A Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic for Kids

chiropractic careA growing number of families in the U.S.—both parents and children—are discovering the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including chiropractic care.  The good news is that you’re never too young or too old to benefit from the types of therapies a skilled chiropractic physician can provide.  Today’s chiropractors generally have the training and experience to work with patients from early childhood through to advanced age.  However, some practitioners also choose to focus on the unique needs of specific types of patients.

How Children May Benefit From Chiropractic Care

As children enter school, they begin interacting with other adults and kids in a completely different kind of setting outside the family home.  This means that they’re exposed to a variety of new environmental and behavioral factors that can threaten their spine and nervous system health.  From poor sitting posture in the classroom to heavy backpacks in the hallways, rough-housing on the playground and electronics use on the bus ride home, there are a variety of new health risks.  Chiropractic care can help address these sorts of risks as well as others that may seem less obvious.

For instance, there is evidence that chiropractic care may help prevent or relieve many common cold and allergy symptoms, including sneezing, coughing and itching or watery eyes.  This is not to say that a visit to the chiropractor will “cure” the common cold or that the underlying illness will be eliminated, even temporarily.  However, the research suggests that spinal manipulation and other therapies frequently used by the chiropractor may help to strengthen a child’s immune system over time.

Treating Infants

Chiropractic treatments are tailored to every child according to their specific circumstances, including their height and weight.  There is no minimum age for receiving chiropractic care, and even newborns may safely benefit.  In fact, chiropractic care is encouraged for babies as a chiropractic physician may be able to detect spinal problems that could lead to colic, ear infection or asthma.  Early detection may help prevent the development of these conditions and other complications while also improving a young patient’s quality of life.

Communicating with Members of Your Child’s Healthcare Team

As both adults and children are turning to alternative medicine as a way to prevent or treat common ailments, there is an increasing need for patients (or their parents) to communicate effectively with members of an expanded healthcare team.   In most cases, your child’s primary care doctor (usually a pediatrician, general practitioner or chiropractic physician) will play a key role in coordinating care.  Remember that a good chiropractor will always tell you when a particular condition may be outside his or her scope of practice and will refer you to other specialists as appropriate.

Many chiropractors who specialize in pediatrics are members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and have completed postgraduate courses that focus on the care of pregnant mothers, infants and children.  The ICPA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1986 by Larry Webster, DC.  The association offers advanced training workshops and seminars for healthcare professionals in addition to its chiropractic certification.  It also has a referral service for parents and publishes a wide variety of materials designed to educate the general public about chiropractic medicine for both children and adults.

Studies have shown that children who visit the chiropractor on a regular basis are likely to grow up with better posture and have fewer illnesses than their classmates.  If you’d like to find out more about children and chiropractic care, please ask us.  We are here to help! Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with our experienced and caring chiropractor Wilmington NC. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

A Bicyclist’s Guide to Chiropractic Care

chiropractor in Wilmington NCThere’s no doubt about it—biking can take a real toll on the body, whether you’re a recreational or competitive cyclist.  A burning sensation in the shoulders, numbness in the arms and hands, and tightness in the neck are just a few of the common “aches and pains” that many riders deal with.  Not to mention frequent upper and lower back pain.  While it might be tempting to ignore these types of symptoms and “pedal through it” when they first appear, they often recur and can eventually lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain.  This in turn can seriously interfere with both training and enjoyment of the sport.

Can a chiropractic physician help cyclists with these kinds of problems?  Absolutely!  In addition, chiropractors can also help prevent future injuries and even enhance performance—speed, strength and stamina—for healthy cyclists.  In fact, athletes of all kinds can benefit from the advice and treatment of a well-trained, experienced chiropractor—especially one who specializes in sports and understands the importance of biomechanics in a real-world athletic setting.

In addition to being experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, chiropractors have unique knowledge and skills that are particularly useful in working with cyclists.  In fact, a combination of general and specialized training and experience are essential to successful treatment because everything in cycling is interconnected: the nerves, the bones, the muscles, and the joints.  In most cases, all of these elements must be addressed in a holistic way by a systematic treatment plan in order to get good, lasting results.  This is one reason why a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine will probably have the most to offer you as a cyclist.  They will also work with adjunct professionals such as sports trainers or physical therapists as needed to address your particular needs.

