Category Archives: Articles

A collection of the articles, tips and tricks Dr. Stephanie Rittenour has found over the years to help in a healthy life.

Wellness Delivery

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A Wellness Delivery

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

One of the most exciting times in a woman’s life is when she finds out that she is expecting a baby. She’s so excited about the prospect of being a mom but there’s really only one thing on her mind: she wants the baby delivered safely and healthy.

Suddenly she’s not just making decisions for herself, but also for the still-developing person inside of her. Yet, the reality is that the decisions she makes during her pregnancy will probably not actually be hers.

OB/GYN or Midwife?

This is a decision that the mom-to-be must be allowed to make for herself based upon the most accurate information available to her. The truth is, many women don’t realize how available and accessible midwives are becoming and so they tend to immediately begin researching Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYN’s).

Once the news gets out that they’re expecting, most women find themselves being encouraged or even pressured by friends and family to use a specific OB/GYN that once delivered the baby of someone in their circle of influence. While that practitioner may be more than capable, he or she might not be the best choice knowing all the wellness options available.

When studying negligence in the gynecological and obstetrical profession, despite the fact that obstetricians make up only 3% of all medical doctors, OB/GYN’s account for almost a third of all reports of negligence.

On the other hand, Suzanne Arms, an advocate for pregnant women and midwives, states that science has proven that “midwives are the specialists in normal birth and most women don’t need a doctor [for delivery].”

Home or Hospital?

An idea that was once thought archaic is becoming the recommended option for delivering a baby naturally. A landmark study by the British Medical Journal in 2005 shows that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth for low risk women, while carrying a much lower rate of medical interventions, including cesarean section.

In 2000, Canadian researchers Kenneth Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss studied over 5,400 low-risk pregnancies in the United States and Canada where the decision had been made to deliver at home, and compared their results with the outcomes of 3,360,868 low-risk hospital births. The results were telling:

  • Planned home birth carried a rate of 1.7 infant deaths per 1000 live births, a rate “consistent with most North American studies of intended births out of hospital and low risk hospital births”
  • There were no maternal deaths
  • Medical intervention rates were dramatically lower when compared to those in hospital births
  • Episiotomy rate of 2.1% compared to 33% in hospitals
  • C-section rate of 3.7% compared with 19%
  • Electronic fetal monitoring rate of 9.6% compared with 84.3% in hospitals
  • 97% of over 500 participants who were randomly contacted to validate birth outcomes reported that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care they received during their home birth

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“Most women find themselves encouraged to use a specific OB/GYN instead of looking at the best wellness options.”

There was a time when home birthing was considered old-fashioned, but women armed with the facts are choosing to have their babies at home, recognizing that it’s best for both them and their unborn child.

The Midwives Alliance of North American (MANA) recommends the following website for midwife referrals: http://mothersnaturally.org/midwives/findAMidwife.php

Surgical or Natural Birth?

Despite the advancements in technology and the reported improvements in medical care, c-sections have risen to 1 in 3 deliveries for women in North America. About 1.3 million women gave birth via cesarean section in 2005, which is a 38% increase in just 10 years, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported in 2008.

This increase is not surprising considering vaginal deliveries decreased by 3% during the same time span, with the sharpest decline being among women who had previously delivered via c-section. It was determined that vaginal deliveries among these women dropped by an astonishing 60% between 1995 and 2005.

The decision to have a vaginal delivery after a c-section is being taken out of the hands of the mother by hospitals requiring that the OB/GYN remain in the hospital for the entire labor. Since these practitioners refuse to do so, the decision is taken away from the mother and she is forced to have another c-section.

The truth is that vaginal deliveries are no more dangerous after a c-section than prior to one, and the fact that the decision is ultimately the mother’s are two pieces of information that hospitals don’t want pregnant women to know.

Induce or Wait for Nature?

This may not seem like it’s a choice that the mother can make, but it is, and the right choice is always to wait. Due dates have proven to be notoriously inaccurate and, according to Dr. Katz, et al, they should be eliminated entirely.

