As autumn’s outdoor temperatures begin to moderate, many of us look forward to opportunities for vigorous cardio respiratory activities that we put aside in the heat of the summer. It's much easier to hike in the spring and fall, even in the peak afternoon hours, because the sun’s intensity is less harsh.
Hiking is tremendous fun and is a wonderful form of vigorous exercise for the entire family, including the youngest through the oldest.1 Hiking combines both cardio respiratory and strength training activities, which train not only your heart and lungs but also the large muscle groups of your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius/soleus muscles of your calves. However, hiking is not like other forms of exercise. As you cannot really do a hike gradually, it's important to have acquired a good level of fitness before you begin to hike. Also, hikers need to be prepared and take along specific supplies. When you hike, it's best to expect the unexpected, and certain basic supplies are critically necessary.
In terms of fitness preparation, beginning hikers should be able to walk four miles at a brisk pace.2 This will allow you to hike a two-mile trail at a modest incline, covering a total of four miles out and back. Doing such a hike a few times will then provide the preparation needed for increasing your hiking distance. Hiking preparation also includes strength training. In a comprehensive strength training program, you train all major muscle groups once a week. This is done by performing "split routines" such as training chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs on separate days. Your comprehensive strength training program works synergistically with your cardio respiratory exercise. Doing one form of exercise benefits the other activity and the result is substantial improvement in your fitness levels. The overall result is that you are appropriately prepared to hike.
Regarding supplies, every hiker needs a backpack. Your backpack will contain a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a two-liter water bottle, some trail mix and protein bars, a GPS-capable phone, a map and compass (as low-tech backups to your phone's GPS), and a lightweight rain slicker or waterproof poncho. Each of these items is necessary for a safe and enjoyable hike. You don't want to run out of water or snacks. You don't want to get sun burnt or rained on. And you certainly don't want to get lost. By Murphy's Law, the supply that you neglect or forget to bring is the one you will need on that hike. The best policy is to always be prepared.
With appropriate preparation, hiking will provide you and your family years of enjoyment of the natural world and will enhance your health and well-being for years to come.
1. Gutwenger I, et al: Pilot study on the effects of a 2-week hiking vacation at moderate versus low altitude on plasma parameters of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Mar 28;8:103. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1066-3
2. Walker JR, et al: U.S. Cohort Differences in Body Composition Outcomes of a 6-Month Pedometer-Based Physical Activity Intervention: The ASUKI Step Study. Asian J Sports Med 2014 Dec;5(4):e25748. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.25748. Epub 2014 Dec 1
3. Hartescu I, et al: Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res 24(5):526-34, 2015
This feasibility study was conducted to further the development of a line of investigation into the potential effects of spinal manipulation/manual therapy (chiropractic care) on cervicogenic dizziness, balance, and neck pain in adults.
Dizziness is a common problem that can often lead to disability or psychologic distress in middle-aged and older adults.1-3 A subcategory of dizziness is cervicogenic dizziness, characterized by symptoms of sensations of excessive motion, imbalance, or spinning associated with neck pain and stiffness.4 Cervicogenic dizziness is thought to be caused by abnormal sensory afferent stimulation in the cervical spine.5 Presently, there is some evidence to advocate the use of spinal manipulation (SM) or other manual therapy (MT) techniques for this condition.
A large effect size was calculated for the SF-BBS. Most patients demonstrated improved balance, and some showed reduced dizziness and neck pain after 8 weeks of chiropractic care.
1. Yardley L., Owen N., Nazareth I., Luxon L. Prevalence and presentation of dizziness in a general practice community sample of working age people. Br J Gen Pract.1998;48(429):1131–1135. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Colledge N.R., Wilson J.A., Macintyre C.C., MacLennan W.J. The prevalence and characteristics of dizziness in an elderly community. Age Ageing. 1994;23(2):117–120.[PubMed]
3. Sloane P., Blazer D., George L.K. Dizziness in a community elderly population. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989;37(2):101–108. [PubMed]
4. Wrisley D.M., Sparto P.J., Whitney S.L., Furman J.M. Cervicogenic dizziness: a review of diagnosis and treatment. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2000;30(12):755–766. [PubMed]
Over $80 billion are spent each year on drugs to relieve heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, gas, irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive disorders. These symptoms of abnormal digestive are becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society. Science and research have shown that chiropractic care offers a powerful solution to this modern-day epidemic.
