

The theory that an irritated spine may contribute to colic is supported by the frequent improvement in symptoms with gentle chiropractic adjustments. Because the birthing process is very stressful on the neck of a newborn, it is very common for there to be several subluxations in the neck and back that can irritate the tiny and delicate nervous system. It has also been observed that babies with colic seem to need more attention and are more sensitive to the things around them than other babies - again indicating that there are some neurological differences.

Both the mother's and the baby's diet can be huge factors in the development of colic. One of the biggest offenders is cow's milk. Babies should not have cow's milk, or dairy in any form for that matter, until they are at least two or three years old. Cow's milk contains the sugar lactose which many newborn babies cannot digest very well, not to mention that cow's milk contains many proteins that are not good for an infant's digestive system.

Another potential dietary contributor to colic is the mother's diet while breastfeeding. Women who breast feed should stay away from spicy foods, alcohol and tobacco, as well as to avoid  eating too much of any one particular food. A semi-bland, high-protein diet that excludes dairy is probably best - at least during the first three or four months of breastfeeding.

If your baby suffers from colic, there are a few things that you can do to help:
•Seek regular chiropractic care, especially during the first four months.
•Place a warm water bottle on your baby's stomach.
•Rock your baby in a rocking chair or cradle.
•Give your baby a warm bath.
•Gently rub your baby's stomach.
•Go for a drive with your baby in the car seat.
•Feed your baby more often with less food at each feeding.
•If you feed your baby formula, avoid soy or dairy-based formulas.

Bedwetting is stressful for everyone involved. Lack of bladder control can cause embarrassment, shame, and interfere with normal social development. All of the causes of bed-wetting are not fully understood. There are children whose bladders are underdeveloped for their age and who have difficulty recognizing when their bladder is full. This is much more common in children under four years of age.

If a child, who had been dry at night for a period of time - weeks or months - suddenly starts bed-wetting again, this may be a sign that something is wrong. Most often this happens when some form of stress is in the child's life: a new baby in the home, moving to a new neighborhood, or a divorce. Bedwetting may also be a sign of physical or sexual abuse or some other disease process. If your child wets the bed after having been dry at night in the past, it is important that they be seen by a doctor. The bed-wetting may be a sign that stress or a disease is causing the problem.

Chiropractic can help by removing any irritation that may be affecting the nerves that control bladder function. These nerves exit an area of the spine called the Sacrum. In adults, the sacrum is one large fused bone that is very resistant to injury. However, during childhood, the sacrum is separated into five individual segments. If these segments become misaligned, due to a fall or other type of trauma, they can compromise the nerves that are responsible for bladder function. While chiropractic is not typically a treatment for bedwetting, countless children have been helped by being adjusted. In fact, a number of clinical research studies have demonstrated that chiropractic care can help many children suffering from bedwetting. Contact us today

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