Dr. Vern Katz and her colleagues from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon reported that the calculations used to set a woman’s “due date” based upon her menstrual periods is “flawed”. The use of an estimated gestational period to determine the best care for the patient is causing confusion and the patient does not treat this date as an estimate. She, and her entire family, considers that date a very specific point in time that they are looking forward to quite anxiously.

As the “due date” approaches, if there have been no signs of labor, the mother begins to grow anxious and distressed. This typically leads to a recommendation by her OB/GYN to induce delivery, usually leading to further interventions in birth. The problem with this is that intervention in the delivery process frequently leads to trauma for both the mother and the baby.

Dr. Kats and her colleagues conclude that doctors should expand the concept of a due date to a “due week” and, in this way, “allow biology [or nature] to take it’s course a bit more”.

The Chiropractic Factor

Whether or not to see a Chiropractor during pregnancy is one of the most important decisions an expectant mother will make. Pregnancy is an impor- tant time for nerve impulses to flow uninterrupted from the brain to all the parts of the body.

A slightly misplaced vertebra (Vertebral Subluxation) can create nerve irritation, which can and will interfere with the body’s nervous system. By using special or modified techniques, your Family Wellness Chiropractor can restore the function of your nervous system and improve your overall wellness. This can help ensure a more quality labor and delivery.

In fact, research has proven that:

  • 84% of pregnant women treated by Chiropractic care received profound relief from low back pain
  • Women who received Chiropractic care had nearly a 25% reduction in the average labor time verses the “accepted average labor time”
  • With women who had given birth in the past, that number rose to 33%
  • Postpartum pain was relieved in 75% of moms

Healthy School Lunches

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Healthy School Lunches

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

Parents today recognize the importance of feeding their children healthy nutritious foods. The problem is that the cafeteria has become just another franchise; foods aren’t healthy and well-balanced. Vending machines offer chips, cookies, sodas and a myriad of other junk foods that children shouldn’t be eating. This creates a challenge to parents that many have decided to ignore.

Assuming that it’s a lost cause, some parents have rationalized that the rest of their meals are healthy and nutritious so why worry about what their children are eating for lunch. This is a dangerous misconception considering what is being served in the majority of school cafeterias.

What’s being served?

Although programs have begun to appear over the past few years addressing the problem, the fact is that not much has changed. The majority of entrees served on school campuses include pizza, Sloppy Joes, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, hotdogs and corn dogs.

It’s rare that you will see anything made with fish and chicken; unless it’s fish sticks and chicken nuggets, which contain processed meat that is breaded and deep fried. This is not nutritious.

The Traditional Sandwich

Commonly found in the packed lunch is a sandwich; the problem is that bad choices can be made here as well. White bread bought at the store contains bleached flour. And don’t be fooled by the word “enriched”, as adding back a portion of the vitamins removed during the bleaching process doesn’t undo the damage.

Additional poor sandwich choices include peanut butter which has hydrogenated oil; and as much as parents want to believe differently, jelly is not a source of fruit but is high in processed sugar. Pre-packaged, processed meats and cheeses should also be avoided as they are high in chemicals and salt.

Better sandwich choices include whole wheat bread with a lot of grains, and almond butter instead of peanut butter. Also, be creative. Try to put vegetables into a sandwich as much as possible.
For instance, baked turkey or chicken with lettuce, cucumbers, sprouts, red peppers – maybe even some beans sprinkled inside make a tasty protein.

Perfect Packing

Part of putting together a healthy packed lunch is having the right storage containers. Be sure to use an insulated lunch box that will hold up to four small food containers and a thermos.

When purchasing the containers you should buy at least two sets; this will help you to avoid having to wash them each night. As for the thermos, be sure that it is the wide mouth variety; this will be necessary if you wish to use it for beans or soup.

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“It’s rare that you will see anything made in a school cafeteria with fish or chicken”

The Beverage

When it comes to healthy lunches, milk, juice and soda should be avoided at all cost. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that juice consumption is contributing to cavities and gastrointestinal issues for children.

