Your posture has been the center of attention ever since you started to walk. Stand up straight, sit up – we have all probably heard that at one time or another. It usually came from one parent or another, maybe even possibly both. Little did we know back then just how much that may have actually helped us. Your posture impacts more than just your spine, it has a ripple effect on your entire life. Our spines house and protect the entire nervous system. Our nervous system controls and coordinates the function of everything within the body. Poor neck posture changes the biomechanics of the spine and the way your body functions.
Did you know that for every inch your head moves forward, it is equivalent to adding 10 pounds that the neck muscles must hold up? As you are reading this, you may be staring down at a screen either in your hand or at your desk – as that is happening, your head is taken off the vertical plane and bent forward up to 45 degrees. If you do this for most of the day, the results can be excruciating. Below is a list of health issues that your posture may be contributing to.
Forward or anterior head carriage is when the head is too far forward in relationship from the opening of the ear canal over the top of the shoulder. When the head moves too far forward, it results in immense pressure on the spinal nerves and muscles. With increased pressure on the nerves, especially in the upper part of the neck, symptoms like headaches occur. 95% of headaches are a result of neck problems.
As the forward head carriage gets worse, further dysfunction within the upper cervical spine occurs and can result in vertigo or dizziness.
As stated earlier; for every inch your head moves forward it is adding an extra 10 pounds of weight that the neck muscles must account for. As the head continues to slowly move forward over time this also adds pressure and tension to the brachial plexus which sends nerves down the arms into the hands.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) afflicts an estimated three to four million children. It is most often thought of as a medical disorder requiring medical treatment, namely mind-altering drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.
There is no standard definition or standard of treatment for ADHD. The psychologist sees a mental disorder, the medical doctor looks at a neurochemical imbalance, the neurologist perceives a brain dysfunction, and the teacher observes a discipline problem. Then they attempt to treat these symptoms from their perspective, while failing to see the whole picture. While each therapy has some limited success in certain cases, they are puzzled at their failures when extending their treatment to all cases.
When looking to get better results for your treatment of ADHD you should address all 3 major aspects which include the following…
A recent study from Harvard showed that when people who adopted powerful postures (open shoulders and straight spines) had a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels—but people who slouched had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. That translates into low self-confidence and high stress. In a second study from San Francisco State University, students were told to either walk down a hall in a slouched position or to skip. The slouchers reported increased feelings of depression and lower energy than skippers. It is clear to see change your posture, change your health. Since Chiropractors focus on correcting vertebral subluxations and their affects on the nervous system, proper Chiropractic care can be a vital part in improving the lives of those with ADHD.
This area is best treated with a strict diet. Things to avoid if you or a loved one is suffering with ADHD.
The root cause in many cases of ADHD is often related to malfunctioning in the Brain Reward Cascade. Humans very survival is dependent on the drive for pleasure. Whether eating, loving, working, or playing, the sense of pleasure is derived from the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nervous system. This results in the “natural reward” of pleasure. When there is an insufficiency of dopamine production or transportation, it requires ever increasing stimulation to achieve a sense of satisfaction. This can be seen in the hyperactive response of those with ADHD. Consider how people respond positively to safety, warmth and a full stomach. If these needs are threatened or are not being met, we experience discomfort and anxiety. It has been found that the primary reward centers are in the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens, and the hypothalamus of the brain, along with the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves, and the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neuro-Biology have discovered that there are neurons in the spinal cord which project directly to the amygdala and the orbital cortex. These neurons transfer somatosensory information which ultimately affects one’s autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral functions. When the limbic system (especially the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and the dorsal nerve roots) is free of interference, only then can it function normally. When out of balance, the Brain Reward Cascade does not function properly and the symptoms of Reward Deficiency Syndrome including ADHD appear. In fact, this link between the spine, brain stem dysfunction and ADHD is common. A thorough chiropractic examination can reveal noticeable spinal distortion, even a reversal of the normal neck curve. This is why children and adults who suffer with ADHD should look to add safe and natural chiropractic adjustments to help reduce the accompanying nervous system tension.
Some reasons for postpartum pain can be tied into the hormones that a woman’s body releases during her pregnancy. As I discussed in last weeks blog the hormone “Relaxin” is responsible for the softening of the ligaments essential for the delivery of the newborn baby. This hormone can take about 5 months to leave your body if you are not breastfeeding and can last up until 12 months if you are. Because of this you are much more prone to sprains and hurting yourself than you would be normally. The most common conditions that we see in our office after delivery are listed below and can respond with the same success that you may have experienced during your pregnancy.
