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Pediatric

When Should You Worry About a Fever? Do You Have Fever Phobia? Fever Facts.

fever in child

Understanding “Wait and See”

A normal temperature is anywhere from 96.6-99.4. Most fevers are caused by viral or bacterial infections but can also be a symptom of teething. The body will work without medical help in most cases. Today more and more pediatricians are honest enough to tell moms that even a fever up to 105 degrees is no cause for alarm, because the body is simply doing its job to fight the bug.

What is a fever? The Science.

Simply put, our body’s first line of defense when invaded by any microbe, virus or bacteria is going to be cells called microphages: a strong, healthy immune system may be able to eliminate the problem with this first step alone. If these fail to contain the “bug” then the body creates other pyrogens and proteins to try to assist. Once these have been created the hypothalamus in the brain recognizes that there is an invader and raises the body temperature to assist in killing it off.

This raised temperature will generally be just a couple of degrees, but the hypothalamus determines, based on the number of pyrogens and proteins, what will be necessary to eliminate the bug. If the hypothalamus creates additional biochemicals to try to protect the body then the temperature raises accordingly.

Defining a Fever.

For all children above the age of 3-months, a fever is actually a good thing. It’s a sign that their immune system is functioning properly. Although many parents will panic when their child has a temperature that is anything over 98.6°F (37°C), and this is understandable since many healthcare providers have called this a “low-grade fever,” the reality is that children’s temperatures may naturally run a little higher than what many consider the norm.

A true low-grade fever is anything between 100°F (37.8°C) and 102.2°F (39°C). This is beneficial and with most “bugs” that a child will be exposed to, this fever will assist the body in repelling the invader.

What is a High Fever Temperature?

A fever higher than 102.2°F, but under 108°F, means the body is fighting something a little more serious than the common cold and, while this level fever will not cause brain damage or any other harm to your child it is wise to seek assistance from your healthcare provider.

A serious fever is one that is at or above 108°F (42°C), as this fever can be harmful.

Can a Fever Be Dangerous?

Fevers caused by the body’s immune system are not dangerous, and the hypothalamus will control the body temperature and not allow it to get so high as to cause harm. While it can be frightening to have your child or a child in your care run a moderate to high fever, it is simply their body doing what it was designed to do. The only body temperature that can actually cause brain damage, despite what many parents believe, is 108°F, and this body temperature cannot typically be achieved on its own, but requires extreme external environmental temperatures; for instance, if a child is left in a closed car in hot weather.

What About Fever Reducers?

Since it is a very rare fever that can actually cause any kind of harm to your child, the best response is to let it run its course; most fevers will resolve themselves in 24 to 72 hours. Be aware that fevers will naturally spike a little in the late afternoon and evening so a slight increase in temperature during these times is not a cause for alarm. No matter the circumstances, do not give your child an over-the-counter chemical. Dr. Klass says, “Too small a dose of an antipyretic (fever medicine) may be ineffective; too much can be toxic.” The risks associated with these chemicals far outweigh any potential danger from the fever.

The typical over-the-counter drug is going to contain acetaminophen which has been known to cause liver damage. Other fever reducers include Ibuprofen which can cause stomach upset, and aspirin is associated with Reye’s syndrome when given to children under 19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend fever-reducing drugs but says, “Fever is not an illness, rather, it is a symptom of sickness and is usually a positive sign that the body is fighting infection.” Even with high temperatures the AAP says, “Fevers generally do not need to be treated with medication unless your child is uncomfortable or has a history of febrile convulsions. The fever may be important in helping your child fight the infection.”

Fever Treatment at Home: The Best Response.

The best response to a fever below 104.5°F (40°C) for children over the age of 3 years is lots of rest and clear fluids (water and herbal teas). Since the fever will cause your child to sweat they will lose sodium and water which must be replaced with proper fluids. This does not include Gatorade or other sugary sports drinks.