The best choice is a small bottle of water: open the bottle, remove an extra tablespoon or two of the water to avoid expansion problems when freezing, then put it in the freezer with the lid off. In the morning replace the lid then put it in the lunchbox. This will not only be a healthy beverage at lunch, but will succeed in keeping the other items in the lunch box nice and cold.

The Entrée

Great sources of protein that can be put in a small lunch container are cubes of baked chicken, turkey or ham. This does not include processed meat that you buy at your grocery store; but should be prepared at home and cut into bite sized pieces. Remember that you can freeze these in small portions and use them randomly over several weeks.

Another great sandwich option is a healthy wrap. This can be done by purchasing whole grain tortillas and wrapping up healthier protein and vegetable sources.

A hard boiled egg is also a great source of protein. And don’t forget that wide mouthed thermos you purchased; beans are an excellent source of protein and can be served in a thermos with organic tortilla chips for dipping. You may also consider providing your child with some of last night’s stew heated up.

The Side Dishes

Most children don’t consider a meal as lunch unless there are chips and cookies though these must be avoided at all cost. The side dishes for your children should be tasty green vegetables; remember that greener is better.

Fruit is also a great side dish, but while it is healthy, it is also a source of sugar and not as rich in vitamins and minerals as vegetables. Serve fruit just once for every five servings of vegetables. Remember that it should be fresh, organically grown fruit; fruit roll-ups are not fruit.

Also consider inviting your child to help you prepare vegetable soup or vegetarian chili. These can be put in a thermos and taken to school over the span of a week.

Consider putting together a grain salad. This can include couscous or steamed long grain brown rice with chopped cucumbers, red peppers, baby carrots, or any other similar vegetable. You may also choose to marinate the chopped vegetables in a salad dressing for a few days prior to preparing the salad. Drain the vegetables and then mix them in. This will add moisture to the salad without having to add excess dressing.

Going Organic

Organically grown foods are slightly more expensive but worth it. The price of providing foods that are free of pesticides, growth hormones, hydrogenated oils and artificial additives and preservatives is high.
It’s important to note that organic foods are also more filling. By providing your child with smaller portions of healthier foods you’ll be spending the same amount of money without providing them with the cheaper foods. These cheaper foods are not just less expensive, but they lack nutrition. You’re paying less but you’re getting less in return.

Create a Menu

No one knows better than your own child what they’re going to eat, so let them help you prepare their lunches. Remember that if they like what their eating they will bring home an empty lunchbox.

The best way to accomplish this is to insure that their options are only healthy choices but with variety. This can be made easy by creating a mix-and-match menu. Using a white board, poster board or similar display, draw out five columns and label them for each day of the week.

Then using color-coded post-it notes, index cards or by printing on colored paper, create a square for each lunch option. For example, their protein options would be on blue, vegetables would be on green and fruits would be on yellow.

Every Sunday, let your child help you prepare their menu by picking the appropriate cards and placing them in the column for each day. You and your child can then begin prepackaging those options that can be frozen or stored for a few days.

In Summary

It’s important that your children like their lunches but it’s more important that their bodies get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need to develop and grow properly.

Picking Your Prenatal Wellness Team

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Picking Your Prenatal Wellness Team

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

If you are expecting a baby then you probably have a lot on your mind. While it is the most natural thing in the world, having a baby has become an industry of products and recommendations; and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices. Unfortunately, no one can make those choices for you, but your Chiropractor can help you make informed decisions.

Your Doctor of Chiropractic

A properly functioning spine and nervous system is an important part of a wellness pregnancy. In addition to the noticeable changes your pregnancy will cause your body, pregnancy can also cause subtle changes in the musculoskeletal system; changes your Chiropractor is able to detect and correct.

The position of your growing baby will cause your center of gravity to shift and your spine will naturally alter itself to accommodate this change. As a result, you may experience low back and pelvic pain. The increase in hormones during pregnancy can also cause muscles, ligaments, cartilage and even bones to “soften” and become more pliable. Pelvic bones may even become displaced or fixated. Since your hips will need to spread to accommodate the delivery of your baby, fixated pelvic bones can lead to complications during delivery.

