Elevate Chiropractic

Back To School Chiropractic with Elevate

Back to School!

Well that came quick! What a wonderful summer. Alas, September is here and that means school for the kiddos. What better time than now to consider some important points regarding your children and your own health and NeuroStructural well-being.

S L E E P. It’s time to get on schedule. Over the next week, slowly try to get the kids to bed a little earlier each day and get them up a little earlier progressively so that they aren’t shocked that first week back to school. Studies show it’s better on our cortisol and therefore stress levels.

F O O D. Consider less grains and more fruit and vegetables for breakfast. Jettison the cereals and consider eggs (any style, I like hard-boiled because they are easy), oatmeal and fruit as alternatives. This will keep away the brain drain of late morning. Pack vegetables and hummus, fruit and tree-nuts (almonds, cashews etc.) for an energetic lunch rather than empty calorie junk food. This can make homework time easier after school instead of lethargic zombie-children emerging from the bus each afternoon!

B A C K P A C K. Test fit the backpacks on the kids. Teach them to put the heaviest books closer to the back and keep the straps snug so that the shoulders aren’t pulled back. Also encourage them to only carry what they need to have with them to minimize weight.

E Y E S I G H T. This is something to consider since this will be the first classroom work in a few months. Ask them if they are seeing the teacher and the lessons clearly. Eye and neck strain and hence structural issues could ensue if it is not appropriately managed. You can ask us about it too at your next visit. 

T E X T I N G. This is a big one. Encourage kids to hold the device vertically; minimizing the flexion of the neck. Long term, this position can traction the spinal cord reducing neurological efficiency and likely setting the groundwork for bigger issues down the road.

So there you have it. A few points to consider. Since routines are being re-established, this is also a good time to re-assess yours and your children’s spine and nervous system. Early detection of issues can allow for the opportunity to properly restore and protect the NeuroStructural systems of the body.

See you all soon and happy back to school!

Photo by Peter Hershey via Unsplash

Wear Your Helmet

Bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, Vespas- the wheels of summer. One of the biggest things you can do to stay safe is to wear the appropriate headgear for the sport. Now you may be saying: “When I was a kid, we never wore helmets and we were fine.” Indeed you may be fine but in all likelihood, you were just lucky.

Let’s talk about the brain. The most important system in your body is your nervous system- the brain is the commander in chief. Very soft and even small forces can have a demonstrable effect on your squishy grey matter up there. While protected by the skull, sudden shocks from hitting non-deformable objects like say, the ground not only create a fracture risk, they also introduce a huge damaging force to the brain with zero buffer. Ouch!

The helmet is designed to absorb and help to decelerate the forces minimizing the shock to the brain. This is important for the first hit and even more importantly any subsequent hits.

Of important note, traumatic brain injury doesn’t have to rear its ugly head immediately either. Functional issues can surface months and even years later in the form of depression, memory loss and cognitive difficulties. Helmets have been shown to decrease the permanent injuries associated with head trauma.

If you do happen to fall and hit the helmet, it is best to replace the helmet immediately. Most are designed for one major impact only due to the type of shock absorbing foam used. It is cheap insurance to protect the most valuable part of you. Please wear a helmet!

Metabolism and Weight Management: A NeuroStructural Perspective

Patients often report issues with weight management, and as we know, most strategies deal with the dietary aspects of food selection, quantity and quality. Last week we answered patient questions about how much you may want to consume throughout the day to maintain ideal metabolism. While this is significant, it is important to consider something more fundamental, the control of metabolism via the nervous system.

For normal resting function of the body, two things must happen. First, there needs to be balance and maneuverability in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two sub-components, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Consider these the gas and brake pedals of the body respectively. When stressors are applied from the environment in the form of physical, chemical and emotional stress, the nervous system must react and adapt. Under optimal conditions, the body can react to these stressors going into sympathetic dominance and quickly move back to parasympathetic control. This is critical since the parasympathetic component directs cognitive, immune and digestive function.

The second is what is known as proper tone of the Vagus nerve, which is roughly translated as the wandering nerve. The Vagus nerve exits from under either side of the skull above the first cervical vertebrae, courses along the neck and connects to every visceral organ in the body and more. Consider it as another set of brakes. Appropriate “Vagal Tone” is essential to keep the body’s systems in check for proper function- this includes metabolic processes.

When there are structural shifts of the spine that affect the tension or tone of the spinal cord and the branching nerves, a reduction in neurological efficiency is created. This in turn obstructs the ability of the body to quickly rebound from stressors as well as maintain proper Vagal Tone. Further, a reduction in the parasympathetic response that controls cognitive thought, immune function and digestion will ensue creating secondary conditions as foggy thinking, reduced immune response, fatigue and sluggish metabolism. Clearly the last point can directly affect weight management- we can all relate to this.

It is for this reason that specific NeuroStructural assessment of the neurological and structural systems is necessary to determine their current state. Restoring the balance of the autonomic nervous system is critical in restoring metabolism to proper levels which will promote proper digestion and absorption!

How does your digestion respond optimally after a chiropractic adjustment?

Photo thanks to Brooke Cagel at Unsplash