Monday, March 19, 2018

Colic: The Relentlessly Screaming Baby

It’s almost like a parenting rite of passage these days. Nobody knows what causes it, many methods of managing it simply do not work, and new parents are left to fend for themselves as their babies scream desperately for hours.

Colic affects many families, though the jury is out on how common it is since the causes are not well known. Furthermore, each baby is different, and what bothers one may be different from what ails another. Colic is a catch all term for babies who cry without a clear medical indication.

It’s complicated. And miserable.

Let’s talk about possible causes. There are various theories, each one worth investigating.
  • Gastrointestinal distress and gas is a common theory.
  • Overuse of antibiotics in labor is yet another.
  • The use of pain medication in labor is also a possibility.
  • Others try to educate parents about the “4th trimester” - a period of adjustment in a baby for the first 12 weeks after birth.
  • Some say colic is a result of overstimulation at the end of the day since in some cases, babies will predictably cry for several hours at the same time in the evening.

At the end of the day, nobody really knows, and treatments are few and far between. Most are ineffective. What is a parent to do? Parents all over are praising chiropractic care as an effective treatment for infants with colic. (In fact, chiropractic adjustments make sense for infants whether they have colic or not.)

When you look at the dynamics of birth and the effect it has on a baby’s body, adjustments for newborns seem like common sense. Babies are squeezed through the mother’s pelvis which has the possibility of contorting their necks, and their heads are often times pulled on by doctors as they exit the birth canal. This happens with more force during surgical births as well, since a physician’s hands are the only thing pulling a baby out of the uterus. (It should be noted that birth is a very normal and healthy process, and it’s not dangerous. Birth is a major cause of subluxation in a baby’s neck, however, and it is easily corrected.)

Is it reasonable to assume that in the course of all that movement, a baby’s neck and back could become subluxated? Have you ever cranked your neck in an uncomfortable position (when you slept perhaps) and been sore afterward? Certainly a baby can experience the same thing! Furthermore, the holistic effect that even a single subluxation can have has the potential to affect various systems within the body. Whichever system is compromised could be causing a baby to be colicky. It’s reasonable then, to assume that correcting said subluxation can cause a baby to be relieved, ceasing the crying.

The research that exists in favor of chiropractic care for colic is encouraging. A randomized clinical trial was published in 1999 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. In the study, researchers randomly assigned infants diagnosed with colic into two groups. One group received chiropractic care for two weeks and the other group was given dimethicone (the anti-gas medication) for two weeks. The babies who got treatment from a chiropractor showed a 67% decrease in crying while the babies on medication showed a 38% decrease, and researchers concluded that chiropractic care is effective in treating colic.

Regardless of the cause for colic, it’s worth it to try getting your newborn adjusted as soon as possible after birth. Chiropractic care is a safe treatment for babies with colic, so why not give it a try?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Essential Oils: A Rundown

Probably the most trendy thing in natural health right now is essential oils. Everywhere you look, another claim is being made that “there’s an oil for that!” Unfortunately for the curious consumer, there is so much information, misinformation, and conflicting information out there about them these days that it’s hard to know what the truth is.

So, what are essential oils? How safe are they?

Essential oils are the result of an intense distillation process that leaves behind the most concentrated aromatic and therapeutic properties of plants. Oils have been used for thousands of years for a variety of uses, including healing.

What is exciting about essential oils is that they are bioavailable, so they can communicate properly with the body. Human bodies recognize them, so they have a potential to be a powerful, safe, and effective tool in facilitating the healing process. Many essential oils have been proven to be as effective as pharmaceutical grade antibiotics, with less risk. Scores of testimonials are surfacing in our culture about the therapeutic effect that essential oils have had on their health. Essential oils are being credited with curing everything from hay fever to cancer.

So, what’s the problem? If they are recognized by the body and they are bioavailable, is there any risk?

Research is finding some exciting things about the capabilities of essential oils, but there isn’t enough research to safely say they can be used. They are natural, but tremendously potent, and it’s their potency that the possibility of danger lies. Children in particular can be harmed by certain kinds of essential oils, and they should not be using many of them.

What is one to make of this?

Essential oils can absolutely be included in your health care regimen. However, their use should be guided by a trained professional. You should be careful about the advice that you take regarding essential oils, as they can also be harmful.

Keep an eye on the research on essential oils as it begins to surface. It’s an exciting development - but as it’s developing, beware of potential risks, and use with caution.

Dr. Felicia

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pregnant? Don’t Wait To Become Educated

You JUST found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations! I could say the same cliche lines that most people give, like everything will change, or you’ll have your hands full or something to that extent. All those things are true, however, my sage advice is this:

Learn as much as you can - and start now.

Most couples wait until they are at the very end of their pregnancies to take a childbirth education class. And truthfully, that makes sense. It is called childBIRTH education after all. However, I think the term “pregnancy, birth, and postpartum education” is more fitting when you’re talking about a quality childbirth education class.