It’s especially important during pregnancy for nerve impulses to flow from your brain to all the parts of your body. A slightly out-of-place vertebra can create nerve irritation, which can and will interfere with your body’s communication system. By using special or modified techniques during your pregnancy, your Family Wellness Chiropractor can restore the function of your nervous system, improving your overall wellness and increasing your comfort during your pregnancy and delivery.

In fact, research has proven that:

  • 84% of pregnant women treated by Chiropractic care received profound relief from low back pain
  • Women who received Chiropractic care had nearly a 25% reduction in the average labor time verses the “generally accepted average labor time”
  • With women who had given birth in the past, that number rose to 33%
  • Postpartum pain was relieved in 90 of 120 moms that received regular Chiropractic care

During your pregnancy, your Doctor of Chiropractic can do the following:

  • Correct vertebral misalignment and relieve nerve interference with gentle adjustments
  • Help ensure that pelvic bones are properly aligned, contributing to a shorter and easier delivery
  • Re-establish the natural position and mobility of the joints
  • Provide freedom from interference of normal nerve energy
  • Decrease the likelihood of your fetus being in the wrong position during the last trimester

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“Ask your Chiropractor today about prenatal Chiropractic care for you and your baby’s health.”

More than just a treatment for low back pain, many mothers have come to recognize the vital role that Chiropractic care plays in a healthy pregnancy, reporting back to their Chiropractors that regular spinal adjustments helped them feel healthier during their pregnancy, decreased morning sickness, facilitated shorter labor and delivery times, and increased an overall sense of well-being.

A Midwife or A Non-Invasive Ob/Gyn

The term natural childbirth has become subjective – it depends with whom you’re talking. A woman who delivered her baby vaginally in a hospital without the assistance of an epidural may claim to have chosen natural childbirth; but only the woman who had her baby at home with only a midwife and her family nearby would be telling the complete truth.

The term “natural childbirth” encompasses a variety of methods. In the Lamaze method, natural childbirth means the laboring woman consciously participates in the birth while medical techniques are applied freely as considered necessary.

The Bradley method focuses on avoiding pain medication but is open to medical intervention if necessary; but others do not consider it natural childbirth unless it occurs at home without any medical intervention.

Whatever your desire it’s important to make sure that your care provider is in agreement with your wishes. While the medical community claims that they will support your decisions the facts say otherwise.

Efforts have been made to educate and inform women about healthier deliveries since the 1970’s but, despite how it looks, the situation hasn’t changed:

  • Studies have shown that it’s possible to keep cesarean sections down to between 4% and 8% of deliveries and yet they’ve risen to almost 25%
  • Epidurals are being given during almost 75% of all deliveries

With medical personnel convinced that they’re doing the “right thing” it’s almost impossible to have natural childbirth in a hospital. That’s why so many women are choosing homebirths or birthing centers where their choice to have a natural childbirth will not only be accepted but encouraged.

Despite rumors to the contrary, home births are no more dangerous than a hospital birth; in reality, they may be safer since a home birth setting allows the care providers to engage in nutritional and health education while eliminating exposure to anesthetics that interfere with neonatal neurological development, and to bacteria or viruses that flourish in a hospital. A home birth also means less disruption of bonding for the mother, baby and the rest of the family.

Before you make your delivery decision, ask your Family Wellness Chiropractor for a list of local midwives and non-invasive obstetrician/gynecologists. Explore your options and make an informed decision.

Doula or Dontcha?

The word “doula” is derived from the Greek word for the most important slave or servant in the household who helped the lady of the house with childbearing. Today, the word has come to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.”

If you are considering using a doula remember that an experienced doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a life experience that the mother will always remember
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman through the entire labor and assists in preparing for and carrying out the parent’s plans for the birth
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance in getting the information an expectant mother needs to make good decisions
  • Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience

With the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well being of mothers and infants, the acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly.

