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Posture: What is it, and what really affects it?

Posture. It’s something our mothers ragged on us about from the time we were small children. How many of your moms told you, “If you don’t stop slouching you’ll grow up to be a hunchback”? Being told continuously we need sit up straight, or to stop hunching our shoulders, seems to almost be a right of passage from childhood to adulthood.

So is there really something to this whole posture thing? Is it really that bad for you? Or is somewhat of an old wives’ tale?

posture analysis

What is Posture?

Posture is defined as: the position of the body or the position of several parts of the body with respect to each other for a particular purpose. Posture is not, regardless of what we have been led to believe, simply a matter of sitting or standing up straight. Instead, it is the actual and proper alignment of the parts of the body in relation to the spine, and the proper use of the body at all times.

 

 While slouching over at your computer, or your kids being hunched over a tablet screen, is not doing either of you any favors, it is not the primary contributor to your posture. Rather, ensuring your body is in correct alignment is the essential factor to this. At 1st Step Family Wellness,  in Kirkwood, we try to drill this education point in. Sitting up straight is not going to correct your posture. Remembering to get routine chiropractic care to ensure your body is in proper alignment will!

 

Posture and Your Little Tikes

 It’s often oversighted that even very young children can have misalignment issues. It is believed that as soon as a child is weight bearing, that improper posture can be detected, and show signs of misalignments.  You might be thinking, “Yeah, it’s not like we were in an accident, or like my kiddo is doing heavy lifting. There’s no way she has any misalignments. Her posture has to be fine.” While that seems like a logical assumption, it is an incorrect assumption.
 How many times did your little tike fall on her bottom abruptly, obviously jarring her body upon landing? How was your birth? Well, even if all went smoothly, just the natural process of childbirth can wreak havoc on a baby’s body. Think of how they are born! There is quite a bit of twisting and contorting just to make it into this world.

 

 Posture and Your Older Kiddos

This age group starts to endure more injuries, even if minor, due to their activities. If your child is active in sports it is anticipated these injuries, or minor traumas to the spine will occur. Accidentally colliding into another soccer player while running full gusto is not only going to sting a bit, but it is also going to cause some misalignments without a doubt!

  Although I mentioned above that slouching isn’t the main cause of poor posture, it certainly doesn’t help. This age group tends to have more than their fair share of screen time too. Inevitably, we naturally sit or lie in positions that aren’t conducive to posture. Children also tend to lie on their stomachs when using electronics as well; which can be bad for your spine.

To adjust to these habits, the body will typically begin to adapt to the improper alignment and cause postural deviations that you can see. These can include a tilting of the head, which may reflect a misalignment in the neck. A shoulder tilt might indicate a mid-back issue, and a tilted hip can mean a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back. If a child’s foot is turned  out or in, this can indicate a problem in the pelvic area.

The scary part of this, is that often times these misalignments that form, do not cause pain. Not that we want them to be in pain, but because there is no pain it typically leads to problems compounding before any detection without regular chiropractic care.

 Pre-Teens, Teens, and Posture

The same issues that occur with your older children also occur in this age group. Except now, they have been continuing with bad habits and injuries for a few years, and  now the compounding effects can become visible to the eye. They may even cause pain at this point.

Often times, their backpacks have become the demise of their spine as well. Aside from the actual weight, they tend to wear their backpacks improperly; which only multiplies the harm being caused to their spines.

Be sure to listen to your pre-teens and teens closely about discomfort and know they could be developing a problem that will only become worse and cause more problems over time. Pain may appear in the form of headaches, shoulder tension, or menstruation issues in girls.

 Don’t Forget About You!

You think childhood issues have ventured into real-time problems for your teen? Just think about the compounding effect on you since childhood! Chances are you do feel at least occasional discomfort and shrug it off. However, your future (senior) self will thank you in multitude for correcting any deviations now. You don’t want to be the next, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial, do you?!

  So how can you tell if you have spinal deviations?

Surprisingly, if you’re looking for the right clues, it is fairly evident. Here’s two easy tests to check out your status:

Test One-Four Steps to Performing a Postural Exam

Step one – look at bottom of ears; if one is higher than the other, this is head tilt and a sign of a possible neck misalignment.

  Step two – look at the shoulders; they should be level, if they are not, shoulder tilt is a sign of a possible mid-back issue.

Step three – place your hands on the wing bones or scapula; if one is moved toward you more than the other, this could be the sign of mid back issue.

Step four – place your hands on your child’s hips; if one hand is higher than the other, this is hip tilt and can be an indicator of a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back.

Test Two-Side View Analysis

When looking at a side view there are two signs of possible postural deviations or spinal misalignments. The first sign is the earlobes; are they directly over the shoulder or slightly forward? The second sign of a potential problem are shoulders hunched or rolled forward. If you see either of these signs it is wise to contact your current chiropractor, or 1st Step Family Wellness  for an appointment.

Concerns about your kiddos or teens? We specialize in pediatric chiropractic!

 

 

 

 

21 Day Detox

The fall hump. You know that time in between not reaching your summer weight loss goals, and still wanting to shed the pounds before your winter hibernation mode kicks in. You know what you need? No, the answer is not some “metabolism booster” from a big box supplement store. A detox. That’s what you need. It doesn’t have to be spring or summer to take control of your health. In fact, utilizing a detox that focuses on a lifestyle change, and not just a quick weight loss fix, is strongly recommended anytime of the year.

 

21 Day Detox

Today I want to share with you the success my wife (Dr. Jeanne) and I had with our 21 day detox. I want to enlighten you on how our bodies detox normally, and how they detox abnormally; most people’s bodies are detoxing abnormally. I’ll also cover why you should detox, the detox process, and a couple tips and tricks for doing a 21 Day Detox. You won’t believe what food can do for your body!

 

Why detox?

You definitely need to understand WHY you need to detox in the first place. So let me ask you a few questions:

Do you have trouble losing weight?

Do you get headaches?

How about digestive issues?

Do you eat fast food?

I could continue on to ask you more questions, but these are four quick ones that would lead you to answer yes to needing to detox. We need to detox in order to remove the toxins that end up stored in our bodies.

 

Feeling tipsy?

I often explain toxins in the body, by comparing it to being drunk. When we consume more alcohol than our bodies can process in that specific amount of time, alcohol goes into our bloodstream because it cannot be processed at that time. This is how that blood-alcohol level creeps up on you, making you unable to drive a vehicle!

 

You’re like a machine.

You could also compare it to your body being a piece of machinery. To keep a machine running smoothly, and efficiently, you need clean it, right? If you don’t goop gets caught up in it, it starts to slow down, be less efficient, and over time will start to break down on you and stop working altogether! So much like machinery, sometimes we need to clean ourselves out, and give ourselves a system restart. As toxins become too much for your body to process, they store themselves in fat and nervous system tissue.

 

Detox Process

Alright, so we covered the “why” you need to detox. Now let’s bring you back to your high school science class, and give you a little pop quiz (ok so not really a quiz because I’m going to give you the answers.)

Q: How does your body detox when it’s functioning normally?

A: Most toxins are eliminated through fecal matter. Gut flora, the good bacteria in your intestines, helps break down toxins for elimination. It’s commonly thought that the liver does most of this work. The liver is important, but is actually the secondary system for removing toxins. The liver helps with overflow of toxins. The liver actually utilizes antioxidant materials to change toxins to water-soluble substances. From there the toxins are transferred in their new form to the kidneys, where they are excreted through urination (now you know why the bathroom stall becomes your new best friend at the bar!).

Q:How does your body detox when it’s functionally abnormally?

A: Well, the short answer is it doesn’t. I mean it puts up a real good fight, and absolutely is smart enough to take measures to protect your health.

With abnormal detoxing our bodies develop “leaky gut”. This is when the lining of the small intestines become permeable (develops small gaps), where toxins can leak out into the bloodstream.

 

So what happens then…

Then because there are already too many toxins in the body, the liver doesn’t pick them up for processing. So where do they go? At first, they sit in your bloodstream; which obviously isn’t healthy and cannot be a long term solution. No worries though, your body is highly intelligent, and proceeds to move them for storage in your fat and nervous system tissue.

This may sound like your body has it all figured out, and you can keep piling the junk food in, but not so fast. You know those headaches, and inability to lose weight, and digestive issues? Well, you can thank your abnormal detox process for that.

This means it’s a good possibility the reason why you just spent three days a week at the gym for the last month, and only lost a single pound, is due to the fact that there are toxins stored in your fat. Once there are toxins stored in the fat, the body tends to want to hold on to the fat as means of protecting your body from the toxins. This is why you need to detox. I would recommend a cleanse that is a whole body cleanse, and not just liver cleanse. I recommend this because of what I explained above. While our liver is an instrumental component to our detox, it is NOT the primary. So you need a whole body cleanse.

 

The “1st Step”

Cut out all the crap food! No sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no junk food, and yes, sorry to say you will have ditch the pumpkin spice lattes for now too!

Tips & Tricks

#1 Be prepared-You’re going to need to go all Boy Scout on this. Always be prepared. How are you always prepared when on a detox? You plan ahead. We make all sorts of plans in life: business plans, weekend plans, financial plans, but seem to leave out food plans. You need to strategize your plan of attack (with food).

 

#2 Meal/snack prep- Yup. More preparation. You may feel like you’ve earned some sort of scout badge by the time your done, but you’ll be happy you did it, and the results will mirror your hard work.

So here’s what we did for our cleanse…

Days 1-7:  Ate fruits, veggies, fish, and plant-based protein shakes (avoid whey).

 

Days 8-10: Removed fruit for 3 days.

 

Day 11: Added in organic chicken and eggs.

 

Days 15-21:  Added nuts, seeds, and grass fed beef back into diet.

 

*We consumed at least 80 ounces of purified water each day.

 

*We also used a few support products (if interested, these can be purchased through our office):

 

1-Digestive Enzyme (Loomis)

2-Probiotic (Metagenics)

3-Essential Fatty Acids (Biotics)

4-Detox Powder (Metagenics)

5-Detox Capsule (Metagenics)

If you have more questions please feel free to reach out to us!

 

Donut vs. Broccoli: The Enzyme Effect

fruits and veggies

 

Keeping our families healthy. It is absolutely a forethought in all parents minds. Sometimes though, it seems like we’re implementing things because we know we should be, or think we should be, but without a real comprehension as to the way things help our bodies. Understanding is just as crucial as taking the action. Why? Well, because when we can explain to children WHY they need to eat their vegetables, and not just because we said so, it motivates them to do something good for their bodies. The same thing is true for adults; it’s simply human nature. This is why knowing the role of enzymes, and what they do for your body is so important. They are vital to our well-being. At 1st Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood, we strive to continue to educate our patients on the why.

 

Dinner table banter

Here’s an example of how a simple explanation can make all the difference with children:

Mom: “Sweetie, you need to finish all your broccoli before you can get up from the table.”

Boy: “Why?! I hate broccoli!

Mom: “Because it gives your body the nutrients it needs to grow up to be big and strong like Daddy. Without good nutrients your body won’t be as healthy, or grow as big and strong.”

*Little boy makes a begrudging face, but proceeds to eat the broccoli*

Sure it’s true eating proper food to get essential nutrition is about more than growing big and strong, but that is something, say a 5 year old boy can understand and relate to. For adults we need a more detailed explanation to help us stay on track, and remind us why we want to opt for the veggie tray at the office, over the donut box. Our inner 5 year old wants to grab that donut, because obviously, it’s delicious. We know the veggies are a more ideal option because they are healthier. Today I want to give you more information on what healthier choices have to do with the enzymes in our bodies, and why that is important, because the child in all of us needs that extra information to keep us on track and make good choices.

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are proteins that act as a catalyst in our bodies by breaking down the food we eat. The food is broken into particles small enough to be absorbed by the cells that line the intestinal tract.

Raw fruits and vegetables contain the enzymes necessary to break down the food themselves without requiring much assistance from our bodies to produce them. Therefore, eating raw fruits and vegetables is much less taxing on our digestive system. By consuming large amounts of processed foods that do not offer any enzymatic assistance, our bodies can become enzyme deficient over time. While digestion is a huge component of the job enzymes perform, it is not the only one! Enzymes are extremely complex biomechanical substances. Enzymes play a role in almost all aspects of our health and well-being. They make our hearts beat, help us breathe, aid in thought process, energy production, healing wounds, dissolving blood clots, slowing the aging process, and even help with muscle and nerve function!

 

What types of enzymes are there?

1-Food enzymes-found in raw foods

2-Digestive enzymes-produced by the body in order to break down foods

3-Mechanical enzymes-run biomechanical processes in our bodies

The 4 essential food enzymes

1-Proteases- These enzymes are responsible for breaking down proteins (meats, beans, dairy etc.)

2-Amylases-These enzymes handle breaking down carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes, cookies, etc.) The amylases are essential to breaking down milk sugar, refined sugar, and malt sugar.

3-Lipases- These enzymes break down fats (olives, avocados, etc.)

4- Cellulases-These enzymes break down fiber (celery, carrots, etc.)

It can be hard to grasp how complex our bodies are! Quite literally, without enzymes, we would cease to exist. This is why we have to be incredibly conscious of what we are putting in our bodies. We need to ensure we are providing the proper nutrition to keep things operating. Not putting the right nutrition in our bodies, is like putting diesel in a car that takes unleaded gasoline, and then wondering why the car broke down! The greasy processed foods, overcooked foods, and refined sugars, are our equivalent to putting diesel in a vehicle that takes unleaded.

 

How do I know if if I am enzyme deficient?

This is a great question, and it’s actually much easier to unravel than one may expect. There are often times when patients come into 1st Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood, suffering from things like:

 

  • heartburn

  • acid reflux

  • gas

  • bloating

  • cramping

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • anxiety

  • stiff, sore joints

  • irritability

  • restlessness

  • insomnia

These can all be signs of enzyme deficiency. Of course, it should always be evaluated to ensure there isn’t something else occurring, but these are signs of enzyme deficiency.

It’s unfortunate to see so many people that are forever on antacids because they simply do not know they only need to increase their enzyme-rich food intake, and possibly need a supplement to boost the enzymatic processes back up. Doing these two things will work wonders for relieving the above listed digestive issues people complain off!

 

So, what happens if I don’t handle my enzyme deficiency?

This is where the marvel of how food and nutrition can truly heal a body is awesome in the truest sense of the word. However there are an enormous amount of people who suffer from enzyme deficiency. In fact, over $80 billion per year is spent to relieve digestive issue like irregularity, fatigue, gas, and headaches.

By merely, adjusting your diet, and perhaps some enzyme therapy through nutritional supplements, you can prevent these more pesky, and sometime debilitating issues that can occur as a direct result from enzyme deficiency:

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Diabetes

  • Colitis

  • High cholesterol

  • Weight gain/loss

  • Excessive bloating

 

What’s the best way to fix my enzyme deficiency?

As mentioned a few times through this article, consuming raw fruits and vegetables are the first step in restoring the efficiency of your enzymatic processes. Sometimes though, a person’s body may be so deprived, and overworked, that enzyme therapy is also necessary to restore a body back to full health. This is a simple process of consuming recommended whole food supplements that will aid your recovery.

Speak to your chiropractor today, or contact us for a consultation if you have more questions or concerns. Also remember to teach your children now the importance of good nutrition by explaining things in an age appropriate manner. As children get older, revisit the subject with more specific detail that they will then understand. Knowledge is powerful, and so are our bodies when properly cared for!

Sports Injury Prevention: What Parents and Coaches Need to Know!

sports injury prevention

Participation in sports offers tremendous social, emotional, and physical benefits for children. We know that one of the worst things for kids is being on the sidelines with an injury. As parents and coaches, there are simple things we can do to help reduce preventable injuries – so our kids can continue playing the games they love.

While there are amazing benefits to having children participate in sports, it is definitely critical to prepare children properly. The risk of injury can be greatly reduced, by educating ourselves and our children how to treat their bodies when playing sports, and what we need to be on the look for as parents and coaches.

Preparation

Prior to your kiddos hitting the field, be sure to bring them into their physician for a sports physical. Doing this can help detect any concerns that may cause more serious conditions if proper precautions aren’t taken.

If there are any health conditions that a coach needs to be aware of, such as asthma, be sure the coach is made aware before the first practice or game.

Whether there are health concerns or not, it is a good practice to give the coach your emergency contact information in case any other sports related injuries occur.

Warm up

This is something many players and coaches skip. Before exerting their bodies, children should do a light warm up, and then stretch out. Doing this can prevent serious injuries due to muscle tension.

It is advisable for coaches to oversee this, and can help to have a set warm up and dynamic stretching routine. This way children develop a habit of warm ups and stretching, and know that it is an essential activity before participating in sports!

Hydration

While it is important to always stay hydrated, particularly in the Summer months, it is especially important when participating in sports and recreational activities.

Encourage kids to drink water to rehydrate 30 minutes before playing sports. Not only can your body become more easily exhausted if you’re not hydrated, but it increases the chances of muscle injuries.

During games and practices, coaches should incorporate water breaks in order for children to stay hydrated and reduce the risk of sport injuries. Whether it is practices or games, players should be rehydrating every 20 minutes during physical exercise. Be sure they are taking more than just a sip or two. To properly rehydrate an 88 pound child should be drinking 5 ounces every 20 minutes, and an older child around 135 pounds, should be drinking 9 ounces every 20 minutes.

If kids are unsure if they have been drinking enough water, you can teach them that their urine should be either clear, or only slightly yellow (like lemonade).

If at any point a player feels light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous in the heat, they should be moved to a shaded area. Then make sure any unnecessary equipment is removed, and give them cold water. If symptoms do not dissipate, seek medical attention.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Instilling a strong communication triangle between player, parent, and coach is vital to helping maintain a player’s health. It will also help in  preventing both mild and serious injuries alike.

Sometimes, in fear of not being able to continue to play in a game, kids will not communicate to parents or coaches if they are not feeling well. This is also true when they believe they may have injured themselves. Make sure to have a conversation with your children with the importance of speaking up when they are not feeling well.

“It is estimated that one-third of childhood injuries are sports-related.”

Wear Safety Equipment

Making sure your child wears proper safety equipment can prevent serious injuries. Just wearing equipment isn’t enough. You need to make sure things such as helmets are also fitted correctly. If you’re playing baseball and a helmet falls off while running it will not do much good in preventing an injury.

Concussions

A common misunderstanding is that a child will be knocked unconscious if they have suffered a concussion. This is not always the case. It is fairly common for a child to “brush it off” and keep playing because they don’t realize the severity of their injuries.

Coaches and parents should participate in learning CPR and First AId so they can recognize these types of sports injuries. A child should not continue to play if it is believed they may have suffered from a concussion, and should seek medical attention. If it is unclear if the player has suffered a concussion, it is best to not put them back in the game until they are cleared by a medical professional.

A Little R&R Goes a Long Way!

As players get older, it can be hard to make sure they are getting the rest they need. Making sure all their muscles are developing evenly can become a concern as well; particularly if they are playing the same sport year-round.

Players should be getting at least one to two days of rest each week. This gives their bodies the required time to recover before exerting muscles again.

It is also a good idea to have kids participate in different sports during different seasons; rather than playing the same sport all year around. Not only does this ensure well-rounded muscle development, but it also make kids well-rounded athletes!

Chiropractic Care

Of course, whether you are an athlete or not, we always recommend regular chiropractic care. However, it is especially important for our pint size (and larger) athletes to receive regular chiropractic care. A chiropractor can ensure any minor traumas to the spine and body are corrected before they become more serious problems or injuries down the line.

Keeping Summer Safe and Fun: Summer Safety Tips!

Beautiful sunrises, bright warm days, and boat loads of outdoor fun. Summer has so many things to be thankful for! The beginning to Summer is also an important time to remember some Summer safety tips.

Long Summer days are much more enjoyable when your family stays safe and healthy! Let’s take a look at how to stay safe and healthy this Summer.

summer safety tips

Keep your cool

When temperatures rise we tend to want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. High heat indexes can become treacherous though. Particularly, if you live in a warm, humid climate, like St. Louis.

-Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink! If you feel thirsty you have started to become dehydrated.

-Be sure children hydrate prior to outdoor activities, and continue to rehydrate every 20 minutes. Don’t wait for them to ask for a drink.

-NEVER leave children or pets in closed, parked vehicles. It only takes a minute or two for temperatures inside vehicles to elevate to dangerous levels.

-When temps hit the high 90’s be sure to only be out for short amounts of time, before going into an air conditioned space to cool off. If your home isn’t air conditioned go to a public place that is air conditioned for a few hours. Even fans can’t prevent heat related illnesses.

-On high high heat days, try to schedule outdoor activities to morning and evening hours.

Sun safety

It’s super easy when you’re having fun in the sun to forget about protecting yourself from harmful rays. It only takes a small amount time to cause damage to your skin and eyes. This is important to remember, because approximately 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer each year! So protect yourself!

-Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun.

-Wear an SPF of at least 15

-Wear sunglasses

-Reapply sunscreen frequently! Every two hours is a good rule of thumb, but reapply more frequently if swimming, or sweating a lot.

-Remember that you can get a sunburn even if it’s cloudy outside.

Tick bites

Hikes and exploring are another fun filled way to spend your day! However, there are pesky critters, such as ticks, that you need to watch out for. Ticks are responsible for an array of diseases; the most commonly known being Lyme disease. Here are some things to do to avoid those pesky ticks.

-Wear protective clothing (i.e., long sleeves and pants when in wooded areas).

-When on hikes and walks stay on paths, and avoid going off the path into overgrown areas.

-Check for ticks on kiddos, and other family members daily.

Water safety

One of the best parts of Summer are days at the pool, and weekends at the lake! Taking proper precautions will make it so that everyone can keep enjoying their weekend; without any unforeseen emergencies!

-Practice “touch supervision” (being within an arm’s length) with children who aren’t strong swimmers.

-Remember that given different circumstances, drowning can occur with adults and children alike.

-Get children into professional swimming lessons at a young age! Studies prove that children as young as one year of age are less likely to drown if they have taken swim lessons. Studies do not show evidence that it reduces drowning in infants under one. However, remember that nobody is drown-proof!

-Use life vests opposed to “swimmies”.Water wings provide a false sense of security, and can fall off children, leaving them susceptible to drowning.

Boat safety

Boating can be an awesome family activity in the Summer! Here are some things to consider prior to leaving the boat dock.

-Teach children the difference between swimming in a pool, and swimming in open water. Open water can have uneven surfaces, depth can vary greatly (making diving unsafe), and children need to be aware of possible currents, and undertows.

-Always have children wear a life jacket approved by the US Coast Guard when boating or participating in watersports.

-Check life jackets for proper fit. You can have children raise their arms straight up, into a touchdown position. If it hits their chin or ears, the jacket is either too big, or the straps need to be tightened.

-The US Coast Guard does not recommend to bring babies on boats. This includes kayaks, sailboats, motorboats, and canoes; until he weighs enough to properly fit into a life jacket. Car seats are a bad option for babies, in replacement of life jackets. Car seats are heavy, and will sink instantly if there is an accident.

Fireworks

Whether it’s a weekend at the lake, or the 4th of July, fireworks are an awesome way to end a hot Summer day. Fireworks can go from fun to disaster quickly though. Here a few things to remember.

-Attend firework displays that are being done professionally. It is not recommended to set off large fireworks on your own.

-Supervise children at all times. Even sparklers, which most people consider harmless, can reach up to 1,000 degrees fahrenheit!

-Fireworks can cause severe burns, blindness, and sometimes death.

First Aid Kits

Be sure to have a first aid kit handy, both at home, and in your car. Hopefully, you don’t have to use it, but better to be prepared! Cuts and scrapes are inevitable with little ones running around in the Summer.

The most important thing to remember

The most important thing to remember this Summer is to spend lots of quality time with your family! Enjoy the outdoors. Go swimming, go boating, take hikes, play outside; whatever it is you like to do, do it. It’s easy to get tied up in the day to day activities, and then before you know it, Summer is over. Of course, you should also make it a point to stop in for an adjustment after all that physical activity as well!

 

Why what you Learned in Kindergarten, is all you need to know About your Nervous System!

