More than 25 million Americans have asthma, 7 million of which are children. The National Institute of Health defines asthma as “a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.” Asthma typically begins during childhood and creates symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing (a whistling sound during respiration.)
Inflammation (irritation) causes swelling and sensitivity of the airways in the lungs. When the airways are extra sensitive, they adversely react to common inhaled substances such as pollen, tobacco smoke, pet dander, dirt and dust. When the airways react to these substances, they constrict or narrow. This narrowing makes it harder for air to pass through causing a wheezing sound. After prolonged irritation to these airways, the cells begin to produce mucus, causing further narrowing of the airways. When there is mucus build up in the lungs, the body’s natural response is to cough. This is what is responsible for the signs and symptoms of asthma.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Asthma:
- Coughing- usually worse at night or in the morning, often times making it difficult to sleep
- Shortness of breath- may easily feel out of breath, with or without exercise
- Chest tightness- may feel as if something is squeezing the chest or there is something heavy sitting on the chest
- Wheezing- high pitched whistling sound during respiration
Common “Triggers” of Asthma symptoms:
- Allergens – such as pollen, pet dander, dust, and grass
- Irritants- tobacco smoke, harsh chemicals, air pollution
- Colds and other viral upper-respiratory infections
- Exercise or strenuous physical activity
- Aspirin and other NSAID medications
If your baby is crying uncontrollably at the same time every day and nothing you do comforts the child, they may have colic. Colic is defined as “crying for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby.”
There is much controversy on what causes colic. Some sources say the cause is idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. Other sources say colic can be caused by allergies, lactose intolerance, an immature digestive system or simply, how the baby is fed. As chiropractors, we believe it is caused by an excess of abdominal gas and/or constipation. There are a number of chiropractic techniques that have shown great success with increasing gut motility, thus decreasing the incidence of gas, constipation, and discomfort.
Signs and Symptoms of Colic:
- Crying at the same time each day
- Crying without being able to be comforted
- Crying more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby
Because babies are constantly touching things that carry many germs and often putting toys in their mouths, they can catch colds very easily. The reason is, their immune systems are not quite as strong as adults. Chiropractic adjustments regulate the nervous system and thus, allow the immune system to function properly.
Babies are also very likely to get ear infections. Babies and children have very short, horizontal Eustachian tubes (tube that connects the ear to the throat) which are more prone to infection than adults long, vertical Eustachian tubes. There are many techniques used in chiropractic to open up the Eustachian tube to allow for drainage, relieving the earache.
When the child with a cold or ear infection is adjusted, the nervous system is freed from irritation and allows the immune system to fight off the infection. When the nervous and immune systems are properly working, the baby may sleep better as well. When baby sleeps better, so do mom and dad!
Chiropractic is a great conservative way to treat your little ones. Evidence supports chiropractic success for common childhood disorders such as ear infections and colds.
Torticollis, otherwise known as “wry-neck,” is a common presentation in newborns, in which their head appears to be turned (and maybe tilted) to one side. Although, it usually occurs at or shortly after the birthing process, it can present weeks, months, or even years down the road.
The most common form of torticollis is congenital torticollis, meaning the baby was born with the condition. This type is most likely caused by an improper position of the head (causing spinal misalignments and muscle tension) while the baby was in the womb. It can also occur due to damage or injury to the muscles, nerves or blood supply to the neck. A less common form, which presents in older children and adults, is known as “acquired torticollis.” Acquired torticollis is caused by injury to the head/neck, spinal misalignments, ear infections, colds, and swollen lymph nodes.
Torticollis, both congenital and acquired, is often temporary and treatable. The sooner the condition is recognized and treated, the less likely it will reoccur (especially in infants). Conservative treatments include chiropractic adjustments, stretching the involved tight muscles, and physical therapy. Invasive and last resort options include medications such as muscle relaxants or even surgery in which tight muscles are cut to release tension.
Although congenital torticollis is generally painless in the infant, acquired torticollis can be painful in the child or adult.
Signs and Symptoms of Torticollis:
- Chin turned to one side
- Head tilt to the opposite side of chin
- Painful or stiff neck
- Inability to turn head freely
- High shoulder on one side
- Facial asymmetry or flattening
To read research articles on Torticollis, Click below:
Research shows that children are literally being weighed down by their backpacks. It is suggested that a child should carry no more than 10% of their body weight. By carrying more than 10% of their weight, pressure increases on the spine, leading to postural changes. After prolonged stress on the spine, symptoms may arise. These symptoms may include intermittent back pain, neck pain and possibly numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.
Research shows, if a child age 11-15 begins to experience back pain, it is more likely that they will experience back pain as an adult as well. If we can make responsible changes now, it is less likely that we will need to fix these problems later. If your child leans forward or their posture changes when wearing their backpack it is probably too heavy.
- Always use both straps when wearing a backpack
- Buy a backpack with thick shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly
- Choose a backpack made of lightweight material and has multiple compartments for better weight distribution
- Adjust the straps so that the backpack sits above the waist to reduce pressure on the spine
- Use a “roller” backpack
- Only carry necessary items in backpack
- Utilize lockers when provided to decrease backpack weight