In Summary

Pregnancy can be the most exciting time of your life, but concern about making the right decisions can tarnish the glow. Speak with your Doctor of Chiropractic today, if you’re pregnant or considering conceiving. Just as the decision to use a doula, midwife or OB/GYN can affect your overall childbirth experience, so can your nutrition, exercise and spinal health.

The Fast Food Dilemma

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The Fast Food Dilemma

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

It’s six o’clock and you just picked up the kids from soccer practice, or perhaps you just got off work and picked up your children from day care; regardless, you’re running late and you know that there’s nothing prepared for dinner. The kids are asking for McDonald’s again and perhaps you’re thinking, “What’s the harm? It’s so much easier than going home and cooking. At this rate, we won’t eat until seven. Yes, I think McDonald’s is the answer.” McDonald’s is never the answer.

What’s the Harm?

The American Psychological Association has recognized that there is more to our obesity problem than just genes or lack of exercise. In a recent article, Dr. Kelly Brownell said that the problem isn’t so much a lack of self control as it is a “toxic food environment”. Every street corner has an option for fast food and none of them are healthy. Obviously, we know this, but the convenience outweighs a critical concern for our daily dietary needs being met.

Of course, Brownell acknowledges that genes and self- control play a role in obesity, diabetes and the myriad of other health problems that result from unhealthy eating habits; but, in his view, both face a losing battle against the overabundance and availability of bad or unhealthy food choices.

Brownell is particularly concerned about the advertising allowed for fast food restaurants. Joe Camel has been taken off billboards because of his obvious negative influence on our children and yet Ronald McDonald and his friends are considered cute so they take a starring role in commercials broadcast when children are most likely to be watching TV. “How different are they in their impact,” Brownell challenges, “In what they’re trying to get kids to do?”

High-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie abound, serving sizes keep increasing and, thanks to the drive-thru, the exercise we might have gotten by getting out of our cars and walking into the eating establishment has even been eliminated. In this western culture of convenience, it’s become too easy to give up on being healthy and just eat whatever we can get our hands on the fastest with no regard for the future health problems that will arise. Of course, diabetes and high blood pressure have become the least of our concerns.

Trans-Fats

“If fast food is bad, then trans-fat is evil,” writes Guto Harri in a recent article from the BBC News. Trans-fats increase the damaging cholesterol content of a meal, clog arteries and increase the risk of heart attack.

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or trans-fats:

  • Turn oily foods into semi-solid foods (Oreo cookie filling, etc.)
  • Extend the shelf life of products
  • Are put in pastries, margarine and fast foods
  • Have no nutritional benefit

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“The problem isn’t so much a lack of self-control as it is a ‘toxic food environment’…”

Obviously, the growing concern about premature death and rising obesity has made trans-fats a major target. It’s been determined that even a small reduction in the daily consumption of trans-fats can significantly cut the risk for heart disease and can help lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol.

This concern has been made known to all of the major fast food chains and yet only a few have done something about it. Wendy’s quit using cooking oil containing trans-fats in the summer of 2006 and, by April of 2007, all Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants will have ceased their use. McDonalds promised to reduce trans-fats in its products over four years ago and “aims to roll-out a new cooking oil” this year. Still, trans-fats aren’t the end of the fast food story.

Cancer Risk

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has recently filed suit against seven major restaurants and fast food chains in the state of California. They include: McDonald’s, Burger King,Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse and TGI Friday’s. The reason for the suit, these companies are knowingly serving food containing carcinogens without a health warning to the consumer.

PCRM commissioned an independent laboratory to test grilled chicken products from California outlets of all seven chains. PhIP (one of a group of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines) was found in every grilled chicken sample provided for testing.

Heterocyclic amines were added to the list of known carcinogens in 2005 and PhIP, specifically, has been on the California governor’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer for more than a decade.

“Grilled chicken can cause cancer, and consumers deserve to know that this supposedly healthy product is actually just as bad for them as high-fat fried chicken,” says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. “Even a grilled chicken salad increases the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and other forms of this lethal disease.”