The nervous system controls digestive function from several different regions. The vagus nerve which courses out of the brain stem and runs near the atlas bone innervates all the major organs of digestion and functions to stimulate the digestive process. Other major areas controlling the pace of digestion include the sympathetic nerves coming out of the thoracic & lumbar regions and the sacral parasympathetic nerve fibers. Spinal misalignment in any of these regions can lead to neurological compromise and altered digestive function.
Wellness oriented chiropractors search for the location of such spinal misalignments termed `subluxations.` A specific chiropractic adjustment realigns the altered regions and restores nerve supply to the deficient organs. This approach honors the body's innate ability to heal and works to harmonize this incredible life force in order to enhance organ function & quality of life.
Several studies have demonstrated the power of chiropractic adjustments restoring optimal function in individuals with digestive disturbances. In a published case study, a young woman had been afflicted with IBS symptoms once or twice a week for 5 years. After one adjustment she noticed an easing of symptoms and within a short time all her digestive problems disappeared. When the report was published 2 years later she was still symptom free.
A 2008 study demonstrated how effective chiropractic care is for infants with digestive disturbances. Researchers chose three infants who were experiencing infrequent bowel movements from once a week to once every 3 or 4 days. Parents of these infants had tried several different laxatives and other procedures recommended by their medical staff. They had also followed specific dietary changes and the use of cod liver oil and mineral oil without any results.
The infants began wellness oriented chiropractic for periods ranging from three weeks to three months. According to the study author Dr. Larry S.Arbeitman, D.C., ` All three experienced almost immediate improvement. By the end of the study all three had bowel movements at least once every day.`
Subluxations within specific areas of the spine can prevent the bowel from functioning properly. Throughout the years it has been common place to see instances of people of all ages who have not had a bowel movement for days experience almost immediate relief after an adjustment. Regular chiropractic care can help patients establish a more natural rhythm of comfortable, effortless elimination.
Wagner, T., J. Owen, E. Malone, and K. Mann. 1996. Irritable bowel syndrome and spinal manipulation: a case report. Chiropractic Technique 7:139-40.
Marko, S. 1994. Case study: The Effect of Chiropractic care on an infant with problems of constipation. Chiropractic Pediatrics 1().
Hewitt, E.G. 1993. Chiropractic treatment of a 7-month-old with chronic constipation: a case report. Chiropractic Technique 5(3):101-3.
"The successful chiropractic care of pediatric patients with chronic constipation: A case study and selective review of the literature," Clinical Chiropractic (2008) 11, 138-147.
Mindfulness has become a very hot topic and is now consistently featured in mass media. This may be considered a good thing, as more and more of us allow ourselves to become distracted throughout the day by the never-ending onslaught of text messages, emails, and the pings of calendar reminders. Instead of turning off our phones, we persist in peering down at them, and our awareness of the world around us becomes dim and dimmer as the pull of our technological devices becomes ever stronger. The important solution to our loss of presence and control is the willingness to take on a mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness may be practiced in many forms, including breath awareness, guided imagery, and meditation. All methods are effective to the extent that we are consistent in our practice. A person may derive as much benefit from one form of mindfulness practice as from another, and one should trust one's instincts regarding the specific method with which to begin.
The primary benefit of mindfulness practice, of course, is the generation of awareness.1,2 It's so easy to let the hours of the day slip by without any real sense of what is occurring. By the time we get ready for bed, we often think, "where did the day go?" As days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, we may quickly have the experience of our lives slipping away, of losing control of the content and quality of our lives. The ongoing rush of the stream of time cannot be stopped, but we can subjectively slow things down dramatically by increasing our levels of awareness.
For example, when a Major League Baseball player is consistently seeing the ball well and spraying hits to all portions of the ballpark, his coach will say the player has "slowed the game down." The player himself will say, "when I'm in the groove, I feel like I can see the seams on the ball." Such an experience is that of heightened awareness. All of us have had the experience, after some sort of meaningful life event, that we were much more aware of the colors of the sky, trees, and flowers, and the songs of our neighborhood birds were much brighter and sweeter. At such times, we're able to notice, in great detail, the things that are actually going on all around us.3 For a brief while, our enjoyment of and participation in life becomes that much greater. We may even notice, regretfully, the loss of that expanded sense of being once it has faded away. Engaging in mindfulness practice is the key to obtaining and enhancing self-awareness. In this way, we are enabled to become healthier, happier, and more effective human beings.
