How Does Chiropractic Help with Child’s Anxiety?

How Does Chiropractic Help with Child’s Anxiety?

The benefits of consistently seeing a chiropractor go far beyond the physical aspects for both adults and children. Indeed, the mental health benefits of excellent chiropractic care extends to mental health as well. In this post, we’ll discuss the possible benefits of easing anxiety or aiding in other behavioral issues in children.

Physical and Mental Health Benefits are Intertwined

The way our bodies work on a physical level deeply impacts the way our bodies work on a mental level. When there are subluxations (a point where joints are not aligned correctly) in the spine, nerves cannot connect where they are supposed to and signals from the brain to different parts of the body are inhibited. Why does this matter for mental health? Because if the brain senses danger, it cannot properly emit the signals to help the body process that danger, which can lead to intense anxiety and possible behavioral issues.

By working to heal those subluxations through consistent adjustments, exercises, and sometimes natural vitamins and minerals, we are opening up the avenues of communication the body needs to work properly.

Restoring Balance in Kids

Kids are constantly in motion, which is a very good thing but it also allows for ample opportunity for subluxations to occur. This is normal yet most parents do not understand how this affects their child’s everyday life on a deeper level of mental health.

Coping mechanisms

Kids often do not have advanced coping mechanisms to handle the stresses they face. By making sure their smaller bodies are in alignment, it helps to restore order to their nervous systems, helping them to handle stress a bit better.

Behavioral issues

As us adults know, stress and tension can adversely affect how we behave. The same goes for children. Chiropractic adjustments tailored to the exact needs of your kids can help restore that balance they need to help relieve stress by removing subluxations blocking communication channels from the brain to the nerves. One study in 2019 of a patient with Asperger’s Syndrome found that after two months of consistent Gonstead chiropractic adjustments, his “musculoskeletal symptoms improved as did his behavioral challenges as measured by the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist for parents and quality of life as measured by the PROMIS-25 parent proxy measure.”1

Sleeping

Everyone wants to sleep better! In children, anxiety can take that away from them, which then can lead to behavioral issues because of overtiredness and lack of proper rest. Sleeping is one of the biggest complaints my patients have, both in children and in adults, and it is also one of the biggest success stories at our practice due to consistent chiropractic care focusing on proper adjustments, stretching, and correction of bad habits.

A study done on a two-year-old little girl who had sleep disordered breathing and medically diagnosed hypertrophy of her adenoids and tonsils. She was recommended for surgery but before that, began chiropractic care after a subluxation was found in the atlas and right ilium. Her treatment lasted for 12 weeks and she saw her chiropractor for 15 visits. Afterwards, in a follow-up visit with her pediatrician, “[T]here was no evidence of hypertrophy of adenoids/tonsils surgical intervention was not indicated.”2

Taking the next step

We are not claiming chiropractic care will magically take away your child’s anxiety but we have seen enough success stories to understand that, in many cases, this drug-free, natural approach is an excellent place to start. Give us a call at (864) 631-1420 and let’s see how we can help your child.

1 Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic ~ April 8, 2019 ~ Pages 28-35
2 Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic ~ August 14, 2019 ~ Pages 95-99

When You Should Take Your Child to a Chiropractor

When You Should Take Your Child to a Chiropractor

If you have been seeing a chiropractor and treatments have made an improvement in your own life, you may be wondering if there are benefits to bringing your child(ren) in for an exam or consultation. Maybe they have complained of a sore neck or back, or you’ve noticed them slouching under the weight of their backpack, or they are complaining of headaches, or maybe they have had a tough time coming back from a sports injury. If you have an infant or toddler, you may notice they are colicky, prone to ear infections, or have sleeping issues and wondering if perhaps seeing a chiropractor would help.

These are all valid questions and hopefully you’ll find some answers and guidance on when you should consider taking your child to a chiropractor – and when you may want to wait.