What was once considered the healthy option on the average fast food menu has become the deadliest.

So, what do we do?

It’s time to consider that the only way that fast food restaurants will start sharing our growing concern for healthier eating choices is if we stop buying their products. It’s time to seriously consider the risk to ourselves and our children and weigh those risks against the “convenience” being offered by “fast food”.

We have other options. Fast food is not our only choice.

  • Always at the top of the list is the deli counter at your local grocery store. Most delis now offer rotisserie chickens for a reasonable price, homemade soups by the pint and bags of prepared tossed green salad
  • Of course, remember that the greener the salad the better; iceberg lettuce is mostly water and has little or no nutritional value
  • Another great idea is to talk with a friend or parent who loves to cook about preparing meals in advance for your family. Some of the most time consuming steps to cooking can be done in advance (chopping vegetables, etc.)
  • You can offer to pay or barter for this service, or your mother may want the excuse to see the grandkids once a week and prep meals that feed more than two

In Summary

It’s too easy to give in to the pressure of “there isn’t enough time to fix a healthy meal”. Yet the facts are clear: fast food cannot be an option.

Consider the following ideas for healthier eating:

  • Prepare a menu each week and stick to it
  • Sunday should be “prep day”: chop vegetables and prepare casseroles then freeze them for future use
  • Consider purchasing prepared meats (boneless skinless chicken breast, etc.) that can be defrosted and quickly prepared
  • The Crockpot is gaining popularity again and healthy recipes aren’t hard to find. Prep the food in the morning and when you get home from work, dinner is ready to serve

What is a Family Wellness Chiropractor?

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What is a Family Wellness Chiropractor?

Reprinted from The Family Wellness Newsletter

Typically when someone mentions “chiropractic” it brings to mind thoughts of back or neck pain, perhaps the result of an auto accident or a work-related injury; but there is so much more to chiropractic care.

Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease,” and this truly sums up the goal of wellness chiropractic care. Not to be “anti-medicine,” but to assist patients in living a lifestyle that will rarely, if ever, require it.

What is Chiropractic?

Based on the Greek word “Chiropraktikos”, the word chiropractic can be broken down to the root word chiro, which means “hand”, and the word praktikos, which translates to “practical science”. So, chiropractic, in its most basic form is “to practice scientific work by hand”.

As Edison once postulated, the Family Wellness Chiro- practor doesn’t give medicine or shots, but, instead, they give advice on how to properly care for your body, treating it with respect, and recognizing that we have within us everything we need to live healthy and thrive.

Many are not aware that chiropractors are the originators of the wellness movement, being the only healthcare professionals who recognize the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

What is Wellness?

While the term “wellness” has been around for years, it has only been in the past 50 or so that it has truly been defined; and Family Wellness Chiropractors have spent at least the last 50 years educating their patients on the benefits of a wellness lifestyle.

Proper nutrition, exercise and routine chiropractic care help the body perform at maximum efficiency, resulting in improved function, a term that has been used by chiropractors to help patients understand the benefits of chiropractic care and its role in true wellness.

What is Subluxation?

The body is made up of muscles, organs and glands that are controlled by the nervous system, and the nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The brain sends signals down the spine and to the nerves, which tell the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe, the stomach to digest, the glands to produce necessary hormones, and so on. If there is even the slightest misalignment in the spine, it will create nerve interference or subluxation and interrupt those signals. It’s when these signals are affected that the body begins to lose proper function and symptoms begin to occur.

Mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize these symptoms as simple alerts from the body that there’s something amiss, but instead as something that must be eliminated with chemicals or pharmaceuticals. They don’t seek true health and wellness, but rather choose to mask the symptoms being created by the nerve interference or subluxation.
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“Your family Wellness Chiropractor is dedicated to the overall health and wellness of your entire family…”

What do Family Wellness Chiropractors do?

Your Doctor of Chiropractic will perform an analysis of your spine to find where the problem lies using one or more of the following:

  • X-rays to actually look at the vertebra themselves to check for misalignments causing subluxation
  • Surface electromyography (SEMG) to measure nerve signals and look for interference caused by subluxation
  • A nervoscope to detect and measure heat differences in the tissues along the spine since misalignments and subluxations irritating the nerves will produce measurable heat differences
  • Static or motion palpation, feeling for tenderness or a lack of motion in the vertebral joint while either introducing motion to the joint (motion palpation) or not (static palpation)
  • Posture or leg check will reveal where the body is out of alignment

Once your Family Wellness Chiropractor has made a determination, they will present to you the results of their analysis in what is called a “report of findings”. During your report of findings they will go over where your back is subluxated, if at all, and what course of treatment they would suggest to bring you relief.

Who do Family Wellness Chiropractors help?

Your Doctor of Chiropractic can help everyone, from a newborn just hours old to a toddler or teen, adults of all ages and pregnant women.

At every stage of our lives, things happen that can affect your spinal alignment. Even the process of being born may cause a slight misalignment of the spine resulting in colic, digestion and elimination issues, breastfeeding difficulties and more.

Toddlers just learning to walk spend a lot of time falling, potentially causing repetitive stress to the spine resulting in subluxation.

Teens playing sports may experience the same, and, of course, adults who’ve never seen a chiropractor are going to have subluxations resulting from these very same childhood spinal traumas on top of strains from lifting or turning wrong, falls, and other typical adult spinal challenges.

How long does treatment take?

For those who are just looking for relief from the pain or other symptoms of subluxation, treatment can be as few as 6-12 adjustments with what is typically called, relief care. Once the vertebra is gently adjusted back into alignment the symptoms may be relieved right away. However, for those who don’t want their symptoms to return, the best treatment course will include corrective or rehabilitative care.
The fact is, the body is self-regulating and when it detects that something is wrong it will try to correct it. Meaning, when one vertebra is out of alignment the body begins to adapt and other vertebra may move to compensate (similar to when building a tower of blocks, if one is protruding slightly to the left then another one above or below it must protrude to the right in order to counterbalance).

What this means to your spine is that the muscles and tissues around that vertebra have begun to self- correct and accept this misalignment as normal; any false move or over-exertion may have that vertebra moving back out of place. It could take as little as three months or more than six months to a year, but eventually that subluxation may return and with it, your original symptoms.

This is why your Family Wellness Chiropractor will suggest that you allow enough time for your body to adapt to the correct alignment of your spine. Once aligned, the final step is Wellness Care. This will typically require less frequency of visits as your spine is back in alignment, and your choice of healthier eating and exercise habits may mean you’re the healthiest ever.

In Summary

There is so much more to chiropractic than neck and back pain relief. Your Family Wellness Chiropractor is the only healthcare professional dedicated to the overall health and wellness of your entire family through wellness lifestyle instruction and education.

Children and Chiropractic

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Why Does My Child Need Chiropractic Care?

Reprinted from The Wellness Family Newsletter

You’ll probably never see your five or six-year-old bend over to pick up a toy and freeze in pain saying, “Oh, my back went out again.” Spinal degenerations and vertebral subluxations that cause that kind of pain will generally not appear in children – but it started there.

Birth Trauma

Natural childbirth has come to mean many different things, but for the purpose of this article let’s keep it simple and say that it is a drug-free, vaginal delivery. Even with no pitocin, no epidural, the mother walking regularly to help the contractions, and no extraction methods being used, childbirth causes stress to a still developing spine.

Add to this the improper lifting of the child out of a car seat or during a diaper changing; and minor spinal traumas are occurring that affect the spine and nervous system causing common newborn health complaints:

  • Colic
  • Unexplained crying
  • Poor appetite
  • Earaches or ear infections
  • Colds
  • Allergic reactions

Even a minor spinal trauma will affect the nervous system and interfere with your child’s normal healthy function.