1. Brown KW, et al: Mindfulness Enhances Episodic Memory Performance: Evidence from a Multimethod Investigation. PLoS One 2016 Apr 26;11(4):e0153309. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153309. eCollection 2016.
2. Bilevicius E, et al: Banks JB, et al: The protective effects of brief mindfulness meditation training. Conscious Cogn 2015 May;33:277-85. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.01.016. Epub 2015 Feb 10.
3. Altered Neural Activity Associated with Mindfulness during Nociception: A Systematic Review of Functional MRI. Brain Sci 2016 Apr 19;6(2). pii: E14. doi: 10.3390/brainsci6020014.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is characterized by recurrent, discrete episodes of nausea and vomiting separated by intervals of normal health. An underlying cause is often not apparent. Onset is most common during preschool or early school years though CVS may begin at any age, from infancy onward.
Considering the anatomical relationship between the upper cervical spine and the dura, as well as, the link between myodural traction and migraine disorders, it seems reasonable that the chiropractic adjustment of the occiput bone had a direct impact on relieving dural irritation ultimately leading to the resolution of the patient’s cyclic vomiting symptoms.
Constipation is classically defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. In reality, one or more bowel movements a day are healthy and anything les should be a concern. With constipation, stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to pass a stool and often experience straining, bloating, and the sense of a full bowel.
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet, lack of hydration or lack of exercise typically is the cause. Most constipation is temporary and not serious and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms and help prevent them from recurring. These changes may include adding high-fiber foods to the diet, drinking enough water so as not to become dehydrated and engaging in daily exercise. When this fails to offer relief, the problem may be related to the nerve system, and chiropractic can help.
How Chiropractic Care Relates to Constipation
Chiropractic adjustments (particularly in the lower spine) may help relieve constipation.
Muscles in the intestine push the stool to the anus, where the 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 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 (which chiropractic can fix) may interfere with the normal function of the bowel as well as other organs of the digestive system. Depending on the specific circumstances, sometimes one adjustment fixes the problem and other times routine chiropractic maintenance is required.
Many of us want to improve our level of fitness, but don't know what to do or how to begin. Others have begun a fitness program, but don't know what types of activities to include to make their program more comprehensive and healthful. Yet others have been exercising for a while, but don't know how to keep going or how to make their exercise activities appropriately challenging. Most of us have encountered such questions and the lack of sufficient answers may represent roadblocks to our effective participation in regular vigorous exercise. The good news is practical answers are available and adaptable to all persons, regardless of their age of current level of physical fitness.
Of course, the most important thing about exercise is actually doing some. And, although any exercise is better than none at all, achieving and sustaining optimal good health requires doing at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. What is needed is the will to commit to and ongoingly engage in such activity. For most people, the hard part is getting started. But once you choose to take action on your own behalf, the many benefits and sheer physical joy in doing something that is so good for you pretty much take over. You find yourself looking forward with glad anticipation to the next round of exercise and it becomes easier and easier to get up in the morning and go out for your walk or run or go to the pool or the gym. Not too long after you begin your exercise program, you find these activities have become an integral, important, necessary component of your life and your daily routine.
A complete program of regular vigorous exercise consists of both cardiorespiratory exercise and strength training. Cardiorespiratory exercise1,2 is directed at causing your heart and lungs to become stronger, with the result that your heart pumps more blood on each beat and your lungs take in more air on each breath. Thus, cardiorespiratory exercise makes your heart and lungs more efficient. Tasks that previously left you huffing and puffing now are easy to accomplish. Regular cardiorespiratory exercise puts a new spring in your step. Your heart and lungs are now doing what they were designed to do, without unneeded effort or strain.
Similarly, a comprehensive strength training program, one that trains your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, increases the overall strength of your musculoskeletal system.3 Typically, combined with a healthy diet, strength training causes people to lose fat and add lean muscle mass. The increased sense of muscular power you derive from strength training also leads to an increased sense of confidence and well-being.
We can choose that every day is a training day. We're training for life, that is, for a lifetime of health and well-being. The types and forms of exercise you should do are those that work for you. These activities are the ones you enjoy and feel good about doing. As always, the key is to get started and keep going.
