Photo Credit: dudeiwantthat.com
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
The Wonders of the Neti Pot
As many of you know… I can talk about the neti pot all day. I think this product is one of the greatest inventions of modern times!! Now, I know not everyone loves to see and feel the neti pot doing its job, but it is a wonderful way to naturally rid your sinuses of congestion and infections. And when you are pregnant and not a lot of options as far as decongestants go, this is a wonderful alternative!!
The word Neti means “nasal cleansing” and comes from ancient India. It has been around for over 5,000 years!!! Yoga masters used this technique to help with mediation. They felt they could get to a higher and deeper state of mind. Some yogi’s also believed it helped with mood swings and addictions as well. The neti pot was then massed produced in the early 1970s and has since become a favorite for those of us looking to relieve the sinus pressure naturally!
Benefits of the Neti Pot
- Lessen the time of cold, flu, or allergy
- Relieve the pressure of sinus headaches
- Help reduce pollen from the nasal passage
- Remove mucous
- Allows for easier breathing
- Great for post nasal drip
- Allows for easier breathing
Using the neti pot is pretty simple and oddly satisfying. You can get a simple pot at most of the chain stores. And most come with packets of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. Usually under $20. You can get ceramic to metal ones at health food stores or online. Now, from personal experiences, I highly suggest the packets!! I have tried just plain water, and it did not feel well. But, it is all up to you. I like to use filtered water if I can. I don’t use it all the time, but I try to as much as possible.
How to use the Neti Pot
Add one packet to the warm water and let them mix. I like to start with draining my most clogged nasal passage first. This means the pot is pouring the water into the good side and the clogged side is towards the sink. And let the magic begin!! I use about half the pot per nasal passage. Depending on what is going on with you our your child, the nasal mucous could be green or yellow which could be an infection to clear which could be allergies. When in doubt, call your primary physician. If there is a bad infection, there may be some blood mixed in. When you have done one side, gently blow your nose. You want to rid the body of the mucus, which is inflammation. I always tell my patients “better out than in!” You will instantly feel the pressure release!!! It is amazing!!!
I start to use the neti pot at the first sign of a cold coming on. I will do this 3-4 times a day if it is really bad. And use that over the course of 2-3 days if need be. It really cuts down the time of the cold or allergy. And can help you get some sleep at night due to your breathing better!
Other recommendations to follow the neti pot. Get Adjusted!!! It helps with aligning your body and helps with draining your sinuses as well. Watch your dairy, gluten, wheat, and sugar as they can be inflammatory. Stay hydrated with water. Get Sleep and make sure you are getting you vitamin D!
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
Benefits of Dry Brushing
I am a huge fan of dry brushing to help with lymph drainage. But, there are so many other benefits of dry brushing as well. First off, let’s talk about why lymph is so important!
Lymph system helps with keeping us healthy! Aids in boosting our immune system. The lymph system contains tissues and organs through out our body to help us eliminate waste and toxins. When we are sick, the lymph node can swell due to increased lymph fluid. As our body starts to get rid of the virus or bacteria, the lymph nodes should start to decrease. But that is not always the case. We also have other organs that help with maintaining a healthy body:
As you can see, these are pretty important organs, and why I am not always happy of people getting rid of their tonsils and adenoids. If they are swollen, we have to figure out why!!!! Not just get rid of them!!
Dry brushing is an amazing way to help our bodies get lymph fluid moving to keep us healthy!
Other benefits of Dry Brushing:
- Helps with Digestion!!! You all know I am all about pooping!!!
- Exfoliates your skin. Your skin will be sooo soft and smooth, and some of my patients notice more even skin color tone.
- Can help with cellulite. Helps to move stored fat around.
- Improve circulation of the body.
- Helps you feel more energized! I like to do my brushing in the morning before my shower. I will help wake you up and set the tone for the day.
- Less swelling in hands and feet.
- Stimulates the nervous system!! As a chiropractor, it is super important! Every cell, muscle, organ are controlled by your nervous system. That is why spinal alignments are just as important as dry brushing. Dry brushing helps tostimulate our senses especially touch.
- Can help alleviate stress and anxiety which can lead to better mental health! Being happy and grateful can help with improved circulation and improved immune function.
As you can see, dry brushing extends beyond just the lymph system!
How to Dry Brush:
- I always start at my feet and you want to brush up your leg towards the center of your body towards your groin. I do my standing using my bed to stabilize me. Work all over your feet, then calf, then thigh. As you get to know your legs you will start to feel some knots or areas that may need more attention and go over them a little more often or vigorously. Just not too hard to effect your skin. I spend about 15-30 seconds per area. So, one leg may take 45-60 in total.
- Next, I then start working in my hands and arms. Here I hold my arm in the air and work downward towards my armpit, breast, and heart. Make sure you are getting into the armpit as it will tickle but very important! Spend about 60 seconds each side.
- Then I will do face and neck. Do lightly or have a separate brush for face and neck that is a bit softer. There again, brush downwards toward the heart. I spend 20-30 seconds on this area.
- Next, is back and glutes. This is not the easiest. Do the best you can. My brush has a long handle. I try to go circular or downward over my back. For my glutes, I start int he middle and move outward to the front of my groin. 30-60 seconds
- Chest area including breast, brush downward to the abdomen. Lifting the breast as well to get underneath. I spend 20-30 seconds on chest and breast.
- The abdomen is where you want to spend the most time and most important for elimination. Sometimes I will lay not the bed on my back, but not necessary. Start over the bladder just above the pubic bone and brush in a clockwise direction until you get back to the bladder again. You are going in the same direction of your bowel and this will help with elimination. I spend 1-2 minutes just on the abdomen alone.
I like to dry brush 1-2 times a week. I usually do in-between my epsom salt baths. Opposite days. I will do it more if my legs are sore form working out, or if I am feeling sick.
I use a bamboo brush. You can spend as much as you want. My brush was about $20. You can find a dry brush is most bath stores, Amazon, or health foods stores.
Puberty is a time of life that we don’t often sit and reflect on; however, there will be a time in which parenthood presents the chance to relive all of the acne, cramping, back pain, emotional rollercoasters, and slamming doors through the lives of our children. I’m not exactly looking forward to this time when my own daughter will go through it, but I plan to help her as much as possible.
There are several things to note before I dive into why seeing a chiropractor throughout the onset of puberty (and continuation of menstruation) is beneficial. The first being the average age of puberty is growing lower each year. This is a scary realization, when you see 10-year-old girls needing to grow up before they are ready. But this is the reality we are currently living in. Our hormone-injected, processed and sprayed food, vaccines, water supply, and pesticide-filled environment may be to blame, and other than living in a bubble, it can be very hard to avoid all of these possible exposures.
As one enters puberty, the body is experiencing a multitude of things:
The body is growing at a more rapid pace than normal, causing the muscles and spine to misalign which can add to already mounting emotional and physical stress during this trying time. The pain may come across as increased emotional outbursts, growing pains, or back pain.
Cartilage is hardening. Puberty is a crucial time for bone development, as the flexible cartilage that had allowed for growth in childhood hardens into true bone.
Hormones raging. There is no better way to describe the hormone distribution that is occurring throughout puberty. Hormones serve as messengers traveling through the bloodstream. Hormones can be responsible for:
- Sleep Patterns
- Sexual Arousal
When the body is out of alignment, hormones cannot travel from point A to point B efficiently.
Sports and physical activities intensify around this stage of life. As the competition increases, the physical toll on the body does too. Many teenagers begin lifting weights, increasing work outs, hitting harder on the field, and taking harder hits themselves. Even when not competing, the feeling of invisibility seems to soar throughout puberty, inviting daring jumps, awkward landings, and crazy stunts. All of which can cause misalignments of the spine.
Books are heavier. Chiropractors everywhere have a bone to pick with our school system and the amount of weight our children are supposed to carry around each day. As the grade levels increase, the weight and number of books seem to increase as well. Carrying this amount of weight around is bound to leave a body needing adjustment. When you add in the overall changes occurring throughout puberty, it’s a recipe for extreme discomfort.
Gentle adjustments by a chiropractor can help a child throughout the transition of puberty. By keeping the body aligned, there is a higher probability that hormones can quickly rebalance, neurons can properly fire and be received, the body can handle greater impacts, and the symptoms of puberty remain calm and mild. For girls, what they think may just be back problems may actually be displaced pain from the reproductive organs. These organs depend upon a healthy nervous supply from the lower spinal column. If these nerves going between the reproductive organs and the spine are somehow blocked, it can lead to menstrual pain, cramping, and irregularities. Putting the lower spine back into proper alignment with chiropractic adjustments will relieve the pressure on these nerves going to the reproductive organs, relieving both menstrual and lower back pain.
Regular chiropractic care aids in all of the stages of life and should not be overlooked throughout puberty.
It’s hard to overlook the articles circulating on social media right now. Miralax is under fire -for good reason- and parents are crying out for another answer to their child’s constipation issues. I feel the need to speak out on this because so many families don’t think to talk to a chiropractor about this problem.
I see many families who do come in with an infant begging, “Help her poop!” And the relief I hear in their voices later that day (when they call to excitedly thank me) is wonderful! When taking care of a new baby, you follow their bowel movements so closely, and you notice every tiny struggle. But something happens after the diapers come off, when the babies turn to children. Somehow parents miss the constipation until it turns in to chronic stomach aches, backaches, crying, and debilitating pain. By this point, parents are reaching for any over-the-counter option they can find – suppositories, laxatives, miralax, whatever looks promising… but there are better options.
While you can read more about natural options on the blog HERE and HERE, I have yet to break down solely why chiropractic care is a very important factor in aiding a child’s digestive system and can be key in getting them to have a bowel movement regularly.
Research shows that between 5-28% of children today suffer from chronic constipation. These children worsen the cycle by fearing to go when the feeling arises due to the pain. But regular chiropractic care can help.
A chiropractor finds the subluxations – think ‘energy blockers’ – within the body. These blockages prevent the nervous system from completing its job of firing neurons to their destination in a timely manner. As the nervous system controls everything within the body, this can be detrimental, and can surely effect the gastrointestinal track. Typically, patients suffering from constipation are found to have subluxations through the center and lower portions of the spine. These areas are linked to the colon and intestines, and a subluxation within this area causes inflammation, which can trigger constipation. A gentle chiropractic adjustment can be enough to allow for easy bowel movements again.
It’s important to note that chiropractic care is not a one-time-fix. Regular visits are needed to maintain proper alignment within the body. This, combined with a diet void of dairy, processed foods, and high in protein, fiber, and real whole foods may be enough to keep a child using the bathroom regularly.
October is Sensory Awareness Month. Sensory processing disorder is becoming a more well-known diagnosis among children, those on and off of the autism spectrum. The label is still not recognized by many medical professionals, but I can tell you that SPD exists. As a chiropractor, I work with many children (and adults) who struggle with processing their emotions. That is what SPD comes down to: sensory triggers that cause a spiral of emotions in which the individual cannot control.
Sensory Processing Disorder in simple terms is a misinterpretation of sensory information. We have 5 main senses: touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight. While any of these senses can become overwhelmed within the brain, an SPD child cannot figure out how to let go of the situation. The proprioceptive and vestibular systems play a huge role in regulating the incoming sensory information. The vestibular system is located from the base of the brain to the upper neck and inner ear. The proprioceptive system calls the entire spine and joints of the body home. This is why, when a sensory child is caught in an episode, he may seem to be in pain. His joints may hurt. His ears may ring. He may feel itchy like his skin is crawling. Even when not triggered, a child with SPD may feel constantly ‘off.’ They may not actually know ‘normal.’ This is why so many children may be misdiagnosed with ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc.
A sensory child does not fit in a mold. A few common signs parents notice (this is not an exhaustive list by any means) include:
- Not handling things such as loud noises, being dirty, getting wet, wearing structured clothing, wearing loose clothing, wearing tight clothing, bright light, crowded spaces, having hair washed/brushed, getting fingernails or toenails cut, receiving an unexpected hug; walking barefoot, wearing shoes, getting buckled, or certain textures.
- Doesn’t notice when touched; almost always prefers sedentary activities to active ones; seems unaware of bodily sensations such as heat, cold, or hunger
- Needs to be touching someone, something, or everything he passes. Hugs too strongly and doesn’t know his own strength.
- Dislikes foods with certain textures.
- Cannot be anywhere without his primary caregiver.
- Often struggles with speech.
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Is passive, quiet, slow to respond to directions.
- Is excessively cautious and afraid to try new things.
- Is upset by transitions or unexpected changes.
- Avoids group activities.
- Wants to spin, slide or swing excessiely, and is constantly moving.
- Is accident-prone and has difficulty with physical skills such as catching a ball.
Children with SPD experience their meltdowns due to one of three reasons:
- The brain not receiving messages due to a disconnection in the nerve cells
- Sensory messages received inconsistently
- Sensory messages received consistently, but not connecting properly with other sensory messages.
Enabling a functioning vestibular and proprioceptive systems are key to aiding a healthy sensory connection. Vertebral subluxations (misalignments) of the spine may cause a disconnect between the brain and these sensory systems. An irritation can cause this misalignments – birth position, birth trauma, a fall, stress, etc. Chiropractic care removes neurological imbalances by realigning the spine. Within weeks of proper adjustments, a SPD child’s spine may begin to heal. Improvements with sensory triggers should occur, meaning the meltdowns should improve quite a bit. Motor skills, social skills, even speech may see vast improvements throughout chiropractic care.
Along with seeing a chiropractor, a diet free of processed foods, dyes, and gluten will greatly benefit a child suffering with sensory processing disorder. There may be more specific foods that a child reacts to, and an elimination diet (such as the Feingold diet) can help pinpoint the exact triggers.
It is not easy parenting a child with sensory processing disorder. Many pass judgement and try to blame the behavior on parenting styles of lifestyle choices, but the truth is that SPD is real. Occupational therapy, chiropractic care, dietary and lifestyle changes will all improve a family’s daily happiness.
‘Tis the season that we see pregnant women in the office asking for ways to naturally induce labor.
Around the holidays it seems that pregnant women are put on the clock before they are even in labor. Those who are due within a week of a holiday are typically given the option to induce labor as to avoid giving birth on the holiday itself. In the past year, full-term pregnancies have been relabeled to 39 weeks instead of 37 weeks due to the highest (and at that point, still rising) c-section rates of all time. Women were being electively induced as early as they could be (37 weeks), with the doctors leading the induction discussions.
It is so tempting to have the opportunity to not give birth on an actual holiday. Sharing a birthday on such a momentous day is challenging. It’s also inviting to have an exact end-date to the uncomfortableness that is pregnancy, but medically inducing pregnancy does not have to be your first choice.
Being induced generally includes the use of the drug Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin. In 2012, a study was conducted by Australian and New Zealand Journal of Gynaecology that showed the use of Pitocin leads to “great pain and suffering, including serious unintended and adverse health effects to both mother and infant.” The study witnessed:
- Increased use of regional analgesia (65 vs. 22% control group*)
- Increased use of instruments for delivery (21 to 18% control group*)
- Increased use of Cesarean section (29 to 14% control group*)
*control group did not receive oxytocin
The researchers concluded that synthetic oxytocin use increased “severe” maternal and neonatal morbidity and increased the doubled the risk of c-section. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19821304
Pitocin Side Effects (directly from the manufacturer’s drug insert):
- Anaphylactic reaction
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Fatal afibrinogenemia
- Premature ventricular contractions
- Pelvic hematoma
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Hypertensive episodes
- Rupture of the uterus
According to the same drug insert, the infant may suffer from the intensification of uterine contractions or “motility” in the following ways:
- Premature ventricular contractions
- and other arrhythmias
- Permanent CNS or brain damage
- Fetal death
- Neonatal seizures have been reported
Inducing your labor can potentially lead to issues with baby:
- Problems breathing and keeping warm
- Feeding problems because they may have more trouble sucking and swallowing
- Newborn jaundice, which causes their skin and the white part of their eyes to look yellow
- A longer hospital stay after they are born or be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- Are more often readmitted to the hospital with problems
- A smaller and less developed brain when they are born.
The problem is that many women are quickly approaching their due date, or already have surpassed it, and the doctor is presenting them with an induction date.
If this is you, and you are begging for ways to help get labor started before a doctor does, then read on.
You need to know that no induction method will bring a baby earthside who is not ready to be born. Medically, this is known as a failed induction and ends in c-section. But if baby is ready, natural induction methods can trigger labor. Also, make sure that you are at least 39 weeks (or more) before trying to induce labor.
What is developing and changing within baby at 39 weeks gestation:
- Advanced muscle development: Aiding with the suck swallow motion of nursing
- Body temperature control
- Further brain development
- Higher body fat
- Advanced body system development: lung development, digestive system, nervous system, etc
Natural Labor Induction Methods
Sex: Sex is a commonly suggested method of natural induction due to semen containing prostaglandins, which help to ripen the cervix. Consider a relaxing bath first; making sure the body is not tensed. Please note, that sex is safe throughout the entire pregnancy and is not linked to premature rupture of membranes or early labor.
Chiropractor: Not only can chiropractic care ease symptoms during pregnancy, there is research that show it can ease delivery time and pain as well. Research found that women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy have approximately 6 fewer hours of labor than women who did not receive care. Chiropractors who specialize in pregnancy (Webster Technique) can not only ease pain, but they can manipulate baby’s position, turning him into the best place to begin labor. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/ and http://www.prlog.org/10119754-decreased-labor-time-with-chiropractic-care.html
Nipple Stimulation: Stimulating the nipples (including your areola, as a baby would when sucking) triggers the production of natural oxytocin. Oxytocin contracts the uterus. Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes (when there are no contractions), then wait to see what happens (around 15 mins or so) before doing more. It’s a good idea to take your mind off things by getting on with your usual duties than sitting and waiting for something to happen – so try and keep busy! Once labor is well established again, stop the stimulation. http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/nipple-stimulation-how-to-do-nipple-stimulation-for-labour
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to induce women who are post dates in their pregnancy. Most of the time one treatment is all that is needed to get the process going. Sometimes a second treatment may be needed. Through continual research, it’s been found that induction using acupuncture generally works within 6-48 hours of having your treatment http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922252
Acupressure/Trigger Points: You can find a wonderful reference of acupressure for pregnancy and birth here: http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/download-booklet/
- The first area on the body used for stimulating labor is located between the thumb and index finger. This point is actually the “webbing” between these two areas. Techniques vary, but this pressure point can be pressed and rubbed for several seconds or simply pressed firmly for approximately one minute and then released. This technique can also be used during active labor to relieve pain.
- The next area of the body used for stimulating labor is the ankle. This area actually has two different pressure points. The first pressure point is located on the outside of the ankle, just behind where the bony prominence is. Just like the first mentioned location, techniques vary but the pressure point can be rubbed or pressed for several seconds or one minute. The other ankle pressure point is inside the leg, above the ankle. This area may be difficult to find but it is more sensitive to touch than the rest of the leg.
- Another area is located on the back, above the buttocks and lower back. This area can also be pressed or massaged as tolerated.
Homeopathy— Homeopathic remedies use highly diluted versions of more potent substances to treat the body. Pulsatilla and Caulophyllum are two commonly used homeopathic remedies used to stimulate labor.
Evening Primrose Oil: EPO may not induce labor, but it can prime and soften your cervix. You may take the oil orally or insert it vaginally for the best results.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Keeping you hydrated, as well as simulating contractions, RRL Tea has been used to tone the uterus and possibly bring labor on if the baby is ready.
Cinnamon stick tea: Take cinnamon sticks and boil them into a tea and drink. It actually tastes good so even if it doesn’t bring on labor it may help you to relax.
Clary Sage Oil: One of the numerous health beneﬁts of clary sage essential oil is to promote relaxation and pain relief during labor. It is specifically useful where muscular tension arises from mental or emotional stress. Mix CSO with a carrier oil (Like Coconut Oil) and rub on before using acupressure for best labor-educing results.
Pineapple: Most tropical fruits such as pineapples, mango, papaya, and kiwi contain proteolytic enzymes, enzymes which break down protein and are thought to have certain medicinal properties. Pineapples have been used as an anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, diuretic, and also to induce labor. Bromelain, a type of proteolytic enzyme found in pineapples, may help to soften the cervix which could explain how it helps to bring on labor. Since it is also used as a digestive aid, it may stimulate the bowels to move, which could bring on contractions as well.
Wide Squats, Stair lunges, and Curb Walking: Walking on an uneven surface such as a curb or lunging up the stairs can help drop baby into a lower and engaged position for labor to begin. Squatting reduces the birth canal by 10% and helps to get baby into the lowest position for birth.
Exercise/Walking: The pressure of your baby’s head pressing down on the cervix stimulates the release of oxytocin, hopefully bringing on labor, also just being upright gets the forces of gravity working for you, encouraging the baby to move down into the pelvis.
Castor Oil: Rubbing two tablespoons of castor oil on the belly (around the uterus) can possibly cause contractions, leading to labor.
Enemas or other bowel preparations (drinking castor oil): This causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract. Use with caution as castor oil can cause vicious diarrhea.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months; draining your energy and making you feel moody.
Typically, symptoms progressively worsen throughout the fall and winter months, as the days shorten and exposure to natural daylight lessens.
Those suffering from SAD feel depressed, irritable, and tired. Their activity levels decrease and they find themselves in bed more often. This depression disorder not only affects their health, but it also affects their everyday life, including their job performance and friendships.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of major depression.
Symptoms of major depression may be part of SAD, such as:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Having low energy
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
A diagnosis of SAD can be made after three consecutive winters of symptoms if they are also followed by complete remission in the spring and summer months.
Symptoms linked only to SAD (not full depression): http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sad
- Depression: misery, guilt, loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, despair, and apathy
- Anxiety: tension and inability to tolerate stress
- Moodchanges: extremes of mood, especially dealing with rejection
- Sleep problems: desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake or, sometimes, disturbed sleep and early morning waking
- Irritability: Cranky feelings towards others
- Lethargy: feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine
- Feeling Heavy: The arms and legs feel heavier and harder to utilize
- Overeating, Appetite Changes, and Weight Gain: craving for starchy and sweet foods resulting in weight gain
- Socialproblems: irritability and desire to avoid social contact
- Sexualproblems: loss of libido and decreased interest in physical contact
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (Seasonal Depression)?
As sunlight has affected the seasonal activities of animals for as long as we have researched, SAD may be an effect of this seasonal light variation in humans. Animals hibernate and/or tend to have a change in reproductive cycles, along with diet changes and activity and energy decreases. There seems to be a shift if the human’s biological internal clock (circadian rhythm) due to the changes in light exposure on a daily basis. Even though the temperatures are dropping, and many people want to place blame on this changing air, SAD is linked to the lack of daylight and not freezing temperatures. Sunlight triggers and limits the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. An over-supply of melatonin is linked to symptoms of depression. The sleep-related hormone is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and is produced at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, when the days are shorter and darker the production of this hormone increases.
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
- Your biological clock
- Melatonin levels
- Serotonin levels: A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
Factors that may increase your risk of seasonal affective disorder include: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/12/11/surprising-facts-about-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/
- Being female.SAD is diagnosed more often in women than in men, but men may have more-severe symptoms.
- The highest probability of experiencing SAD is between the ages of 18-55.
- Family history.People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.
- Having clinical depression or bipolar disorder.Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally if you have one of these conditions.
- Living far from the equator.SAD appears to be more common among people who live far north or south of the equator. This may be due to decreased sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer months.
Effects of Seasonal Depression
Hypersomnia: Over-Sleeping may sound like a luxury, but in turn, it can wreak havoc on your body. A domino effect takes place when the body goes into hibernation-mode.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED): Eating pathology in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be more severe than hyperphagia during winter. Although research has documented elevated rates of subclinical binge eating in women with SAD, the prevalence and correlates of BED in SAD remain largely uncharacterized. High rates of co-occurrence between binge eating and SAD suggest that there may be common etiological pathways underlying susceptibility to both conditions. For example, dopamine signaling is hypothesized to affect the emergence of binge eating behavior across various disorders, including SAD and BED. Dopamine is thought to participate in the reinforcement of behaviors such as eating that enhance subjective pleasure. Individual differences in dopamine signaling may promote winter binge eating by strengthening the coupling of palatable foods such as carbohydrates to their hedonic effect. Therefore, it is possible that abnormalities in dopaminergic processing may increase risk for binge eating in both SAD and BED. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4019042/
Treating and Preventing SAD
Knowing that you are at risk and how to help, will ease the stress of the months ahead.
Chiropractic Care: Those suffering from SAD can greatly benefit from chiropractic treatment. Due to emotional, physical and mental stress caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder, many patients have unfortunately triggered misalignments in their spine. Chiropractic care is a drug-free, natural approach to treat those with SAD by bringing the spine back into alignment and improving the function of the whole body. When the spinal joints are aligned and working properly, the brain is able to communicate effectively and efficiently with the entire body. In addition to pain resumption, proper alignment of the spine helps to improve sleep function, mood and energy which often affect SAD patients.
Vitamin D: Multiple studies and ample research all prove that VitaminD drops drastically during the fall and winter months. With this drop, the body’s immune system is at risk for illness, major depression, and seasonal affective disorder. One study shows that a group of individuals suffering from SAD benefitted more from increasing their Vitamin D supplements than from the photo light therapy. “All subjects receiving vitamin D improved in all outcome measures. The phototherapy group showed no significant change in depression scale measures. Vitamin D status improved in both groups (74% vitamin D group, p < 0.005 and 36% phototherapy group, p < 0.01). Improvement in 25-OH D was significantly associated with improvement in depression scale scores (r2=0.26; p=0.05).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10888476
Light Therapy: Effectiveness of phototherapy is showed in nearly all controlled studies. Bright light appears to be most effective for patients with mild SAD. One study shows significant differences found when comparing the scores after the baseline with the three-onlight exposures using the repeat light therapy. Depression scores after 40 minutes of light were lower than after 20 minutes http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913518/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18053580
Himalayan Salt Lamps: Our air contains an abundance of positive ions. Anything that is electrically charged contains positive ions; computer screens, televisions, telephones, etc. are all sources of positive ions in the air. Research shows that positive ions can cause feelings of lethargy, fatigue, and even depression. There are natural sources that increase positive ions as well, such as full moons, which accounts for the strange and aggressive behavior noted by medical services and police. Studies show that 75% of the population is noticeably and adversely affected by positive ion ratios. Salt lamps can help bring emotional balance into our lives because they generate negative ions, which help us to feel more energized and uplifted. In fact, rock salt crystal is known as one of the most efficient emitters of negative ions. Generally, the more negative ions you are exposed to, the better you feel!
Specific Salt Lamps for Seasonal Depression: (In coordination with the blue light therapy)
Get Outside: Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun without wearing sunglasses (but never stare directly at the sun).
- Take a short walk outdoors or have your coffee outside if you can stay warm enough.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- Some people find that painting walls in lighter colors or using daylight simulation bulbs also helps combat winter SAD.
Exercise: Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, especially if you’re able to exercise outside in natural daylight. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
- Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
- Exercise can also help to improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem.
- Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days. Even something as simple as walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and the animal, as well as a great way to get outdoors and interact with other people.
Ask for Support: Close relationships are vital in reducing isolation and helping you manage SAD. Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. It may feel more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will boost your mood. Even if you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect or start new relationships.
- Call or email an old friend to meet for coffee. Or reach out to someone new—a work colleague or neighbor, for example. Most of us feel awkward about reaching out, but be the one to break the ice.
- Join a support group for depression. Sometimes, just talking about what you’re going through can help you feel better. Being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation and provide inspiration to make positive changes.
- Meet new people with a common interest by taking a class, joining a club, or enrolling in a special interest group that meets on a regular basis. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that’s fun for you.
- Volunteer your time. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself, expand your social network, and overcome SAD.
Diet: Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.
- While the symptoms of SAD can make you crave sugary foods and simple carbohydrates, such as pasta and white bread, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Foods such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, and bananas can boost your feel-good serotonin levels without the subsequent sugar crash. Even better, cut gluten from your diet. If you are still struggling, try to cut dairy as well.
- Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats—such as oily fish, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—can also improve your mood and may even boost the effectiveness of antidepressant medication.
Destress: Whatever the time of year, too much stress can exacerbate or even trigger depression. Figure out the things in your life that stress you out, such as work overload or unsupportive relationships, and make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.
- Practicing daily relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, reduce negative emotions such as anger and fear, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Having fun is a great stress buster, so make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be painting, playing the piano, working on your car, or simply hanging out with friends.
Reflux: How to Help Naturally.
Arching his back while screaming, spitting up when eating, not sleeping, these are all signs of reflux in an infant. While some choose to overlook these symptoms, others want to know more, to understand what their baby is suffering from, and more importantly, to help.
Over 50% of infants suffer from reflux.
Doctors will typically ask parents to cope with their unhappy child for a few months until their reflux dissipates. If the parent is persistent or the child shows poor signs of poor growth, a doctor may perform one of the following tests:
- Ultrasound: detecting an obstruction in the opening between the stomach and small intestine
- Blood Work: to rule out or identify any possible causes of recurring vomiting
- Esophageal pH Monitoring: measuring the acidity in the esophagus by inserting a tube through the nose
- Upper Endoscopy: using a tube with a camera lens inserted through the mouth, the doctor will see into the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. Samples of tissue may be taken for study. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.
Less invasive doctors will first suggest that a breastfeeding mother remove dairy from her diet. A formula fed infant will be given a list of different formulas to try. If the reflux continues, medication will naturally be recommended. H2 Histamine Blockers such as Zantac or Pepsid are prescribed, followed by stronger medications such as Prevacid or Prilosec (proton pump inhibitors). As all medications do, these have a laundry list of side effects from dizziness to vomiting. There have been no studies conducted on children and dosages of zantac.
There are other ways. Natural ways. Ways to help your crying, pained child.
Let’s discuss reflux.
Did you know that reflux is actually the symptom of TOO LITTLE stomach acid? This can be traced back to pregnancy and mom’s morning sickness and heartburn. These ailments can be passed to baby in-utero. As we get older, our acid drops and there is an increase in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
The medications given are actually making the problem worse by suppressing the acid. The absent acid is hydrochloric acid (HCL), and when low, an organism called Helicobacter pylori or H. Pylori causes a low grade inflammation of the lining of the stomach, and over time the body’s response is to want to get rid of it. This is reflux.
Make sure to wean from any medications gradually, as the body will rebound and worsen the reflux if you quit cold turkey.
Behind ear infections, reflux is a close second as to why parents visit the office. After learning more about the child, mother, pregnancy, diet, supplements, and medication usage, we will discuss and plan dietary changes and a supplement plan. If breastfeeding and keeping the baby’s gut “pure,” the plan will be only for the mother. But infants can be supplemented as well as the mother. If not breastfeeding, infant should be supplemented.
- Vitamin D: More than likely, the mother is deficient in Vitamin D. Without knowing your vitamin D levels, you can follow recommended doses of a liquid vitamin D; however, testing to know your levels is most beneficial. (I usually recommend Xymogen brand.) If you are not as concerned with keeping your child’s gut “virgin,” then you can supplement your child with recommended dosage.
- Probiotics: (AMAZING) They help heal the gut and boost immunity. Did you know 85% of your immunity comes from your gut? You want a probiotic with a minimum of 7-10 strain. You just don’t want to take acidophilus. (We recommend Davinci Mega Probiotic davincilabs.com ) Taking care of the gut, yours and your infant’s will boost your immunity and help with a healthy life. Please follow the label for dosage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166766/
- Digestive Enzymes: Mom can incorporate these alongside the probiotics to help break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates and milk sugars. Our foods today are not broken down like they once were due to over-processing.
- Limit/Eliminate Dairy, Gluten, Caffeine, Alcohol: Dairy can produce histamines, which cause irritation to the lining of the gut and causes a decrease in the production of acid. Gluten also irritates the gut. Stick with organic as far as your budget allows. Look for no antibiotic use, no hormone, and free range with meat and dairy.
- Water: Stay well hydrated for breastmilk supply.
- Unrefined Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt: These salts help produce HCL(hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, fighting off parasites and aiding in digestion.
- Complex Minerals: The body needs an average of 80 essential minerals a day, but the typical person gets 10-15. Also, a diet high in meat and processed foods can demineralize the body; and a diet low in salt will make the body deficient in nutrients. (Schroeder, HA. Losses of vitamins and trace minerals resulting from processing and preservation of foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 24: MAY 1971, pp. 562-573.) We recommend Youngevity’s Cheri minerals http://youngevity.com/
- Aloe Juice: Aloe coats the lining of the gut to allow healing from the repeated acidity that has irritated the lining, therefore allowing nutrients to be absorbed. Mom should consume in the morning on empty stomach and before night time on an empty stomach for 4-6 weeks or until the reflux has resolved. Aloe juice can be given directly to the baby, morning and evening.
- Inclined Sleep: place a wedge or small pillow under the mattress of child’s bed/crib to prop her up at a slight This keeps the body in proper alignment for digestion.
Reflux in Toddlers:
Along with supplementing a toddler, helping to close the cardiac sphincter, the valve that allows everything in and out of the stomach, will help control the reflux. This can be done by laying the child down after eating and feeling under the breast bone and sternum (small knob) for a pocket of tissue, no bone. That is the sphincter. Depending on if the child is infant or older, you may use 1 or 2 fingers, pressing down about ¼ to ½ inch and then aiming your hand toward the feet (almost like a scooping motion) using sustained pressure for 20-30 seconds after every feeding.
Chiropractic Care for Reflux:
Misalignments in the upper neck due to childbirth or not being positioned correctly in the womb can be a cause of reflux. Parents tend to place baby in a swing or seat inclined to aid in reflux relief. This then causes the legs to be elevated and the spine to flex and curve forward, putting added stress on the infant’s body that shouldn’t be there. This causes tight and spasming muscles. The chiropractic adjustments will help to calm the muscles down and align the spine, allowing for the body to function more effectively.
Did you know that even newborn babies can benefit greatly from chiropractic care? Conditions such as colic, reflux, and other common issues can be treated with physical adjustments. But perhaps one of the most important visits is the first visit after baby’s birth.
As soon as mom and baby feel well enough to leave the house, it can be beneficial to be seen by a chiropractor. The act of being born is not inherently dangerous for baby. In fact the compression of the contractions and the hormonal and probiotic cocktail to which they are exposed during labor and delivery are all beneficial to baby.
However, as a result of increasing rates of cesarean section and continued instrumental deliveries, many babies undergo mild to moderate physical trauma during the birth process. Even a typical vaginal delivery in the United States, complete with an epidural and mom pushing from flat on her back or a semi-sitting position can result in trauma to the newborn baby. Labor inductions can also cause unusually intense contractions that excessively compress babies skull, neck, and spine. C-sections, forceps, and vacuum deliveries often involve an inordinate amount of tugging and pulling, both of which can cause their soft bones and joints to come out of proper alignment.
Chiropractors who specialize in Pediatrics have the skill and knowledge to properly assess and adjust tiny newborns. In a review of thirty three studies on chiropractic care and pregnancy and the postpartum period, research indicated evaluation and spinal adjustment of the infant to be beneficial.
“The induced vector of force that may cause trauma to the newborn includes traction of the cervical spine coupled with hyperextension during the birth process.31 Forceps, cesarean, and suction or vacuum extraction can also cause trauma to the newborn’s cervical and thoracic spine and spinal cord31 and may warrant chiropractic evaluation…In a review of 1000 infants, Gutmann suggested that birth trauma frequently affected the atlanto-occipital joint, causing blockage or vertebral subluxation.31 Correction of such a presentation may be accomplished through a light, precise, biomechanical adjustment, using various gentle techniques.32” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/)
Wordy I know! But the gist is that a precise, gentle, adjustment by a skilled provider can greatly improve baby’s comfort level and promote proper development of the spine. As with any practitioner, is important to always choose your chiropractor wisely. Like your medical doctor, make sure that you are choosing a practitioner who listens to your health concerns, respects you and your family, and has a firm knowledge base in your particular issue. While most chiropractors are trained in the care of infants, it is best for babies to be adjusted by those who specialize in pediatrics. And once baby is correctly aligned, it is important to maintain said alignment! Babies are meant to be carried and worn by their parents and even older siblings. Babywearing promotes both mental organization and proper spinal and hip alignment. But more on that in our next post!
Countless children in the United States are diagnosed with chronic constipation every year. Many pediatric GI specialists will tell you that it is the most common condition that they see, accounting for nearly 25% of all visits. There are many factors that can cause this, and most cases of constipation require a variety of treatments to resolve. Each family must take the time to discover both the physical and environmental factors that are contributing to their child’s problem, as constipation tends to have both a physical and emotional component.
Many of us have heard of the ‘gut brain’ but don’t really know what it refers to. This is the enteric nervous system, which can not only send and receive messages, but also respond to emotions. Your gut, or entire digestive system, contains over 100 million neurons – this is more than are found in the spinal cord! It is no wonder that gut health is so influenced by emotions. For this reason, almost all children and adults who are diagnosed with digestive diseases and disorders must address both physical and emotional symptoms.
For children who are diagnosed with chronic constipation, there is likely more than one factor involved. If a child has even one episode of constipation that results in hard and painful stool, they may internalize a feeling of fear or expectation of pain when the need to pass the next stool arises. Some children will instead hold the stool in, rather than face the pain of attempting to pass it. Like the colon, the rectum can also absorb water, so stool that remains unpassed in the rectum gets harder. This can make it even more difficult and scary for the child to pass. It becomes a vicious cycle of withholding and subsequent painful stool! This can cause both a rectal and bowel impaction if not addressed in a timely manner. Sometimes small pieces will break off, so called ‘rabbit pellet’ stool that some parents observe in their toddlers and young children. Parents might think this is just their kids ‘normal’ stool, and not know that it’s because there is a large mass stuck inside. Withholding for long enough can cause such a large blockage that only soft or liquid stool can fit around it. Children with this condition will pass frequent very small loose stools. In younger (and occasionally older) children this may present as encopresis, or soiling. This occurs when small amounts of soft or liquid stool leak from the rectum without the child’s knowledge, staining the underwear. Many parents won’t realize that the cause of this is either chronic constipation or a rectal or bowel impaction. Other signs of a rectal impaction include increased urination or wetting accidents. An overly full rectum can put a large amount of pressure on a small child’s bladder, causing accidents or bedwetting.
Diet of course plays a crucial role in helping your child get relief from constipation. Children should be drinking plenty of water every day. If constipation is severe, try organic no-sugar-added juices such as apple, peach, pear, plum, or prune. (Fun fact, many ‘p’ fruits are also high in fructose and promote bowel movements!) Adding 2-4 oz of aloe juice to other juices will soothe and lubricate the intestines. Many kids are resistant to high fiber foods, but encourage them to eat carrot sticks or celery sticks with almond butter and raisins – (bonus for more fiber!), or other crunchy raw veggies that they like. Many kids become constipated from an excess of pasteurized dairy products. Eliminating all dairy other than butter and yogurt might help your child. If your kids will eat broccoli with cheese try buying a raw milk cheese from your local health food store as raw milk tends not to have the same constipating effect. Adding organic raw coconut oil, organic ground flax seeds, or organic chia seeds can also encourage softer bowel movements. Many kids love the texture and taste of chia pudding which can easily be made or purchased already prepared at most health food stores.
Over the counter laxatives and enemas should be avoided until needed as an absolute last resort. Some GI specialists will recommend a ‘clean out’ for your child to relieve the impaction. They will likely recommend senna-based laxatives, Miralax, magnesium citrate, or a combination of all of the above. If your doctor recommends this, ask if it can be done with magnesium citrate only. Senna-based laxatives not only cause painful cramping, but can quickly becoming habit forming. Miralax is also habit forming, and while less so than senna laxatives, has never been approved for use in children, despite the fact that many doctors prescribe it regularly for long term use. There are many natural products that can be used to keep the stool soft and moving that are not habit forming. Organic oils are very lubricating to the intestines and can be given daily – raw organic coconut oil has a laxative effect for many people. Others to try are organic sesame oil or olive oil.
In addition, address any emotional issues that your child might be having. Is there a negative attitude in the home surrounding defecation? Does your child feel the need for a certain amount of control? Harsh punishment for encopresis or soiling will only make the problem worse. Many kids thrive on somewhat of a schedule during the day. No need to be militant, but kids like to know what’s coming up next. A particular effective strategy is that of ‘toilet sitting time.” Pick one or two times during the day when you know you will be home, and have your child sit on the toilet for 10 or 15 minutes. Give them a book to look at it if they’d like. Have a stool for their feet to encourage a more squat-like position, and give them some time to see if their body will relax enough to have a bowel movement. Having ‘sitting time’ at the same time every day will encourage your child’s body to move the bowels at that time. Many adults naturally have a bowel movement in the morning. If mornings are not rushed and there is time for your child to sit on the toilet for a while, try that. If evening is a more calm time in your house, try sitting time after dinner. Don’t expect immediate results. This is a complex problem that will involve a fair amount of work on both you and your child’s part. Seek help and support from other parents or a professional if you are getting frustrated or not seeing progress.
Regular chiropractic care can be a critical aspect of managing your child’s chronic constipation. The message that a child needs to defecate is sent from the intestines and rectum to the brain. If the spine is maladjusted in any way, a young child will not receive the message, so to speak. If your child is not consciously realizing that they need to defecate, stool will continue to harden in their rectum. In addition, many children will have been constipated or withholding stool for a long time before parents realize that something is actually amiss. By this time, the child’s rectum can be stretched out, and they won’t even receive the message that their rectum is full and needs to be emptied until the stool is too large to pass comfortably. One simple adjustment may be all your child needs to break the cycle! Other children require more frequent and regular care to maintain a healthy frequency of bowel movements. A case study presented here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1479235408000588 demonstrated that chiropractic care not only increased the frequency of bowel movements in constipated children, but that the stools were “described as soft without the accompanying straining, pain and rectal bleeding.” A more in-depth study can be found here: http://drdianemeyer.com/Dr%20Meyer.pdf
Chiropractic America describes in easy-to-understand terms how chiropractic care helps relieve both the symptoms and some of the underlying causes of constipation: “Chiropractic adjustments (particularly in the lower spine) may help relieve constipation in certain individuals. Muscles in the intestine push stool to the anus, where stool leaves the body. Special nerve cells in the intestine, called ganglion cells, make the muscles push. These nerves connect directly to the celiac ganglion, which also innervates the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidney, small intestine, and the ascending and transverse colon. The celiac ganglion, in turn connects to the spinal cord (and the brain) through nerve roots that exit the spine in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar region. Pressure on these nerve roots caused by misalignment of the vertebrae in this area may interfere with the normal function of the bowel as well as other organs of the digestive system.”
If your child is suffering at all from constipation, even just occasionally, come see us at Pea and the Pod. Like many health issues, constipation is easiest to relieve when addressed early.