Many people are familiar with the children’s song, “Dem Bones”. You know the one.” The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone”…and so on. Thinking of that song really makes me believe that everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten. Kindergarteners understand that everything in our body is connected, and has an effect on the rest of our body! Somewhere along the way though, we forget what we learned in kindergarten. It all of sudden becomes crazy that something wrong in “your back” could be affecting your stomach. This is why chiropractic is vital to your overall health, not just your back.

nervous sytem

How your nervous system works

As you go about your day, your body is constantly sending messages to other parts of your body, in order to keep you functioning and alive. The central nervous system is the complex system of nerve tissues that control the body’s activities.  Both your brain and your spinal cord are a part of this system.Your nervous system is your body’s communication system in essence. Without your nervous system parts of your body wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other to keep you breathing, digesting, and pumping blood through you.

Autonomic Nervous System

The nervous system is so complex, that there are multiple systems within the nervous system itself. The most awe-inspiring is the autonomic nervous system. This system is responsible for all the things our body handles involuntarily; meaning that you don’t have to think about doing these functions; your body does it automatically! The autonomic nervous system (ANS), controls things like heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate. salivation, pupillary dilation, perspiration, and urination. Could you imagine if you had to stop in the middle of eating lunch and tell your brain, “I think I need more saliva to help me eat this food.” Or if you’re forgetful, it wouldn’t go well to have to tell your heart to pump, or remind yourself to breathe! Thankfully, our bodies just handle this on their own. Otherwise it would be really difficult to get anything done during the day.

 

Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten

I know, right now you’re thinking, “This is all fascinating, but why does this mean that my toe bone’s connected to my foot bone? And why does this mean chiropractic is vital to more than my back?” Great question!

If our bodies were a puppet show, our nervous system would be the puppet master; pulling all the strings, and making the show a success. The puppet master is the control system. With us, our nervous systems are the puppet masters, and our bodies functioning are the show. You see, when the brain sends messages to our organs, the message travels down through our spinal cord, out through our nerves, and then to our organs. This is how our organs know what to do, and function at 100%.
Now imagine that at the puppet show someone cut one of the strings on the puppet. What would happen? That part of the puppet attached to that specific string would stop working, right? The same thing happens in our bodies.

 

Vertebral subluxations

There are things that interfere with our nerves. Now, nobody is coming up to us and cutting our nerve, like the puppet master’s string; but falls, exercise, sports, sleeping wrong, poor posture, all of these things can cause vertebrae (bones in your spine) to move from their proper alignment. When they move, they can irritate and the nerves that run between the vertebrae. This causes a problem with our body’s communication system! Now when a message goes from the brain, to the spinal cord, to the nerve, that nerve can’t properly relay the communication to the attached organ. That nerve is now malfunctioning, and can cause that organ to malfunction. THIS is why chiropractic is vital to your overall health, and not just your back.

If you look at a diagram of the nervous system, you will see how the nerves branch out, and wrap around to your organs. This is why it is not uncommon for someone who has been experiencing stomach issues to have pain in their mid back! Chances are a vertebrae  is out of place (vertebral subluxation) in your mid-back.

Why you need to get help

Leaving vertebral subluxations untreated can lead to a slew of problems; both minor and major. Think about it. All the other bodily systems are controlled by the nervous system: digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and even immune. So if the nerve that is meant to communicate with one of those systems can’t do so properly, that is a problem!

For example, did you know an improperly functioning nervous system is the cause of most allergies? This includes seasonal allergies, respiratory allergies and food allergies. How many people do you know with one or more of those?! As a matter of fact, you probably have at least one of those!

I hope this article helped you get back to your kindergarten self! Everything in your body is connected; even beyond your bones! The nervous system is an amazing puppet master, and we want everyone to see your best show. If you’ve been having allergies, stomach issues, headaches, of course back pain, or any other ongoing issue, schedule to see a chiropractor today! Chiropractors are the only health care professionals trained in detection, and correction, of vertebral subluxation. Let’s get this show on the road!

 

 

 

 

Increase Your Water Intake, and Increase Your Health

Benefits of Drinking Water

Benefits of drinking water

Did you know that until recently, soda was the most popular beverage in the US for nearly 2 decades? It wasn’t until soda started to be blamed for the rise in obesity that our old faithful friend, WATER, rose back to the top in 2013.

Water makes up for about 60% of the human body.

We NEED water to function properly. I think one of the reasons that people undervalue the necessity of water for their bodies, is because they don’t truly understand everything that their bodies rely on water to accomplish for them. If I were to ask someone if they wanted their body to be able to regulate their body temperature, digest food, and carry oxygen to their cells, I guarantee the answer would be yes! These are all important and necessary functions of the human body for survival.

Did you also know, that the human body can go weeks without food, but can’t go for more than three days without water? Crazy, right?! That is how vital water is to our health and well-being.

In my practice in St. Louis, I often find that people do not drink enough water. When I tell them the amount that they should be drinking daily, I get a jaw dropping response from most people. It is actually really rare for me to find that someone consumes the recommended daily amount of water needed. The amount of water needed is a simple calculation. Drink half your bodyweight in ounces. As an example, a person that weighs 150 lbs should be drinking 75 ounces of pure water daily.

There are numerous things our bodies do everyday that cause us to lose fluids, and require a need to rehydrate ourselves. There are the obvious ones that occur when we are sick. For example, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating. Of course, sweating is a function that occurs while sick, or well, but it does increase during bouts of illness.

Water has an astounding amount of benefits in the human body. They are as follows:

  • Water is needed to form saliva in your mouth for digestion.

  • Water is also needed to break food down into smaller parts, to be used properly by the body—absorption of nutrients.

  • The brain needs water for the neurotransmitters and hormones needed throughout the body.

  • The body regulates temperature using water. This is another reason why it is essential to stay hydrated when you are sick.

  • There is water in the blood which helps deliver oxygen to all the tissues.

  • Water makes up the fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.

  • Your joints need water to cushion and lubricate, in order to move properly.

  • Cells in the body need water to regenerate and grow.

  • It keeps the mucous membranes moist.

  • Fluids help to flush the waste products out of the body, that are naturally made in the body, and the toxins that we are exposed to daily.

  • Water is in Lymph. Lymph is the fluid that is part of your immune system.

  • Energy! Lack of water is the number one reason for daytime fatigue.

Dehydration

Given all of the functions water helps with, you can imagine the negative impact dehydration can cause to the body. We even need water to breathe properly. When fluids become scarce in our bodies, they try to limit the amount of fluid they lose to breathing!

Our bodies need humid air to breathe effectively. We need water in order for our mucous membranes to moisturize the air we breath before it hits our lungs. When our bodies become dehydrated, mucous membranes become drier. This leads to the lungs being more easily irritated by common allergens, such as, mold, dust, and cigarette smoke. Lack of moisture leads to dry, unproductive coughs, and further irritation to the lungs.

This is one of the reasons it is extremely important for people with allergies to consume enough water on a daily basis! Aside from allergens, dehydration also lowers the body’s immune response. This makes the body more prone to viruses and bacteria.

Signs that your body needs more water:
  • Headaches

  • Achy joints

  • Dry skin

  • Slow digestion

  • Brain Fog

  • Sluggishness

  • Muscle cramps

Many patients of mine, that follow the above recommendations for water, come back into my St. Louis office, and report that they have more energy, less pain, better looking skin, and better digestion.

Take the water challenge, and find a water bottle!

Preferably glass or BPA free plastic. Measure how many ounces, and figure out how many of them you need to drink in a day. With all the health benefits you gain by staying well hydrated, why not add more water to your day. Not to mention it is amazingly refreshing, and calorie free. I’d say water is a much better option than a soda, that will dehydrate your body, cause a sugar spike, and pack on 150 calories per can! (Remember, bathing suit weather is just around the corner.)

Water is the most essential element of survival!

Drink Up!

Grand Opening!

GO

 

Dr. Ryan and Dr. Jeanne Sandheinrich are a husband and wife team that have been active in the Kirkwood community for the last 5 years. Now they are opening a Chiropractic Wellness Center to serve Kirkwood and the surrounding communities treating infants to adults and everyone in between.

Dr. Ryan focuses on treating individuals with general back pain, headaches, and allergies. He uses general chiropractic and nutrition to help the body heal itself.

Dr. Jeanne focused her education on treating pediatrics and pregnant women, as well as general women’s health issues. She treats with low force chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutrition to balance the body’s nervous system for healing.

All families are welcome to come meet the doctors and see the new office. The first 20 families to come to the Open House will receive a complimentary children’s book. There will be light appetizers and water served all day, and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 11:30am. At 6pm there will be a wine toast. Come out and meet us!