1-Hellsten Y, Nyberg M: Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise Training. Compr Physiol 6(1):1-32, 2015
2-Burich R, et al: Aerobic training alone or combined with strength training affects fitness in elderly: Randomized trial. Eur J Sport Sci 15(8):773-783, 2015
3-Orlando G, et al: Neuromuscular dysfunction in type 2 diabetes: underlying mechanisms and effect of resistance training. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 32(1):40-50, 2016
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the median nerve which travels through the wrist is being compressed, causing pain and numbness in the hand. The carpal tunnel contains tendons that control finger movement. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome stems from prolonged repetitive use causing an irritation or compression of the median nerve.
The compression present in carpal tunnel syndrome (or ‘pinched nerve’) does not always occur at the wrist. A pair of nerve roots emerges from the spinal cord at each vertebral level of the spine and the median nerve is formed by several nerve roots emerging from the lower part of the neck. From there, the median nerve travels down the arm to the wrist and hand and can become entrapped anywhere along its path.
There are many identifiable symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These include painful tingling in the hands, weakness in fingers, feelings of swelling in fingers with no apparent swelling, and shooting pain through the wrist and hand. This pain is most often at its worst in the evening, and particularly affects the thumb and first two fingers.
Carpal Tunnel can originate from a number of activities, the most common of which being repetitive keyboard typing. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops most commonly in people aged 40-60, particularly women. Certain lifestyle factors can also influence Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as cigarette smoking and high caffeine and alcohol use.
It is important to remember that not all wrist pain is attributable to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as shooting pain, weakness and tingling may also be the result of an irritation of the nerves in the neck, nerve entrapment in the elbow or a previous autoimmune injury. Thorough examination by a chiropractor can determine whether your wrist pain is due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or another musculoskeletal condition.
There are many helpful Carpal Tunnel Syndrome remedies. While some medical professionals suggest surgery to remove the pressure on the nerves, more conservative and less invasive and painful options are available. Treatment by the chiropractor may involve joint adjustment or mobilization, massage, stretching, trigger point therapy, splinting, rehabilitative exercises, ice and heat.
Splinting of the wrists is common for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to stabilize the wrist and prevent further damage from excessive movement. While this can provide relief to symptoms, it can occasionally result in the wrist muscles becoming weak and lazy. A chiropractor can monitor the progress of any splinting, and recommend alternative treatments if splinting is not the preferred option. Behavior modification may be necessary, and advice can be given by your chiropractor as to how to implement changes in your work and daily life. Paying attention to proper ergonomic principles and posture can also help overcome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Current evidence shows significant short-term benefit from splinting, ultrasound, yoga and carpal bone mobilization.
The nervous system and immune system are hardwired and work together to create optimal responses for the body to adapt and heal appropriately. Neural dysfunctions due to spinal misalignments are stressful to the body and cause abnormal changes that lead to a poorly coordinated immune response. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and immune system.
The autonomic nervous system is hardwired into the lymphoid organs such as the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, and bone marrow that produce the body's immune response. Growing evidence is showing that immune function is regulated in part by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.
Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways affecting organ systems of the body. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects neuronal control. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function & increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.
Inflammatory based disease is influenced by both the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Nerve stimulation directly affects the growth and function of inflammatory cells. Researchers found that dysfunction in this pathway results in the development of various inflammatory syndromes such as rheumatoid arthritis and behavioral syndromes such as depression. Additionally, this dysfunctional neuro-endo-immune response plays a significant role in immune-compromised conditions such as chronic infections and cancer.
Wellness based chiropractors analyze the spine for subluxations and give corrective adjustments to reduce the stress on the nervous system. A 1992 research group found that when a thoracic adjustment was applied to a subluxated area the white blood cell (neutrophil) count collected rose significantly.
In 1975, Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York's Preventive Medicine Institute and professor in Environmental Health at New York University, began researching the most scientifically valid ways to estimate individual susceptibility to various chronic diseases. He has conducted a tremendous amount of research in this area that includes over 160 published reports in peer reviewed journals.
Pero and his colleagues discovered that various DNA-repairing enzymes could be significantly altered following exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. He found strong evidence that an individual's susceptibility to cancer could be determined by these enzymes. Lack of those enzymes, Pero said, 'definitely limits not only your lifespan, but also your ability to resist serious disease consequences.'
Pero was fascinated by the relationship cancer-inducing agents had on the endocrine system. Since the nervous system regulates hormone balance, he hypothesized that the nervous system had to also have a strong influence on one's susceptibility to cancer.