Solutions to problems cyclists commonly experience will likely be multi-dimensional.  That is, they may involve a combination of adjustments, deep tissue massage, exercises, and stretches. will likely be required.  For example, if a cyclist is suffering from lower back pain, it may be due to hip rotation.  An adjustment of the sacroiliac joints will be quite helpful, but appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises will also be needed to address the weakness and tightness in the muscles that affect the hip joints.  Strengthening exercises will contribute stability to the joint, while stretching will help to lengthen the muscles in the region, thus preventing them from contracting when stressed.

While a qualified chiropractor can be a valuable partner in helping patients recover from cycling-related injuries and pain, the cyclist must also do his or her part to make a treatment plan successful.  In the same way that the athlete needs to actually execute a training program for it to be effective, he or she must also take responsibility for the at-home aspects of any treatment plan for it to achieve results.  If you do not complete the prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises at home, you may not get the relief you expect.

Finally, a sports chiropractor will also likely be able to help you professionally fit your bicycle to maximize your efficiency and to minimize the unnecessary strain on your body.  Bicycle size, seat placement, handlebar height, and cycling posture all have a significant impact on both performance and stress on the body.  In much the same way that runners benefit from gait analysis, cyclists benefit from an insightful analysis of riding mechanics.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Chiropractor in Wilmington NC!

If you or someone you know is an avid cyclist who wants to ride healthier, perform better and enjoy the sport longer, our chiropractor in Wilmington NC can help!  Call or visit our office today!

Where Does Good Balance and Coordination Come From? Introduction to Your Proprioceptive System

Proprioception is a complex system of anatomical checks and balances, neural impulses, and brain functions that controls our sense of balance, coordination, and agility. Put most simply, proprioception is the “sixth sense” that enables you to scratch your head without looking in a mirror or climb a flight of stairs without having to look at each step.

Most of us are so accustomed to proprioception that we take it for granted. Its development starts soon after we are born and is observed in infants as soon as they gain control of their neck muscles. When the infant’s body tilts in any direction, its head also tilts in the opposite direction to level its eyes with the horizon. This “righting reflex” is the beginning of our sense of balance.

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More technically, proprioception is your body’s ability to transmit a sense of its position in space, analyze that information, and react—either consciously or unconsciously—to stimuli with the proper movement and force. Proprioceptors are a specialized type of motor and sensory nerve that transmits impulses to the central nervous system (in particular, the area of the brain known as the cerebellum) from stimuli felt by the muscles, tendons, joints, and skin. The impulses transmitted by proprioceptors contain vital information, such as the amount of tension in a particular muscle and the relative position of a body part when it is moving.

Proprioception is what enables you to reach for a glass and actually find it in space. It is also what allows you to pick up the glass with just the right amount of force, neither dropping it nor breaking it by squeezing too hard. Proprioception is what enables you to keep your balance when walking on uneven surfaces or when riding a bicycle. The impulses from proprioception combine with input received from the vestibular system (the fluid-filled network in the inner ear that enables us to feel the pull of gravity and know which direction is “up”) and with input from the visual system to create our sense of balance.

However, just as our eyes become weaker with age, so can the proprioceptive system, leading to a loss of proper balance. This is one of the reasons that falling is the number one cause of hospital admissions for people over 60. Something has gone wrong with the complex processing of information needed to maintain their balance, so older people are more likely to slip and fall on stairs or on slippery sidewalks and injure themselves.

Fortunately, you can strengthen your proprioceptive system by practicing simple balance exercises, thus keeping keep your sense of balance from weakening as you grow older. There are many forms of inexpensive exercise equipment (such as BOSU or Bongo Boards) that enable you to stand on a platform that is designed to be wobbly. This instability forces your muscles and your proprioceptive system to work more, and thus become stronger. So if you are over the age of 50, you should consider speaking to your chiropractor about exercises to improve your proprioception. They are very simple but can greatly improve your overall sense of balance, therefore significantly reducing your risk of injury from falls as you grow older.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Chiropractor in Wilmington NC!

If you need a chiropractor in Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.