You might find that your whole body is sore, from laboring in different positions and pushing. This might be a shock. You assume certain parts of your body would be sore, like your bottom, but why are your arms and legs sore?
We weren’t joking when we said labor was a marathon, and even a short labor can cause muscle strain and stiffness.
Sometimes your hips can really be sore as well. This can be from having your legs placed in stirrups for hours upon hours, or having your support team pull your legs in odd positions.
Your back might be sore if you had an epidural or if you had people using counter pressure from back pain in labor.
You may also experience pain in joints throughout your body, including your hands, wrists, feet, and ankles. These pains may be due to the position you were in during delivery and recovery.
Your joints may also still be affected by the chemical changes during pregnancy that caused them to loosen. Carpal tunnel syndrome, pain in your wrists due to compression of nerves as they travel through the wrist to the hand, can take longer to go away and contribute to postpartum pain.
You may experience more frequent or more severe headaches after delivery. This can be due to changing hormones, stress, and sleeplessness. However dehydration often plays a leading role in headaches. Dehydration is especially likely if you are breastfeeding. Try to keep a full bottle of water close by to sip throughout the day.
Back pain is common during pregnancy. You may find that you still have back pain after delivery, although for different reasons. These can include the strain of labor and delivery or using an awkward posture while holding or breastfeeding your baby.
With time and with the aid of a treatment plan, postpartum pain will subside and you will feel more like yourself.
It is important for the expecting mother and everyone involved to stay well-informed of circumstances women encounter during pregnancy, particularly normal circumstances. Being well-informed of these circumstances along with when and why they occur makes the treatment change from trimester to trimester of the expectant mother.
Morning sickness is common during the first trimester of pregnancy. The woman tends to be nauseated with or without the presence of vomiting. Multiple etiologies have been cited as reasons for morning sickness. Hormonal influence on the GI tract, the growing uterus and emotional situations are among the most common. Changes in taste and smell also can occur with pregnancy. This can leave the woman hypersensitive to certain tastes or smells: tastes and smells that were not disturbing before. Nausea and/or vomiting may result from these hypersensitivities. Nausea and vomiting may prevent adequate nourishment, resulting in weight loss of 5 pounds or less. Weight loss of greater than 5 pounds is a concern and should be investigated.
As the uterus grows during gestation, the round ligaments supporting the uterus are placed under tension. This tension can lead to stretching, resulting in lower abdominal and/or groin pain. This pain can be unilateral or bilateral and often occurs when the expectant mother shifts positions. This condition is most common in the second trimester. During the second trimester fatigue is another common occurrence. Factors that induce fatigue: increased energy requirements, stress placed on postural muscles as a result of weight gain, shifts in the center of gravity and sleep disturbances. Fatigue associated with weight gain will get worse if the patient gains more weight than expected during the pregnancy.
Edema in the extremities is common during pregnancy especially during the third trimester. This is a result of decreased lymphatic flow and increased venous pressure. Significant swelling of the lower legs occurs as a result of these changes. Gastrointestinal symptoms are common once again in the third trimester and throughout pregnancy. Esophageal reflux can occur when hormonal changes result in relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach contents to back up into the esophagus, creating “heart burn.” As the baby grows the most during this final trimester the increased abdominal size causes a shift in the center of gravity and increased strain on postural muscles. This is further complicated due to the production of the hormone relaxin during the third trimester. Relaxin’s function is to loosen ligaments of the pelvis to allow expansion of the pelvis and birth canal during delivery. The result in increased postural strain on a now- unstable frame. Relaxin is not target specific and circulates systemically so it can affect joints other than those of the pelvis, causing further postural and skeletal complications. As a result of postural changes the body makes during the three trimesters and an increase in relaxin during the final trimester it makes treatment of these gestational changes usually quite responsive to chiropractic care. A special point must be made regarding the effects of relaxin. The effects of the hormone are not reversed until 3-4 months post – partum. This means chiropractic care during the first three to four months post – partum is as important as care during the pregnancy.
Next weeks blog I will cover treatment after delivery for the mother and starting care for the newborn.