To support this argument he found a substantial amount of literature linking various kinds of spinal cord injuries and cancer. Pero found that these injuries led to a very high rate of lymphomas and lymphatic leukemias. This understanding led Pero to consider Chiropractic care as a means of reducing the risk of immune breakdown and disease.
Pero's team measured 107 individuals who had received long-term Chiropractic care. The chiropractic patients were shown to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and a 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer or serious diseases. Interestingly, Pero found no decline with the various age groups in the study demonstrating that the DNA repairing enzymes were just as present in long-term chiropractic senior groups as they were in the younger groups.
Pero concluded, 'Chiropractic may optimize whatever genetic abilities you have so that you can fully resist serious disease...I have never seen a group other than this show a 200% increase over normal patients.'
Kent, Christopher. Models of Vertebral Subluxation: A Review. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. August 1996, Vol 1:1. Pg 4-5
Sternberg EM, Chrousos GP, Wilder RL, Gold PW. The stress response and the regulation of inflammatory disease. Ann Intern Med 1992; 117 (10):854
Brennan PC, Triano JJ, McGregor M, et al. Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis factor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992; 15(2):83
The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association(ICPA), developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.
This balanced state in the pelvis has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.
It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.
Further, the results from the study suggest it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique, as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy, when a woman has a breech presentation.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy.
With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether.
Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and, therefore, results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.
In decades past, very few urban kids had ever even heard of a parsnip, a fennel bulb, or a bunch of kale. In those days, fruit and vegetable consumption typically consisted of apples, bananas, corn, potatoes, peas, and lettuce. Oranges were infrequent and grapefruit was a rarity. Today a veritable cornucopia of produce is available year-round, providing the possibility for substantial variety in a family's daily diet. But with the exception of families that include dedicated foodies, most diets could still be considered reasonably barren with respect to consumption of a range of healthful fruits and vegetables. Importantly, taking the single step of providing a variety of produce for the daily table will lead to multiple benefits in terms of health and wellness.1
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is so valuable that this daily habit ranks high on the list of federal health and public policy recommendations focusing on nutrition. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture has launched the ChooseMyPlate campaign to support public policy, highlighting the five main food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. The ChooseMyPlate program recommends that fully one-half of every plate of food consist of fruits and vegetables.
Physiologically, all bodily systems, most especially the gastrointestinal system and immune system, depend on nutrition gained from fruits and vegetables.2,3 Consuming fresh produce daily enables the gastrointestinal system, that is, your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, to process food effectively and facilitate the transit of food throughout the stomach and intestines. Deficiency of fresh fruits and vegetables will slow transit time, resulting in blockage, bloating, and compromised regularity. Similarly, immune system functioning depends critically on the availability of specific nutrients derived from fresh produce. These nutrients, known as phytochemicals, provide biochemicals that aid immune system cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells in defending the body against bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic disease-causing invaders.
Nature has provided us with an easy means of identifying the types of produce that contain the most healthful nutrition: the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more phytochemicals and other nutrients it contains. For example, foods rich in phytochemicals include blueberries, carrots, greens such as kale and chard, broccoli, apples, oranges, beets, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Produce such as bananas do not contain many phytochemicals, but are still valuable sources of complex carbohydrates.
Thus, all of us, both children and adults, need our daily portions of fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, merely having this information is not sufficient. Action is required. A four-week trial of adding fresh produce to your family's daily diet should provide many indicators of the available health benefits of these marvelous foods. Such evidence will likely be sufficient to cause a healthful long-term shift in your family's dietary habits with numerous positive outcomes in the years to come.
1Zhang YJ, et al: Antioxidant Phytochemicals for the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases. Molecules 20(12): 21138-21156, 2015
2Guillermo Gormaz J, et al: Potential Role of Polyphenols in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases: Molecular Bases. Curr Med Chem. 2015 Nov 27. [Epub ahead of print]
3Ghosh N, et al: Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Progress and Prospect with Herbal Medicine. Curr Pharm Des. 2015 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Doctor, is there anything chiropractic can do for bed-wetting? This is a question parents sometimes ask of the chiropractor. Usually, this question is asked when other methods of treatment have been tried and found ineffective.
Bed-wetting (enuresis) is another of the many reasons why parents bring their children to see the chiropractor. What can the doctor of chiropractic do for this problem?