Children and chiropractic care

Some parents may not know that chiropractors regularly treat children. But indeed they do. The Journal of American Medical Association estimates that 11% of all chiropractic patients are children. They are specifically trained to recognize misalignments more common in children and work to gently fix what is needed.

Treating kids at any age

Parents really don’t need to wait for a certain age to see a chiropractor. At the Greenville Spine Institute, we see newborns all the way through teens, adults, and mature ages. Birth can often be traumatic for babies, putting pressure on the baby’s spine and neck, which can lead to breastfeeding problems, colic, sleeping issues, and inflammation. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can immensely help newborns in all of these areas.

For older kids, things like tripping over a tree root or falling off a swing or a sports injury can all lead to instances where seeing a chiropractor trained in recognizing and treating children would be a positive step for the child’s immediate and long term health. All treatments are gentle, non-invasive, and natural.

Childhood and chiropractic care go together

Most kids are naturally active and take tumbles as they are learning to crawl and then walk, play hard outside and with each other, fall off a bike while learning to ride, and all kinds of other movements that could easily throw off the alignment of their spine.

It’s not just the alignment of their spine that is thrown off when a child is injured or takes a fall. These misalignments can not only affect movement in the body but also can lead to ear infections, constipation, and headaches because the body isn’t working in an optimal way. Correcting misalignments goes such a long way in taking care of other issues in the body as well.

Symptoms in kids where chiropractic care would be helpful

There are some common signs and symptoms parents should look for in their children that tell them their kids may benefit from at least an initial exam from a chiropractor:

  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Complaints of neck or back pain
  • Noticeable limping
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Constant crying in infants
  • Limited head or neck mobility
  • Chronic pain after an injury

When not to seek out a chiropractor

If you are on the fence about taking your child to see a chiropractor, that’s understandable. Insurance does not typically cover chiropractic visits and sometimes, results can take a significant amount of time and investment.

A valid reason you may not want to take your child to see a chiropractor is if there are no chiropractors in your area that specialize in children. We are trained to properly care for both children and adults at the Greenville Spine Institute and if there is not a chiropractor in your area that is trained to care for children, seek one out that is.

Making the appointment

If you’re considering chiropractic treatment for your child, we take the time to do a thorough exam, take x-rays, and do motion studies before doing any sort of adjustments. We understand how precious your children are and do everything in our power to make you and your child feel comfortable, listened to, and taken care of.

If you’d like to see us for possible treatment, give us a call at 864.631.1420 or visit our website.

Managing Back Pain At Home and With a Chiropractor

Managing Back Pain At Home and With a Chiropractor

Many people with back pain go straight to a physician, and keep going, usually ending up with a pile of bills, a lot of prescription medication, and sometimes not much relief. The majority of those who choose to see a chiropractor for back pain report a higher level of satisfaction1. Their treatment plans are laid out clearly and patients have exercises they can do on their own to increase the level of comfort and decrease their level of discomfort.

While we’ll talk in this post about specific exercises to help you get started in moving towards your goal of lesser back pain, the only long term solution is to see a chiropractor. It’s through a dedicated, personalized treatment plan with a chiropractor who understands your needs, goals, body, and specific injury or pain, that a longer term solution can be gained. But for now, we’ll give you some specific exercises to manage pain and talk about why a chiropractor is your best option for long term success.

Managing Back Pain at Home

Can you really manage back pain at home? Yes and no. It depends a lot upon what kind of pain you have and where it is located. For most people, back pain is concentrated in their lower back so that is what we’ll focus on here.

The goals of these exercises for lower pain are threefold:

  • To increase flexibility
  • To build strength
  • To increase mobility

All three of these goals work together. Flexibility and mobility will help stretch and strengthen the muscles needed to support your lower back. Greater mobility will lead to more flexibility, which will lead to muscles being stronger as they are built up in areas where they are the weakest – one of the causes of lower back pain.

Four exercises to manage lower back pain at home

You can do these exercises every day to start managing lower back pain at home. Consistency is key to any treatment plan and creating good habits by sticking with specific exercises will serve you well in the long term.

These exercises shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes a day and can be done once in the morning and once at night.

Lower back rotational stretch

Lay on your back with both legs bent at the knee. Push your knees to one side of your body while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other side of your body. Do this exercise three times with each side. You should feel a nice stretch in your hip flexors. Extend the top leg for an even deeper stretch through your legs.

Knees to chest stretch

This one is easy since it’s exactly like it sounds. Lay on your back and bend your knees. Pull your knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Do this three times. You should feel a stretch in your lower back.

Cat-cow stretch

This is a stretch that seeks to lengthen the spine. Go on your hands and knees on the floor and arch your back, pulling your belly button to your spine, and hold for 15 seconds. Then arch your back in the opposite direction, raising your head and neck while you push your belly to the floor. Repeat each motion three times for 30 seconds each.

Hamstring stretch

You’ll need a towel or rubber exercise band for this stretch. Lay on your back and raise one leg straight up. Wrap a small towel or rubber exercise band around the ball of your feet while holding one end with your left hand and the other end with your right hand. Try to straighten the leg as much as possible and gently pull on the towel/band until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg – the hamstring. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each leg.

Why working with a chiropractor can help relieve back pain

Managing back pain at home is an excellent first step to taking control of your pain. As a chiropractor who works closely with his patients on their goals, it is always encouraging to me to work with a motivated patient because they need to be just as dedicated as I am to managing their back pain.

Improving alignment

It is crucial that the spine is aligned correctly because that is when everything works the way it is supposed to – and with little to no pain. If something is out of alignment, it will likely cause pain not only at the place of misalignment but many other places throughout the body because everything is connected and works together. Spinal adjustment is at the crux of chiropractic care because it is the most important part of what makes your body work the way it’s supposed to.

Increasing movement

Spinal adjustments will help to increase movement in the joints and reduce tightness and tension. Lower back pain can result from not only from misalignment of the spine but the consequential tightness that results from that misalignment as other tendons and joints try to make up for the misalignment. Through regular adjustments, tightness and tension is lessened in the upper, middle, and lower back, leading to better movement, flexibility, and less pain.

Preventing injury

Working with a chiropractor to ease back pain also has the added benefit of preventing future injury. When muscles are strong and a patient has better flexibility, they are more easily able to absorb impact and often result in fewer injuries.

Long term solution to back pain

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to back pain but there are many options to manage back pain while strengthening the muscles that patients need to ease their back pain and avoid further irritation or injury.

At home exercises are a great way to start managing back pain at home but a thorough intake and examination by a chiropractor, followed by a detailed and personal treatment plan is the best way to manage back pain. There are no drugs and no surgeries. It is a completely holistic approach to health that aims to get the body back to doing what it should be doing.

As a well-trained Gonstead chiropractor who has been practicing for more than ten years, 98% of my patients achieve their goals. If you want to see what the possibilities are for less back pain in your life, give our office a call, 864-631-1420, to set up your consultation. Can you remember what a pain-free life looks like? I would like to have the chance to get you back there.

1 R. P. Hertzman-Miller, H. Morganstern, E. L. Hurwitz, Fei, Y., Adams, A. H., Harber, P., and Kominiski, G. F. (2002). “Comparing the Satisfaction of Low Back Pain Patients Randomized to Receive Medical or Chiropractic Care: Results from the UCLA Low-Back Pain Study.” American Journal of Public Health, 92(10): 1628-1633.

Back Pain Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All – And Neither Are Treatments

Back Pain Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All – And Neither Are Treatments

If you are experiencing back pain, you are not alone. More than 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain and more than 16 million deal with chronic back pain1. It probably comes as no surprise that back pain healthcare-related costs are astronomical, amounting to more than $12 billion a year. And many people miss work, causing them to lose income. Others suffer from anger and depression as well.

In this post, we’ll look at the different areas of back pain, what it feels like, and possible causes.

No “One-Size-Fits-All” Treatments

Addressing the causes of back pain and working to correct things like posture and overall health can make a huge difference in the life of someone dealing with back pain. Approaching back pain through a comprehensive treatment plan with chiropractic can also save thousands of dollars in healthcare costs in the long run. Best of all, people who have little to no back pain report feeling less nervous and anxious than those with chronic back pain issues.

An important thing to note is that every person is different. Every injury is different. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for any patient that entrusts their care to me. I listen to my patients, hear and understand their goals, conduct the necessary tests needed for diagnosis, and then I plan out their treatment. There are so many causes of back pain and I want my patients to have the greatest chance of success so our treatment plans are all individualized.

Areas of Back Pain

There are three main areas of back pain:

  • Upper (thoracic)
  • Middle
  • Lower

Upper Back Pain

This is the area around your neck and it can become tight, limiting movement and causing pain down the sides of your neck, shoulders, and back. Pain and tightness here can also lead to migraines and headaches. Remember, everything in your body affects everything else in your body. If one area of your body, like a vertebrae, is not in alignment, that can easily cause pain throughout parts of your body.

Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain can be caused by poor posture, injuries to other areas of your back, sitting all day, or just sleeping in an awkward position.

Lower Back Pain

This area can be injured through a slip or fall, by lifting something too heavy, or by repetitive movements like swinging a bat. Injuries, like a herniated disc, here can cause spasms, which are quite painful, and can interfere with normal, everyday movements and work.

How the pain feels

Back pain can feel different to different people.

Here are some questions a chiropractor may ask about your back pain

  • Does it feel like a stabbing pain?
  • Is the pain dull?
  • Does it hurt only when you make certain movements?
  • Can you sit or stand without pain?
  • Does anything make the pain better or easier to handle?
  • Does your back pain interfere with your daily life?
  • Does it restrict movement, work, or sleep?
  • Are there other symptoms related to your back pain like swelling, chest tightness, or numbness?

The duration of pain is also an important aspect a chiropractor will consider when planning treatment.

Consider these questions

Is the pain acute?

  • Does it last longer than a day, a week, a month?
  • How long have you had back pain?
  • If you’ve had back pain longer than about three months, it may be considered chronic pain.
  • Oftentimes, a back injury is not given the proper time and treatment to heal, which leads to chronic back pain.

Chiropractic solutions to back pain

Can a chiropractor really help alleviate back pain? Do I need to think about expensive surgery? Can natural remedies without drugs truly help me get back to the life I want to live without back pain? These are all valid and normal questions you should be asking when considering a visit to a chiropractor.

At Greenville Spine, we do everything possible to help you achieve your goals and get your body where you want it to be, which, in the cases of back pain, means working towards alleviating that pain without drugs or surgery. Through expert spine manipulation, consistent adjustments, and exercises done at home, the vast majority of my patients that come in with back pain experience extensive relief. How? Stay tuned to our next post where I’ll talk about how I work with patients who have back pain, give specific exercise to get you started on the path towards decreasing back pain, and why a chiropractor is a good option for those experiencing back pain.

1 B. Druss, Marcus, S., Olfson, M., and Pincus, H.A. (2002). “The Most Expensive Medical Conditions in America.” Health Affairs, 21(4): 105-111.
2. M. BenDebba, W. S. Torgerson, D. M. Long (1997). “Personality Traits, Pain Duration and Severity, Functional Impairment, and Psychological Distress in Patients with Persistent Low Back Pain.” Pain 72: 115-125.

 

5 tips on staying pain free this autumn

5 tips on staying pain free this autumn

5 tips on staying pain free this autumn

The cool, crisp air of fall feels so nice after the hot, stifling summer in the Upstate, doesn’t it? It makes you want to get outside and do all the things. Which is fantastic! But have you ever grabbed the rake, started to clean up your yard, and then after a few minutes, realized pain in your back? Maybe a muscle pull or you unexpectedly moved the wrong way. Ah, autumn. 

While we encourage physical activity as a way to enjoy the outdoors and stay healthy, making sure you prepare your body to avoid injury is key to making sure your time outside is as productive and happy as possible. 

Tip 1: Make sure your shoes are supportive

This may seem like an irrelevant point but the right shoes make a huge difference for any activity. Look for shoes that support your feet correctly and are comfortable. If you start to have leg, hip, or back pain, your shoes may be the culprit, especially if you’ve switched them recently. Shoes can throw off your gait, causing an imbalance in your hips, which can lead to back and shoulder pain.

Tip 2: Stretch before raking leaves

Before grabbing that rake to clean the backyard, do a few toe touches, leg stretches, and upper body stretches to loosen muscles, especially in the shoulders, upper back, and lower back. Raking leaves seems like such a mundane task but the repetitive motion can put unnecessary strain on the spine, especially if you have subluxations – misalignment of the vertebrae in the spine – that have not been reset or healed. 

If you do feel pain, sharp or dull, take it as a sign to stop and rest. You don’t want to push yourself by aggravating an injury. Use ice and make an appointment with Greenville Spine to get it checked out before continuing. 

Tip 3: Don’t underestimate those pumpkins

Taking your family to a pumpkin patch is great fun but sometimes, those pumpkins are heavier than they look. When picking up pumpkins, don’t forget to bend your knees to take pressure off your spine and don’t carry pumpkins that are too heavy. When you’re loading them into carts or the car, protect your spine when bending over or pushing pumpkins around in the trunk. Stretching beforehand can help prevent injury as well. 

Tip 4: Getting out on the trails

Hiking is a wonderful way to enjoy fall weather and beautiful leaves as they change colors. There are a host of benefits to hiking like lower blood pressure, an increase in muscle tone and strength, and better mental health. While there are many benefits, making sure to stretch, finding the right shoes, taking trekking poles, and getting the right fit for your backpack are all important to keep your spine healthy and avoid injury. This post gives you more details on how to enjoy your time on the trails.

Tip 5: Keep your appointments

While travel, work, school and getting outside are all part of the fall season, it’s key to keep your appointments with your chiropractor. By continuing your personalized treatment – or starting a new treatment program – your body will be more prepared to handle all your fall fun or catch an injury immediately after and heal faster. 

We want to see you enjoy our beautiful fall season and keep your mind and body healthy and your spine strong. Give us a call to schedule your appointment.

7 Chiropractic Tips for Hiking

7 Chiropractic Tips for Hiking

Mountains, waterfalls, stunning overlooks, secluded trails – it’s all right here in Greenville at the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There are hundreds of miles of trails within an hour or two driving distance just waiting to be explored. Many of my patients love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, whether it’s a tough trail or an easy stroll through the woods. Getting out in nature can do wonders for both mental and physical health. 

Hiking has many benefits, including:

  • Improved stability
  • Increase in bone density
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lessening the symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Increasing strength in your legs, hips, and glutes
  • Lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar levels

While the great outdoors is certainly incredible, as a chiropractor I see common injuries that could otherwise be prevented by following some simple steps to protect your spine while enjoying that fresh mountain air. Being mindful of these tips can help you not lose any time experiencing the beauty of nature that surrounds us here in Greenville, SC. 

Chiropractic Hiking tips

Follow these seven tips to have a fantastic hike while protecting your spine and staying in great condition outdoors. Many of these suggestions involve getting the right gear. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on high end gear – just make sure it fits you correctly. 

Finding the right shoes is crucial

Let’s start from the bottom up. Finding the right shoes to support your feet is crucial to avoiding injury and protecting the rest of your body as you trek along trails and over exposed roots and slippery rocks. There are a huge variety of hiking boots and trail running shoes available and it is best to go to an outfitter (locally, go to REI, Sunrift Adventures, or Half Moon Outfitters) and try on shoes before you purchase them.  Typically, you need to go up a half size since your feet will swell with heat. Make sure the tread has good grip and that the shoe is stable. Most outfitters will have a rock you can test the shoes out on. Having a good hiking shoe is critical to maintaining good posture, protecting your knees and back, and avoiding twisted ankles or falls. 

Trekking poles can be a lifesaver

Trekking poles, lightweight ski-like poles usually with a grip handle at top and point or rubber stopper at the bottom, can be a lifesaver in the woods because they can often stop you from falling. These can really help you to stabilize on wet, muddy, or slippery trails and prevent injuries. You can lean on them to help you as you move uphill or use them to stabilize yourself while coming down the trail, especially if your legs are already a little wobbly from an uphill climb.  Most poles will fold up so if you don’t need them, just put them in your backpack. They are great tools to use for hiking and preventing injury. 

Having a backpack that fits correctly 

Speaking of backpacks, having a backpack fit you correctly will take the strain off your neck, shoulders, and upper back. REI and other outfitters will fit you for a backpack right in their stores and help you make sure the straps are secured properly around your hips and the shoulder straps are where they need to be to avoid strain. The distribution of weight in your backpack, especially if you are carrying a child in a hiking backpack or going on a long backpacking trip, can make a world of difference. By having the correct fit for your backpack, you can avoid injuries not only to your neck and shoulders but also to your knees, hips, and ankles. 

Stretch before you hit the trails

It may seem like a silly thing to do in the middle of a parking lot or at the trailhead, but doing simple stretches for your legs, arms, and shoulders can help loosen the muscles and joints that are about to be used for your outdoor enjoyment. Stretching for a few minutes before you start hiking can prevent back pain as well by alleviating tension. Stretch your shoulders, your quads and hamstrings, your calves, and your neck before trekking off into the woods. Also take a few minutes to do those same stretches after your hike. It’s always a good idea to cool down your muscles before you head home. 

Drink enough water

Hydration is necessary while on the trail. Your muscles need water to work properly and prevent injury. Spinal discs are comprised of mostly water and receive nutrients through a process called imbibition, which requires ideal motion in the joints that are above and below the disc. Subluxations (a point where joints are not aligned correctly) can inhibit water getting to the discs, which can lead to degeneration. This is an important reason why chiropractic care is so critical to anyone who likes to move around, participate in sports, and of course, go hiking. While you are being treated to remove subluxations, hydration is so important, no matter what you may be doing or where you may be hiking. Always carry enough water while hiking and don’t forget to drink it.

Know your limits

While it would be amazing to hike the hardest trail to the highest mountain your first time out, you may be setting yourself for a negative outcome and injuries. Work up to the harder trails by hiking easier ones first. Plus, you’ll need to break in your hiking boots and backpack anyway. Knowing your body and how much you are able to push yourself without injury is important in any athletic activity but especially with hiking, being prepared and knowing when to push yourself and when to hold back can go a long way in preventing injuries. 

Get adjusted before your hike

Pounding the trails for miles puts pressure on your joints and forces your muscles to work hard for balance and stabilization. Your back, hips, and knees are all working together to get you where you need to go but taking a beating in order to get there. By getting properly adjusted before your hike, you will be starting off on a good foot. No pun intended.  If you’re new to hiking, seeing a chiropractor before you get on the trails is an excellent idea. You’ll know where the weaknesses in your body lie and take steps to prevent injury and be more mindful of actions that could lead to injury. If you’re a seasoned hiker, you likely know where your weaknesses and a good chiropractor can help relieve pain and get you back on the trails. 

Ready to hit the trails? If you need suggestions of where to go, see this great list.