Chiropractic care in infants with colic and failure to thrive

I was listening to my usual Wednesday morning chiropractic research podcast of the week where this article was discussed. Case studies, in the pecking order of published research, are a weaker link of evidence of effectiveness for anything you study, however they are still very useful in formulating hypotheses to test out in larger numbers and controlled environments. The article is unfortunately published in an journal that requires a paid subscription for full viewing, as there were interesting details in the full article. In particular, the author questioned the description of “ easy birth” in any circumstances where an epidural was used, since the birthing mom full not be able to sense what it happening to the child, especially if there is any difficulty clearing the birth canal, if the baby gets stuck along the way, or if there are strong contractions while the baby is unable to progress. I have found that to be very true in my own practice experience, with non-medicated moms being able to describe in useful details what was happening to their child at different stages of pelvic descent. But the bottom line of the article remains: children with nursing difficulties, colic and subsequent failure to thrive may benefit for a chiropractic evaluation

Chiropractic and SIDS

This may seem like a strange blog topic but, it was fresh in my mind after a visit to some extended family members in Montana. We went to tend to the family grave and I was reminded that the second child of 5 had died of SIDS at 15 months, back in the mid 70s.

The article on the causes of SIDS looks at a triad of risk factors that come together for a fatal outcome: a genetic predisposition, a vulnerable stage of neurological development, and a final environmental trigger. The latter one can be a variety of things, but it mostly involves some compromise of the autonomic centers in the brain stem that regulate breathing and heart rate. In the context of a chiropractic evaluation, any birth trauma to the upper cervical spine and lower cranial bones becomes that final environmental trigger and needs to be carefully assessed and gently corrected to remove the final risk factor for the developing infant or toddler.


Digestion, Chiropractic and its Neurological Connection

I was reading through Joe Leech’s recent article on the vagus nerve and its immense contribution to the functioning of the neurology of the digestive system, when I realized that it would make a great blog article. Tucked at the bottom of the article is a bit of detail on the anatomy of the vagus nerve, which has a convoluted path starting in the brain stem, traveling very closely to the upper cervical vertebrae before reaching pretty much all of your bowels. The vagus nerve was recognized early on by chiropractors as a major anatomical neurological structure affected by their work on the spine, especially the upper cervical vertebrae. A fact that remains true today and apparently slightly elusive to the author of this otherwise pretty informative article.


Debunking the Idea of the Inevitability of Low Back Pain: What You Can do to Lower Your Risk

One of the tricky questions I often get when patients are dealing with recurrent lumbar pain especially, is whether or not there is an inherited familial predisposition to develop lower back pain.

The answer is mostly no, but it still has a few shades of gray scales. You will inherit certain spinal characteristics from your parents: slight variations in the collagen protein that makes up your spinal discs, supporting ligaments, and some spinal congenital anomalies that increase the mechanical stress to your spine. And families can sometime engage in the same type of occupation or hobby that carries a higher risk of injuries. However, the majority of your risk is related to your individual risk factors such as injuries and lifestyle choices (and indeed we tend to learn a lot of our habits, good and bad, with our folks).

This large scale review of modifiable risk factors for low back pain was co-authored by a DC colleague, who brings a slightly more hands-on, clinical perspective to data interpretation. The bottom line: do not be fatalistic about your risk of developing lower back pain as inevitable and be diligent in doing your part. In addition to some well known predisposing risks such as smoking, obesity, and inactivity was another biggie that is often overlooked: chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep is when we repair our soft tissues from the strains of the day and chronic sleep shortage creates a very poor environment for your frame to maintain its integrity.

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The Impact of Chiropractic Care on Workplace Wellness

This article is a few years old but, as the saying goes, “an oldie but goodie”. The trend toward bringing health and wellness services directly to the workplace is picking up. This piece of research, even with its methodological limitations (single employer site, no control group), is still a breakthrough piece of research in backing up with data what employers have discovered: On site care has some very measurable benefits, in outcomes such as decreased sick days and absenteeism. But even if your employer does not provide those services, remember to provide those services to yourself.

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Preventing Chronic Adult Spinal Pain: Is Chiropractic part of a preventive solution?

I have been listening to a series of podcasts on pediatric chiropractic research recently. There is a lot of research on adult chiropractic care and a lot of research in general pediatric and adolescent healthcare, but pediatric and adolescent chiropractic research is comparatively sparse, which made this article all the more interesting. Countries with universal health insurance coverage are more likely to do these sort of studies, since there is not only a public health impact in acquiring knowledge about what prevents chronic, costly health conditions, but also a real economic and budgetary urgency since the buck falls on you alone from birth to end of life.

The hot topics of adolescent and young adult health have usually centered on mental health, substance abuse and reproductive health. However the research is also pretty clearly showing that adolescent and young adults are already in the process of developing the chronic illnesses that become more evident two decades later, namely neuromusculoskeletal and cardiometabolic. And the idea is to start addressing those when they begin a few decades earlier.


Real Food, Fake Foods, Calories and Major Weight Gain

This article reminded me of Stephan Guyenet’s fantastic book (The Hungry Brain), which discusses the biological brain based roots of obesity. We have been fooled into thinking that all calories affect the brain appetite regulating mechanism in the same way, although Guyenet, a world wide expert in brain body fat regulation had compiled enough scientific data to argue against that. The state of your food really matters on your weight. Real food, in the form nature offers, has a vastly different effect on your waistline than the processed food that makes up the majority of the American diet (and unfortunately of most of the so-called first world nations). This study is small in scale but to my knowledge the first of its kind in a controlled environment. The same amount of fat and carbs from a frozen pizza versus a juicy piece of meat and a plain baked potato have different effect.

What is most surprising to people is how many foods they consider “healthy” are really ultra-processed: breakfast cereal is ultra-processed while plain cooked steel cut oatmeal is not. The infamous granola bar is mostly a chemical bomb that tricks your brain into eating more, while some plain raw nuts and fruit are very satisfying to sense of being full and content. In a perfect world with endless hours I would go on, but for now try to stick with food that looks like it has just come out of the field, off the tree, the barn, or the water.