In this issue, we will take a look at reasons why chiropractors have been able to correct this problem when other treatments have failed. We will also look at the conflicting evidence presented in the scientific literature relating to the effectiveness of the chiropractor adjusting the child's spine to correct this problem.
Most children wet the bed for the first few years of life, but by the age of 4 to 5 years old, most children should be able to establish proper bladder control. Enuresis refers to the inability of a child to establish this proper bladder control resulting in either daytime or nocturnal involuntary urination.
Primary enuresis occurs in a child over five years of age, who has never been able to establish proper bladder control. Secondary enuresis is the diagnosis for the child who has been able to establish proper bladder control, but who has since lapsed back to wetting the bed. Occasionally a pathological mechanism such as neurogenic bladder may be responsible, but usually no such cause can be identified.
In most cases, bed-wetting is considered as just an unfortunate childhood problem, and no outside treatment is sought. The parents are frequently prepared to simply wait until the child grows out of it, and in most cases these problems go untreated.
The traditional chiropractic approach to treating the child who is a bed-wetter is to adjust the spine, usually in the area of the lumbar spine or sacrum. A review of the anatomy and physiology of the bladder may help us understand why these areas are chosen as the prime target.
Bladder Anatomy and Physiology
Emptying of the urinary bladder is controlled by the detrusor and trigone muscles. The nerve supply to these muscles is via the sacral parasympathetic nerves from S2 to S4.
Appropriate bladder function is also controlled by the urogenital diaphragm which derives its nerve supply from the L2 spinal nerve.
Development of the Sacrum
The sacrum (or tailbone) develops as five separate segments. These segments remain separated until a child reaches puberty, at which time fusion of one sacral segment to another commences. Eventually, the sacrum will be one single bone with all five segments fused together, but this does not occur until the mid-20s.
Because the sacrum consists of separate segments during the early years of life, it is possible that misalignment of these segments can cause nerve irritation or facilitation. This nerve facilitation, especially to the area of the bladder, may be the cause of the inappropriate bladder function associated with bed-wetting.
As we have seen, the developing sacrum in the early childhood years remains highly mobile, existing as separate spinal segments. During this period, the sacrum can be subjected to repeated trauma from childhood falls and the early attempts at walking. This early trauma to the sacrum may be the major reason why bed-wetting in some patients ceases after the spine is adjusted.
Is the Spine the Cause of all Enuresis?
Adjustment of the sacral segments in the bed-wetter has an anecdotal history of effectiveness throughout the years. Recent studies, however, would appear to disagree with such claims. One such study from Australia1 concluded that spinal adjusting offered little help for enuresis, while another study2 suggested that good results could be obtained. This apparent disagreement may suggest nothing more than bed-wetting is due to several causes, one of which is spine related. Children with a spinal cause respond while those with other causes of bed-wetting do not.
The conclusion would therefore appear to be to have all children who are bed-wetters evaluated for the possibility of spinal problems as the underlying cause.
1. LeBoeuf, et al: Chiropractic Care of Children with Nocturnal Enuresis. JMPT, 14(2):February 1991.
2. Gemmell and Jacobson: Chiropractic Management of Enuresis. JMPT, 12(5):1989.
FROM: Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2009 (Dec); 8 (4): 156–164
Richard G. Strunk, DC, Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD
Cleveland Chiropractic College,
Overland Park, KS.
OBJECTIVE: This feasibility study was conducted to further the development of a line of investigation into the potential effects of spinal manipulation/manual therapy on, balance, cervicogenic dizziness, and neck pain in adults.
METHODS: A single-group, preexperimental, feasibility study was conducted at a chiropractic college health center and a senior fitness center with a target sample size of 20 patients (40 years or older). Patients were treated by either a clinician or a chiropractic student intern for 8 weeks. The Dizziness Handicap Inventory was the primary outcome measurement, with the Short Form Berg Balance Scale (SF-BBS) and the Neck Disability Index used as secondary outcome measurements.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven patients were recruited over a period of 13 months. Twenty-one patients enrolled in the study; but because of 2 dropouts, 19 patients completed the treatment. A median Dizziness Handicap Inventory change score of +7 points was calculated for those dizziness patients, with 3 patients improving by at least 18 points, indicating a clinically meaningful change. Seven of the 15 patients who performed the SF-BBS attained at least a 4-point improvement with an effect size of 1.2. A median Neck Disability Index change score of +1 was calculated for those patients with neck pain. Twelve minor adverse reactions were reported by 8 patients, with 3 of those reactions lasting longer than 24 hours.
CONCLUSION: A large effect size was calculated for the SF-BBS. Most patients demonstrated improved balance, and some showed reduced dizziness and neck pain.
Arthritis is known by many names—but all of them indicate a condition that can be both painful and debilitating. In some manifestations, it is an autoimmune disorder of the joints, and in other it occurs when the cartilage that lines the joint surfaces wears out. In fact, it comprises over 100 diseases and conditions. Chiropractic has been proven remarkably effective in treating arthritis and its symptoms, both in genetic and non-genetic related forms of arthritis.
How Can Chiropractic Help Arthritis?
Chiropractic for arthritis addresses the practical issue of getting the body to move more freely. Once the body is aligned to move with fewer restrictions, the need for pain-relieving medications lessens, or disappears altogether.
Chiropractic as a regular treatment will also help prevent arthritis, or at least its damaging effects. This form of prevention is probably the most crucial benefit in treating the disease. The lifestyle changes and therapies associated with chiropractic will influence diet, exercise, and maintaining the body’s alignment that practitioners believe will offset health problems that might accompany arthritis. Proper weight and a healthy immune system are both important factors in limiting the devastating effects of all forms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chiropractic—and the holistic health practices that often accompany it—offers multiple benefits in offsetting the dreaded effects of this disease that can take so many undesirable forms for so many people.
Why use Chiropractic for Arthritis?
The basis for Chiropractic care is centered in the body’s ability to heal itself. By correcting joint and spine dislocations, a chiropractor helps increase range of motion in the body, which assists in movement. Chiropractic and its complementary treatments, which include nutrition and lifestyle choices such as exercise and massage therapy, can be used as a preventive measure in developing arthritis or to help relieve the serious mobility issues. Because Chiropractic focuses on physical manipulation, joints can be directly adjusted in order to reduce pain. In general, the stiffness and pain that can result from various forms of arthritis can be alleviated with chiropractic treatment.
Once arthritis occurs does occur, chiropractic’s use of spinal manipulation can result in the diminishing of pain by assisting the overall physical health, resulting in greater ease of movement and decreased fluid build up in the joints that often accompanies arthritic conditions. The use of massage in chiropractic care can also ease stiffness and encourage movement. The application of heat and cold presses has been shown to ease arthritic pain. The use of electrical stimulation in chiropractic treatment is believed to stimulate pain-inhibiting chemicals in the human body, also known as endorphins, and block the nerve fibers that are responsible for pain.
Using chiropractic instead of prescription medicines for pain relief, or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), can reduce the chances of experiencing harmful side effects from long-term use. It offers a non-invasive method of maintaining physical health and addresses such conditions as arthritis in a way that will offer freedom of movement without the deteriorating effects that might come with medication.
Chiropractic care has been known to help ease physical pains, but new findings have opened a door of hope for those who seek alternative depression/anxiety treatment to mainstream medication.
A recent study published in theJournal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research found that upper cervical chiropractic care could help lessen anxiety and symptoms of depression.
Decrease in Physical Pain Can Lead to Mental Clarity
Researchers conducted the study based on a 12 sessions of chiropractic intervention for individuals with anxiety and depression symptoms.
"Four of the five study completers expressed satisfaction with the outcome and that they would recommend similar care to others with anxiety or depression," study researcher Dr. Larry Arbeitman said. "Participants also reported a decrease in muscle tension and pain and an increase in mental clarity and physical energy."
While researchers from the study were careful to say chiropractic care does not cure depression, it is important to understand the role it can play to relieve pain associated with depression.
Breaking the Cycle of Pain
Some people experience common chronic pain that can be caused by headaches, lower back pain or arthritis. Depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. In fact, depression occurs three to four times more in people with chronic pain than in the general population.
People with chronic pain and depression can suffer changes in their physical, mental and social capacities and their quality of life. Chronic pain can cause difficulty in sleep, agitation, and people cannot perform their normal activities in their daily routine or concentrate.
This combination of pain can lead to a vicious cycle because it leads to depression, which leads to more chronic pain. Sometimes depression can occur before the chronic pain but nonetheless create a cycle.
But through "spinal manipulation," also known as "chiropractic adjustment," patients can have mobility restored into their joints and alleviate their physical pain, which can also lead to mental alleviation and milder depression symptoms.