These remedies will help the body drop a fever lasting more than 3 days, and can also offer comfort to a feverish child:

  • Peppermint EO* (Keep away from the eyes! Dilute 10:1 with carrier oil [coconut, EVOO, etc.] and apply to the spine)
  • Lemon Juice Bath (Squeeze half a lemon in a warm bath and rub other half all over the body. Soak for 15 mins. Dry off and put to bed in pajamas.)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Socks (soak socks in ACV and wear to bed)
  • Chamomilla 30c (2 pellets every 3 hours directly on the tongue or dissolved in breastmilk)
  • Belladonna 30c (2 pellets every 3 hours directly on the tongue or dissolved in breastmilk)
  • Have their nervous system checked by a Pediatric Chiropractor

* Warning! Keep all essential oils away from the eyes! If EOs accidently get in the eye, flush eyes with a fat-soluble oil (EVOO, Coconut oil, butter or whole milk), NOT Water. Not all essential oils are safe and effective. When using essential oils, make sure you are using therapeutic or supplement grade essential oils such as Young Living or DoTerra.

When Should You Worry About a Fever?

Based on age and temperature a child should see a healthcare provider right away:

  • If a child younger than 3 months is running any grade of fever
  • If a child between 3 months and 3 years has a temperature above 102.2°F (39°C) and appears ill – it should be noted that even teething may also cause a slight increase in temperature
  • A child of any age that has a temperature at or above 104.5°F (40°C)

Additionally, since dehydration is a potential side effect of fever, watch your child for the following: dry mouth, lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours (or only a small amount of really dark urine), dry skin, lethargy, irritability, fatigue or with an older child, dizziness. These signs of dehydration may be a concern and the child should be seen by a healthcare professional; especially if they are unable to keep down clear fluids.

In children that are under the age of 5 years, a fever can also lead to a seizure, known as a febrile seizure. While this can be frightening it will typically have no lasting effects. During a seizure the child should be on their side or with their stomach to the ground and contact your healthcare provider as soon as it stops.

“Fever Phobia”

In 1980, Dr. Barton Schmitt published a now classic article where he coined the phrase “fever phobia”. Many parents believed that untreated fevers could actually rise to critical levels and that even low-grade fevers could have serious neurological effects.

In 2001, Dr. Michael Crocetti, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins was the lead author of a study called Fever Phobia Revisited: Have Parental Misconceptions About Fever Changed in 20 Years? He found that 20 years later not much had changed and that despite education, parents still believe that fevers are dangerous. Though they do increase the need for fluids, fevers in and of themselves are not harmful.

The Chiropractic Factor

Your Family Wellness Chiropractors, including those at First Step Family Wellness in St. Louis, are the only healthcare professionals that recognize and support the body’s natural ability to fight off infection. The immune system, like all other bodily systems, is controlled by the central nervous system via the spinal cord, which is housed in the spine. Your chiropractor helps keep the spine aligned allowing messages to travel without interruption from the brain to the rest of the body.

A fever is, quite simply, a natural part of your child’s immune system. When it is functioning at its absolute best, your child’s body will fight off most foreign invaders so swiftly that they will have no outward effect at all. However, when necessary your child’s immune system will raise their temperature to create a hostile environment for that invader. It’s how a properly functioning body functions.

How Do You Boost Your Child’s Immune System

Your child’s immune system is being bombarded with poor nutritional choices, increased sugar intake and decreased sleep from, Halloween until Christmas. Remember it’s not just the holiday season, it’s also the cold and flu season. With just a few minor adjustments you can arm your children for the assault.

The Diet Factor : Can Diet Affect Your Immune System?

The type and quantity of food your child consumes is very important for their overall health. Food provides energy for their bodies.

During this especially busy time of year parents aren’t as watchful of what their children are eating; and with organized sports and after-school activities taking up so much time, dinner is being skipped altogether or substituted with a quick trip through the drive-thru.   

Most schools report increased absences as more children are suffering from colds and the flu because of weakened immunity.  So, how do you fight back?

  • Eat three meals and two snacks a day: making sure that four out of the five are healthy, and remembering the daily recommendation of five servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Purge the kitchen, eliminating all junk food and sugary snacks – or – store them in a medium sized Rubbermaid container in the garage or master bedroom out of the reach of children (make it an effort to get to these items and they won’t be consumed as easily, or as frequently).
  • Keep fruits, nuts and boxed raisins on the counter; celery with peanut butter or other “like” items in the fridge; and go to your local health food store to find some other great tasting alternatives (i.e., European or whole grain breads, cheeses and fresh or dried fruits).  
  • Consider taking the time once every six weeks to write down what your family eats for a week and look for areas of improvement.
  • Create a weekly meal plan and prep-meals ahead of time. At First Step Family Wellness in St. Louis, you can ask Drs. Sandheinrich, or Dr. Jana, about their go-to meal-prep tips and favorite, family friendly recipes.

What boosts your immune system?

There are several vitamins and minerals that are a fundamental part of a strong immunity, including the following:   

  • Vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene and Selenium are antioxidants, which are part of our body’s natural defense mechanism, and are consumed in fruits and vegetables.
  • The mineral Zinc is important because of the role it plays in increasing your child’s resistance to infection, and is found in red meats, eggs and most dairy products.
  • Magnesium is another important mineral essential for boosting your child’s immune system, and is available in legumes and milk.

The Sugar Factor

This is the most crucial time of the year to consider this important part of your child’s diet:   

Sugar consumption has increased 30% in the last ten years.

Most children are consuming 50% of their calories from processed sugar. Sugar contains absolutely no nutrients and studies have proven that excessive sugar intake can deplete your body of several vitamins and minerals. A high intake of processed sugar adversely affects the immune system since it impairs the ability of white blood cells to sweep up and kill bacteria. It also robs the body of key nutrients such as Zinc; which we know is an important part of your child’s natural ability to fight off infections.

Throw in the holiday factor and the increased intake of sweets, and your child’s immune system is under attack during a vital time of year. With the weather growing noticeably colder, and the average child spending more time indoors, the lack of activity combined with an increased intake of processed sugars all adds up to a weakened immune system.

The Sleep Factor

Having long been considered a restorative process that is a fundamental part of a healthy body, recent clinical studies have found sleep also to be a crucial part of a properly functioning immune system.  Did you know that a sleep-deprived individual’s immune system includes patterns of alteration similar to those found in depressed and alcoholic patients? Yes, a lack of proper rest can potentially cause a child’s immune system to suffer the same changes as those caused by depression and alcoholism.

immune system and sleep

It may be that your child just won’t sleep this long, but, while this chart is certainly not a requirement, it is most definitely a healthy guideline.  The most important thing to remember is that good rest is a prerequisite for a healthy immune system, so begin to establish a simple routine Sunday through Thursday that encourages your child to get their much-needed sleep.

Some suggested routines to introduce would be:

  • No TV, VCR, DVD or computer/video games in the child’s room.
  • No homework right before bed.
  • No overstimulation the hour before bedtime: avoid TV, computer games; instead play soothing music or have “Story Time” with little ones.

The Health Factor

It boils down to this: you don’t want your child sick during the holidays anymore than your child wants to be sick. So teach your child healthy habits to avoid the spreading of germs.

  • Recently documented evidence shows that frequently washing your hands with soap and water can avoid the spreading of most childhood illness.
  • Make sure that your child doesn’t share drinks or food with other children.
  • If your child has recently been sick replace their toothbrush, or take a moment to clean it in vinegar and water.

The Chiropractic Factor: How Does Chiropractic Care Boost the Immune System?

Regular, bi-weekly chiropractic adjustments help the body maintain a strong immune response, regardless of the time of year, by keeping the nervous system functioning optimally. This works the same for adults as it does for children.

The nervous system controls and manages the function of all the systems in the body: respiratory, digestive, circulatory, hormonal, eliminative and the immune system. Any form of stress—physical, mental, or emotional—can impair health by causing nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function allowing the body’s ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.

Adjustments are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique condition. Chiropractic adjustments are both gentle and specific to each child’s development.

Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to future adjustments. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.

If you don’t currently have a pediatric chiropractor, you can schedule a consultation at First Step Family Wellness in St. Louis.

How can I boost my immune system?

Top Five Tips for a Strong Immunity

  1. Once every six weeks monitor what your family eats for one week, watching for areas where the sugar intake is too high, and the fruits and vegetables intake is too low.
  2. Make sure that four out of five of your family’s daily meals are healthy.
  3. Find a healthy multivitamin, and chewable or powder vitamin C (in the form of Sodium Ascorbate) at our office, or your local health food store (not a pharmacy or grocery store since most of the popular children’s chewable vitamins contain high amounts of sugar).
  4. Make sure that your child is getting adequate sleep.
  5. Have your child wash their hands with warm soap and water frequently!

Colic & Infant Reflux—Natural Remedies

How can you tell if your baby has colic?

Possible Signs of Colic and/or Reflux: Arch back to escape pain, inconsolable crying, frequent spitting up, sleep disturbance, poor weight gain, more crying at night compared to day-time.

Normal Weight Gain: 6-8 ounces/week or 2 lbs/month for the 1st 3 months

What is colic?

Colic has been defined as excessive, inconsolable crying of the infant, and research has shown that 10-20% of all infants under the age of 4 months suffer from infantile colic. Episodes of colic can happen anytime day or night, but will usually begin to follow a pattern.

What is colic caused by?

The general consensus between pediatricians is that colic is caused by excessive gas in the gastrointestinal tract and so their response is, of course, to utilize colic medicine. The most commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of colic is dimethicone. The side effects of this drug include: fatigue, sedation, blurred vision, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea and headache. While this list is certainly reason for pause, the most alarming fact is that the makers of this drug note on their literature that this chemical should not be given to infants under 6 months of age. Always ask for and read the drug inserts to be informed about this vital information.

Infant reflux

While most infants will spit up a little after eating, infant reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a whole different matter entirely. It typically happens due to a relaxation of muscles at the bottom of the esophagus, and is considered a result of a lack of coordination between the organs of the upper digestive system.

What are the signs and symptoms of reflux in babies?

Sometime reflux symptoms in babies start a few weeks after birth. This is because allergies or sensitivities to foods take time to develop. The infant has a leaky gut until about 6 months old. Proteins from foods and beverages are able to leak through the digestive tissue causing an immune response, therefore causing food sensitivities.

Sometimes the matter being regurgitated is breast milk or formula, but a lot of times it will include stomach acids causing the infant to be extremely distressed due to the discomfort caused to the esophagus.

The highest concern when an infant is suffering from infant reflux is the fear of “failure to thrive.” Since sometimes a large amount of the child’s nutrition is being regurgitated, many parents worry that they aren’t getting enough nutrition. With this concern in mind many pediatricians will immediately prescribe a drug treatment regimen.

Chemical treatment of reflux.

Drugs can be given to infants with reflux, but usually the problem persists. The problem with using a drug that blocks acid production is that the body needs the acid to break down food. The acid in the stomach also helps to prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing. Drugs may also cause other digestive issues and increased risk of pneumonia and gut infections later in life.

The drugs most commonly used to treat infantile reflux are H2 blockers such as ranitidine, famotidine and nizatidine (also known as Tagamet, Zantac and Pepcid). With all of these chemicals the side effects can include sleepiness, dizziness, rapid or changed heartbeat, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and trouble breathing. It should also be noted that since this is a prescription that has to be given on a regular basis at specified times, missing doses can also cause irritating and uncomfortable side effects.

The second round of treatment when H2 blockers fail is usually proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These include esomeprazole, omeprazole and lansoprazole (also known as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid). With these chemicals the side effects can include headache, diarrhea, abnormal heartbeat, rash, dizziness, muscle pain as well as nausea and vomiting. Has it not occurred to them that they’re actually causing what they want to stop?

How do you help a baby with reflux?

Solve Feeding Issues

You are not alone. We can figure this out together. Even if you are bottle feeding your baby breastmilk, we can help. Call us to schedule your lactation consultation today.

  • A strong let down causes the baby to gasp and swallow a lot of air.
  • A poor breastfeeding latch can also cause baby to swallow air. 5 Steps to the Optimal Latch
  • Change feeding positions, take brief breaks, and burp frequently
    • If bottle feeding- feed in an upright position on your lap (“pace bottle feeding”)—this allows the baby’s stomach to catch up and tell the brain when they are full, which prevents over feeding. Check out YouTube for instructional videos on Pace Bottle Feeding.
  • Different Styles of burping include: against your chest, sit upright on your lap and support the neck under the chin, and lay baby across your lap with the head higher than the chest.
  • Keep the baby in an upright position for 15-20 minutes after nursing or feeding.
  • If the baby cries and wakes up during sleep- burp them.

***If formula feeding

    • Feed the infant in an upright position on your lap and support the head (“pace bottle feeding”), which prevents over feeding.
    • Switch formulas (try to avoid corn and soy in the ingredients)
    • Make your own formula

Stay Close and Comfort the Baby

  • Push gently pressure on the belly of the infant while they are laying across your lap on their stomach to help relieve tension.
  • Fold their knees up to their chest
  • Swaddle the baby
  • Wear the baby in a carrier or wrap, stomach to stomach with baby always facing you.
  • Give a warm bath
  • Gentle music
  • Lay the baby on the left side, which helps keep the contents in the stomach. You can use rolled receiving blankets behind the back to prevent rolling. Swaddling the baby also prevents rolling to the stomach because of the fetal positioning.

Eliminate Food Sensitivities

  • Chemicals and proteins in the food that mom eats find their way to the breast milk and cause irritation. The large proteins found in milk and other dairy products, including yogurt, are one of the most irritable foods for a nursing baby.
  • Other Common Irritants: Caffeine, alcohol, food additives, chocolate, eggs, spices, beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peanuts, wheat, soy, onions, and tomatoes
  • How to determine which foods are causing the sensitivity: Avoid all of the above mentioned foods for 2 weeks. Then add one of the listed foods or a suspected food back into the diet every 3 days. The reason to wait 3 days in between each food is because sometimes the baby reacts immediately, but other times the baby may react a few days later. If you notice that the child’s reflux improves during the 2 week period, but has episodes during a certain added food, avoid that food as often as possible while breastfeeding. Then be aware when adding that food into your child’s diet when adding solids.

Treatment Options

  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Digestive Enzymes- DGST-P (pediatric) by Loomis Enzyme
  • Probiotic- reputable brands- Metagenics, Nature’s Way, Klaire, Allergy Research Group
  • Herbal Remedy- Grow and Thrive or Tummy Tamer by Chinese Medicine Works
  • ORGANIC Gripe Water
  • Acupressure massage- Tui na & Sho Ni Shin
  • Fennel/Barley Water or Tea- The mother can drink this and give the baby some in a bottle
  • Homeopathic Remedies- found at a health food store- give a single dose of 12C or 30C tablet and wait. If symptoms return repeat the dose. The symptoms should decrease with each dose and eventually disappear.
    • Chamomilla- calming and soothing for babies that are screaming and failing
    • Colocynth- indicated if pressure relieves the discomfort
    • Dioscorea- indicated for an infant that arches back
    • Jalapa- indicated when the infant cries all night, but is fine during the day
    • Lycopodium- indicated when the symptoms are worse between the hours of 4-8pm, tendency towards constipation, pressure aggravates
    • Nux Vomica- irritable and worse after eating, has trouble in the morning, sensitive to a food or spice in the mother’s diet

 

Have more questions about colic and infant reflux? Call First Step Family Wellness today at 314-805-7837, or fill out our contact form!

 

5 Steps for the Optimal Breastfeeding Latch

Breastfeeding: mastering the latch

“Although breastfeeding is ‘natural’ so is giving birth, and most of us expect to get help with that. Many of us didn’t grow up around breastfeeding and have lived in a society with historically low breastfeeding rates. We may not even have seen breastfeeding up close until we come to do it ourselves. It’s not always easy. It’s important to find help and not struggle alone.”

Human-milk.com

Breastfeeding should be a restful and enjoyable time for mother and baby to bond. The goal of the breastfeeding team at 1st Step Family Wellness in Kirkwood is to provide each mother with the breastfeeding tips, tools, and support she needs to continue a successful breastfeeding relationship with her baby.

Not having an optimal latch can lead to symptoms relating to colic, reflux, less than ideal weight gain, and dental decay; which can result in the need for otherwise unnecessary medications and treatments. Making sure baby has a proper latch on the other hand, can ensure baby receives all the breastfeeding advantages.

Having the proper breastfeeding latch can:

  • Eliminate nipple pain and allow damaged nipples to heal naturally
  • Improve the transfer of milk, which can result in increased weight gain
  • Increase mother’s milk supply
  • Improve sleep patterns—by increasing the efficiency of milk transfer, less time is spent at the breast, which means more sleep for mother and baby

The best time to feed baby is whenever baby is showing hunger cues–sucking on hand or searching. If baby is fussy, bring baby skin-to-skin for several minutes to calm them, prior to bringing baby to breast.

1st Step Family Wellness’ Certified Lactation Counselor, Renee Muehlfeld, has compiled these 5 steps for achieving the optimal breastfeeding latch:

  1. GET COMFORTABLEGet yourself in a comfortable position, with a pillow within reach if you need it to stabilize your arm.
  2. NOSE TO NIPPLE-Express a drop of milk onto your nipple and bring baby’s nose to your nipple.
  3. 140 DEGREE– We want baby to tilt their head back and open their mouth wide (140 degrees is the goal) which will happen naturally by bringing baby’s nose to your nipple. Big mouth, then slide baby’s body up and onto the breast. Aim your nipple at the roof of baby’s mouth to avoid pinching. If baby appears to have a tight or tiny latch, pop your pinky finger into the corner of their mouth to release the latch suction and try bringing baby’s nose to nipple again. This will correct a shallow latch during breastfeeding.
  4. HANDS OFF-Watch your hand placement on baby’s head. You want their neck to settle into the cup between your index finger and thumb. You want baby close, nose to breast, but not smothered in breast. Also, hands off your breast. Bring baby to breast, instead of breast to baby. When you push and pull your breast into baby’s mouth, your breast will slowly go back to where it naturally lies and baby may “pop off”, so it is best to bring baby to where your breast naturally lies to avoid having to relatch.
  5. LIPS CURLED OUT-Like a good vacuum, for optimal performance you need a good suction. Similar for breastfeeding. You need a good suction to have optimal milk transfer. You want to see baby’s upper and lower lip slightly flanged out, enough where you can see the beginning of the inner, wet part of baby’s lips. You can use your pinky to flip the lips out, if necessary. If baby’s lips seem tucked in or tethered to the roof/inside of the mouth by a thin piece of skin or gum, give us a call for further instruction.  Read more about Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding.

How long does the average mom breastfeed?

Remember, it is not about the amount of time spent at the breast. It’s about how much milk is transferred. A successful optimal latch leads to less time on the breast, a happier, full-bellied baby and a happier, well-rested momma!

Need breastfeeding help?

Call us to get connected with one of our Certified Lactation Counselors or find a local breastfeeding group to join, like the groups hosted at Kangaroo Kids on Manchester.

Back-to-School Nutrition

back2school-nutritionImproving Your Child’s Behavior & Concentration with Proper Nutrition

The new school year is well on its way. The initial frenzy is over and the kids are now getting knee deep in a new semester of knowledge, the stresses of schoolwork and exams, and are likely being introduced to a new set of emotions and confusions that are directly impacting their behavior and overall concentration. While it may feel like all you can do is either wait it out, talk it out, or seek professional assistance; there may be another solution right under your nose

Think about your child’s diet at-home and during the school days. While you may be able to ensure that they are eating all their vegetables and other necessities while at home, do you know what they are consuming when you are not around? Do they choose from the breakfast and lunches provided at school, grab a soda or candy bar between classes, or opt for sugary and artificial snacks while doing homework and studying? (more…)

Tongue Tie and Breastfeeding

It is completely natural for mothers and their newborns to experience any number of issues when breastfeeding, from latching problems to poor milk supply, but many do not realize that these may be linked to even large issues. One of the most significant is called TOTs, or Tethered Oral Tissues.

Here at 1st Step Family Wellness, Dr. Jeanne and Dr. Ryan Sandheinrich want to ensure that your family stays well-informed about such challenges, including how to identify if your child is Tongue Tied and what you can do to help them live a healthier, more comfortable life.

TOTS: What is it?

TOTS, or Tethered Oral Tissues, may occur when the thin portion of skin under a baby’s tongue limits movement of the tongue and/or when movement of the mouth is constrained by the upper lip being anchored to the gum.

This is found in anywhere between 0.2% and 2% of babies, believed to be genetic, and can cause a multitude of problems for both mom and baby. The condition is recognized as “tethered,” since it is the thin membrane of tissue that is meant to undergo cell death during the baby’s development in the womb, that instead becomes wrapped and remains secured to a portion of the inner mouth. (more…)

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!

 

 

 

 

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.