Learning to Walk

When a child first learns to stand up they tend to use a coffee table, a couch, mom or dad’s fingers, whatever is in reach to pull themselves to their feet. Once they’re up there, how do they get down? That’s right; they plop down onto their bottom and crawl away.

When they’re starting to take their first few venturous steps toward walking they stand next to the table or couch, wobble back and forth a little bit, take one or two hesitant steps toward the middle of the room and, once again, plop onto their bottom. In some instances, the child doesn’t make it far enough away from the table or chair and hits their head on furniture.

These constant and repeated jars to the spine will not in themselves cause a major spinal injury, but as they accumulate repetitive stress injuries do occur.

Exploring Their Surroundings

During the first few years of life, children will develop from helpless infants into fearless adventurers. Bumps and falls naturally come with your child’s desire to learn everything about the world around them in the quickest amount of time possible, but these bumps and falls will cause trauma to the spine. When spinal bones lose their normal position or ability to move during this stage of tremendous physical growth, possible permanent deformities can occur. Left uncorrected, these small cumulative traumas can have far-reaching effects.

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“Many common childhood disorders may be the result of nervous system interference…”

While a Doctor of Chiropractic doesn’t treat or cure illnesses, many common childhood disorders may be the result of nervous system interference or malfunction caused by spine related problems, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Learning disorders
  • Bedwetting
  • Allergies
  • Asthma

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but appropriate Chiropractic care can help locate and correct these problems and restore normal spinal and nervous system function.

The Vertebral Subluxation Complex

As you can see, our children bump and jar their spine constantly in the first five years of life, and after that their normal everyday activities can cause the vertebrae that protect the spine to lose their normal motion or position. Each of these spinal traumas cause lasting effects: delicate nerve tissue can be damaged resulting in interference with the brain’s ability to send

nerve impulses to organs, tissues and muscles; discs, blood vessels and other soft tissues can swell and become inflamed; the body may respond with bone spurs and other abnormal bone growth; and various systems through the body may malfunction.

In each of these examples, pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present at the time, yet optimum health and well-being have been compromised.

Your Child’s Developing Spine

There are three windows of time in which your child’s spine will go through major stages of development. The first of these is birth through age five. This is definitely the most critical time since it is during this period that the child also has the most minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries to the spine.

The second window of development is five years to ten years of age. During this time your child will begin school and spend recess climbing on monkey bars, sliding down slides, playing organized sports and generally leaving themselves open to repeated falls and tumbles resulting in their own spinal injuries.

Finally, at age ten to fifteen-years-old, your child’s spine will go through its last stage of development. During this final stage, your child’s spinal growth will be greatly affected by most if not all of the following:

  • Improper backpack loading and carrying
  • Poor posture
  • An inactive or sedentary lifestyle
  • Repetitive sports movements
  • Typical sports injuries
  • Being hit in the head with a ball
  • Tackled on the field
  • Falling off a skateboard or rollerblades

It may be possible that you missed the first window of opportunity for care, but it’s not too late; your child or teenager can benefit from Chiropractic care.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Even as the public is becoming more aware of the benefit of early detection and care of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex, the odds are that you were looking for pain relief for yourself as an adult when you first went to see your Family Wellness Chiropractor. During your initial examination it’s possible that a certain Phase of Degeneration was detected. If you were informed that you are at Phase 1 then the original damage to your spine was likely ten to twenty years ago. If you were at Phase 2, the original damage to your spine was probably about twenty to forty years ago.

Basically, if you first saw your Chiropractor when you were in your late twenties and you’re at a Phase 1 of degeneration, then the damage to your spine originated when you were a child. So, the most obvious answer to the question of why your child may need Chiropractic care is: avoid having your child suffer the same pain that first brought you in to see a Chiropractor. Spinal problems that go undetected or neglected in children become more serious problems as adults.

In Summary

As a Chiropractic patient you’re already aware of the benefits of Chiropractic care. You’ve experienced for yourself the relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. Give your child the opportunity that you weren’t given: to benefit from the body’s innate ability to heal itself and grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system.