The majority of information that we get about birth in today’s culture comes from our friends, the media, or the internet. Obviously, those are not always reliable sources. Yet they drastically form our opinions about pregnancy and birth, many times in devastatingly deceptive ways.

Your best chance at becoming well educated about this major life transition you’re embarking on is to take a privately taught childbirth education class much earlier in your pregnancy - ideally when you’re around 20 weeks. That way, you do spend the final days and weeks of your pregnancy trying to unlearn false beliefs that you’ve built up for your entire pregnancy.

There is SO much to know about pregnancy, birthing, and the postpartum period. Trying to ingest it all in the last few weeks of pregnancy as you’re already getting ready for baby can feel like too much. Furthermore, there is a lot of valuable information for you to use DURING your pregnancy that you’d feel like you missed out on by waiting until the last minute.

Some people think that they don’t even NEED to take a childbirth education class - they think their doctor or midwife will tell them everything they need to know. So, let’s discuss that. Do you REALLY need to take a childbirth education class?

The average childbirth education class sits at around 8-10 hours of instruction. More thorough courses can be as much as 24-26 hours of instruction, and moderate classes can fall anywhere in between.

Ask any childbirth educator and they will tell you what a challenge it is to fit everything that you should know about the biggest life change you and your body will ever experience, into 8 hours. Most of them will tell you that a full 3 credit-hour semester long class would feel inadequate.

How much time can your doctor spend educating you about your upcoming birth? Let’s do the math.  

The average time that an OB spends with their patient is 5-7 minutes per visit. Monthly visits usually don’t start until 12 weeks. Then you have biweekly visits starting around 35 weeks, then weekly visits from 38 weeks until the birth, you end up with an average of approximately 1 hour of time spent with your OB prior to birth.

Midwives can spend between 30 minutes to an hour with their clients, which amounts to a conservative average of 6 hours you spend with them prior to birth.

Whether you have an OB or a midwife, their job is to be your healthcare provider and to monitor you for medical safety during pregnancy and birth. Their job is not to educate you.

Remember: how many hours was the childbirth education class? A minimum of 8 hours, right? How could they possibly give you thorough, comprehensive childbirth education in an hour prior to birth? Or even 6? Is it fair to assume that your provider is also going to take the role of educator when that’s not their job? Of course not!

It’s your job to become educated, and the sooner you start, the better! Early in your pregnancy, you can start reading. Here are a few good suggestions:

  • Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  • Birthing From Within by Pam England
  • Childbirth Without Fear  by Grantly Dick Read
  • The Birth Book by Dr William Sears
  • The Complete Book Of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
  • The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

You’re going to have a baby - this is the most exciting season of your life! Learn as much about it as you can. Ask me about referrals for local educators, as there are many great ones to choose from.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Sponsored by:
Flutterby Birth Services

8 Natural Remedies for ADD/ADHD

The number of kids who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD has exploded in the last couple of decades. ADD/ADHD can cause kids to be inattentive and impulsive, making success in the classroom extraordinarily difficult.

Psychotropic medications are readily prescribed for kids that have the ADD/ADHD diagnosis, despite the fact that the long term effects of these medications are completely unknown.  Naturally, more and more parents are leery of giving their kids mind altering medications. Many find themselves looking for natural alternatives before going the pharmaceutical route.

Fortunately, there are many natural things that families can do to help kids struggling with ADD/ADHD.

Diet changes have been reported by many parents to be an effective way to manage ADD/ADHD. The American diet is rife with sugar, processed fats, unnatural additives, GMO’s, and artificial colors. None of those things was meant to be consumed by the human body, and the effects they have on the brain can be profound. Reducing (or, ideally, eliminating) these in the diet of an ADD/ADHD child can only be beneficial.

Omega - 3’s Studies done on the effects of omega supplements have been favorable in their ability to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. Omega -3’s are an essential fatty acid (EFA), and most Americans are deficient in this essential nutrient. EFA’s are necessary for healthy brain function and as such they are especially beneficial for those with ADD/ADHD.

Vitamin B Complex can increase absorption of other vitamins and nutrients, as well as support healthy brain function. There are 8 B vitamins in all. B6 in particular is important for optimal brain function, particularly in making serotonin. Methyl B-12 is responsible for regenerating neurons and the myelin sheath. All of these effects can be profoundly beneficial for ADD/ADHD.

Vitamin D should come from the sun!. Vitamin D plays a huge role in many physiological systems, including brain function. Studies have shown lower levels of Vitamin D in people with ADD/ADHD, and it only takes 15 minutes a day in the sun to get the vitamin D you need.

Exercise doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves for helping ADD/ADHD! Exercising releases neurotransmitters including dopamine that are responsible for attention and focus, which is exactly what they ADD/ADHD brain requires..

Magnesium has a natural  calming effect on the body and the mind. It’s a critical component for over 300 enzyme processes within the body, and over 80% of Americans are deficient in it, particularly those with ADD/ADHD..

