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Archive for September, 2010

Can Chiropractic Help Children With Learning Disabilities?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Are school-aged children getting healthier or sicker?  I came across a Statistic Canada survey that helped shed some light on this question.  The results of this survey were quite revealing. I’ll review some of the findings here, but first let me share this story with you.

This week in our chiropractic wellness clinic, I had a conversation with a patient who is a grade 8 teacher.  I was particularly curious of the prevalence of children in his class with learning disabilities.  This is what I learned …

The teacher said that 1 in 5 (20%) students in his class have been diagnosed with a learning disability, such as ADD or ADHD.  He also said that a lot of learning disabilities go unreported, so the prevalence is likely higher.  And, that this is fairly common in most classrooms at his school.

Statistic Canada, in a 2006 study entitled “Participiation and Activity Limitation Survey”, reported that there is a increase in disabilities amongst children aged 14 and under.  The findings showed that amongst children aged 14 and under, about 202,350 (3.7%) reported a disability of some kind in 2006.  This is up from 2001 which was at 3.1%.

In this group, 69.8% of children aged 4 and under had a disability related to a chronic health condition – the most common health conditions reported were asthma, severe allergies, attention deficit disorder, and autism.

For children aged 5 to 14, the study reported that 66.6% of these children had chronic health conditions.  Learning disabilities affected 69.3% of children in this age group.

Overall, there was a large increase in learning disabilities from 2001 to 2006 for both children and adults.

At Back To Health Chiropractic Centre, our our vision is family health and wellness … which means our vision is for families in our community to be fully healthy, happy and flourishing.  To our Back To Health Chiropractic team, healthy families does not mean just mom or dad on the wellness path.  Family health  especially includes children living to their full human potential.

I really like the  World Health Organization’s definition of health, which is …

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 1

Unfortunately, many children are not living in a “complete physical, mental and social well-being” as the learning disability prevalence is increasing.

So if health means “complete physical, mental and social well-being”, how are we doing when chronic health conditions and learning disabilities are increasing in the school-aged population?

In our chiropractic wellness clinic, we care for children that present with chronic health conditions and learning disabilities.  Although most adults come into our clinic with pain complaints of some sort (like headaches, back pain, neck pain), most children in our clinic don’t present with pain conditions.  They present with health conditions such as asthma, allergies, bed-wetting, digestive problems, ADD/ADHD and autism.  I have seen chiropractic be helpful for children with these types of health conditions.  However, chiropractic is not a treatment for any of these health conditions.

A chiropractor assesses the spine to find spinal misalignments (subluxations).   Why is this important?  Because spinal misalignments can alter the quality and quantity of nerve input to and from the brain.  Altered nerve input to and from the brain can cause problems to the body.  To correct a spinal misalignment, the chiropractor delivers a specific scientific chiropractic adjustment, which removes interference on the nervous system and improves the nerve input to and from the brain.  Now, the body is in a position to function and heal optimally because all healing and body function is controlled by the brain. This is why chiropractors will see many people, adults and children alike, respond positively to a variety to different health conditions.

So can chiropractic help children with learning disabilities? Let’s look at this study…

In a 2007 literature review study by Dr. Yannick Pauli, published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR), Dr. Pauli suggested that although more research is necessary in this area, chiropractic care may have a positive role in individuals suffering from learning disabilities and dyslexia.2   A lot has to do with restoring function to the child’s nervous system by correcting vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments).

Chiropractic care for children is safe and effective.  Ask your family wellness chiropractor how chiropractic can be of benefit to you and your family.

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1. WHO Website. http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html

2. Pauli, Yannick, D.C.The Effects of Chiropractic Care on Individuals Suffering from Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR). January 15, 2007, pp 1-12.

Chiropractic Wellness Tips For Stree-Free Sleep

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Stress while you’re sleeping?  Is that even possible?  North Americans get on average, 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  And of the most common health complaints I hear from my patients is that they wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or a low back ache after going to sleep the night before feeling totally fine.  How does that happen?  How you sleep, more specifically, your sleeping posture has a lot to do with how well you sleep at night and how well you wake up in the morning.  Considering that you may spend up to one third of your day sleeping, it makes perfect sense to pay extra attention on your sleeping position and improve it if necessary.

 Some of the most common questions I get from patients when they start chiropractic care at our clinic is: 1. What position is best to sleep in? 2. What kind of pillow should I use? 3. What kind of mattress should I buy? All these questions will be addressed in this article.  But first …

 Let me talk about habit.  Human beings are creatures of habit … which means once you do something in a certain way it’s hard to change the way you do it.  It takes awareness and energy and willingness to change a habit.  This is true for sleeping habits or sleeping positions.  Some of my chiropractic patients tell me they sleep on their stomach. This is not the best position to sleep in.  In fact, this position can cause a lot of stress on your neck muscles, joints, and nerves because your neck is usually turned to one side and bent sideways when you sleep on your stomach.

 So what is the best position to sleep without causing much strain or stress on your neck or back? The side position and flat on your back are the two best positions to sleep in.  Sleeping one your side or on your back keeps your spine in a neutral position.   What’s important is to use a pillow that is not too shallow and not too big and fluffy.  While on your side, the pillow should take up enough space between your ear and the mattress to keep your head straight on its side.  On your back, the pillow should support the natural ‘C’ shape curve of your neck.  A good orthopedic pillow can help accommodate this.  Many chiropractors recommend orthopedic pillows to their patients. Orthopedic pillows are specially designed to keep your neck in its optimal natural position whether you sleep on your side or on your back. 

 A couple of more sleeping tips…

 While on your side, you can place a small pillow between your knees. This helps relieve tension or strain in your lower back.  The same can be accomplished while sleeping on your back by placing a pillow under you knees. This is especially helpful when suffering of low back pain

 Now for the mattress …There are many forms to choose from which can sometimes be confusing.  The simplest advice I give to my patients is to sleep on a mattress that is not very soft and not too hard either.  You want it to be firm enough however that it will protect your spine whether you are sleeping on your side or on your back. 

 One of the most common benefits I hear from patients receiving chiropractic care is that their sleeping is improved.  When you wake up in the morning, you should feel restful, relaxed, regenerated and pain free.  Keeping some of these sleeping tips can help you accomplish this regularly.  Get into the habit of protecting your spine even while you sleep with proper sleeping positions.