And of course, chiropractic adjustments should be done regularly on those with ADD/ADHD. Adjustments cannot cure ADD/ADHD. What an adjustment can offer however, is a more balanced mind / body connection which will contribute to a more stable mindset.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Monday, April 17, 2017

Postpartum Nutrition

More than any other time in her life, a postpartum woman needs proper nutrition. Around the world, the postpartum period is recognized as an essential time of rest and rejuvenation. After birth, women are physically and emotionally exhausted from the strain of childbearing. Their hormones are scrambling to reach a balance, and they are depleted of sleep, energy - and nutrients.

One of the best examples we have of proper care after birth is in the Chinese culture. In China, women are expected to rest for a full 40 days after giving birth. This time literally translates to “sitting the month.” Women are expected to spend this time resting, breastfeeding, and bonding with their babies.

Through the course of those 40 days, women are only allowed hot foods. Birth is said to deplete a woman of all of her warm qi, so the warm foods are meant to replace what was lost.  She only eats nutritious foods like rice, soups, and teas, because her body needs to recover from the most physically trying season of her life.

Women who observe the 40 days of rest after birth benefit tremendously from the nutritional boost that they get during this time. The level of importance that chinese culture places on nutrition as a cornerstone of health and recovery is far from what we experience here in the US.

In the west, we tend to turn our backs on the idea of “balancing qi.” Most even scoff at the idea of using nutrition as a remedy for any sort of physical ailment. Yet, in places where nutrition is a key part of recovery after birth, women have better overall physical and mental health as they recover from birth. It’s worth it to give your body as much of what it requires as possible.

So, if you’re going to try and keep healthy after birth, what should you eat? Well, as much as possible, you should be eating whole, unprocessed foods. It’s really that simple.

Ok, I’m a mom - I recognize that it’s really NOT always that simple when you’re talking about caring for a newborn and yourself. It’s even harder when you’re going at it alone. But it can be done, and a little goes a long way.

Here are a few things that you can make and keep around during the postpartum period:

  • Fresh fruit eaten raw can fill you up and provide a whole host of nutrients.
  • Fresh vegetables - no need to cook these either! Just chop for a couple minutes and you’re good to go.
  • Hot teas. Stay away from caffeinated while you’re nursing. But there are plenty of others that are safe for breastfeeding.
  • Hot soups. Soups are easy to make and they are packed with nutrition. Plus, it’s relatively simple to double or triple a recipe and save leftovers for another time.
  • Nuts and nut butters make an easy and healthy snack.

Women need physical restoration in many ways after giving birth, and nutrition plays a huge part in that. Do the best you can - your body and your baby will thank you.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The 3 Most Common Reasons To See A Chiropractor

There are many reasons that patients decide to seek care from a chiropractor. Chiropractors can treat a number of ailments, ranging from ear infections to digestive problems.

However when people step into a chiropractic office for the first time, they usually come in for a couple of common reasons. When traditional pharmaceutical treatments are ineffective for some of these problems, patients will try anything, including a visit to a chiropractor. They are rarely disappointed.

Some of the common ailments that we see in first time patients are:

Back Pain
Most people think of chiropractors as the back pain specialists. This is true. Particularly in the case of a physical trauma, such as a car accident, a chiropractor is an expert at putting you back together again.

When the body experiences a trauma, it can cause severe subluxation (misalignment) in the neck or spine, leading to all kinds of debilitating pain. Pain pills may mask the pain, but they do nothing to reverse the subluxation that the trauma caused. Skeletal manipulation is the only way to remedy a trauma to the body, which is why we see so many patients for this reason.

Many times, patients will visit a chiropractor after years of suffering with debilitating headaches and migraines. Often, the treatment prescribed by a regular doctor doesn't work after many years of trying. Sometimes after becoming desensitized to their pain medication, patients will try anything to be rid of the nuisance of headaches. Many times, headaches are caused by specific points of the neck that have subluxation.

Have you ever slept wrong at night and woken up with a cramp in your neck? Overnight, you may have caused your neck to come out of alignment. Sometimes it will resolve itself, but sometimes it doesn't. Patients are often surprised when, after only one adjustment, they begin to feel relief from their chronic headaches. It can take several adjustments for complete relief to happen, but most patients are pleasantly surprised at the quick results.

Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be caused by any number of pathological issues, and fortunately many of them can be remedied - or at least supported - with spinal adjustments. It can only help to return the body’s spine and skeletal structure to alignment in order to give the body the best chance to heal itself. Adjustments can help with degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, whiplash, and other problems that can cause ongoing pain.

The Common Condition
The root of all of these common ailments is subluxation of the spine and neck. Helping the body return to alignment allows it to heal itself, and in the process, it reduces pain.

Pain, while admittedly miserable, is simply the body’s way of communicating to us that something isn’t right. Listening to that communication and remedying the root problem is a long term, more permanent solution to the problem of pain. Masking pain with pills never produces health - it simply ignores the body’s cries for help.

Listen - because the solution is usually easier than you may think.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner