Our bodies have incredible ways to regulate homeostasis and prevent illness and disease. One of the most important ways it does that it through the Endocrine system. And I’m going to show you how the chiropractic adjustment undoubtedly influences the Endocrine system.
The Endocrine system is responsible for hormone production and regulation. It’s often called the hormonal system. The hormone we are specifically concerned about today is cortisol.
Increased levels of cortisol result in increased blood sugar and a suppressed immune system.
There are 24 vertebra in our spine that house the spinal cord, and our spinal cord is connected to the brain. The benefits of the chiropractic adjustment, like positively affecting hormone regulation, don’t occur simply because a bone is moved in the process- it happens because the adjustment directly influences the brain. This is incredibly important to understand. Let me explain how.
When a vertebra is adjusted, special nerve receptors embedded in the joint capsule called mechanoreceptors are activated and fire sensory information to the brain. These signals are received and integrated by the hypothalamus, which in turn noticeably change the brain’s activity in response to the sensory input from the adjustment. The hypothalamus is a small region located at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is vital for the proper regulation of body functions including temperature, sleep, thirst, and circadian rhythm. This is one theory why patients have reported better sleep quality after beginning chiropractic care.
Pituitary gland activity dictates the production of cortisol.
But the most important role of the hypothalamus is the linkage of the Nerve System to the hormonal or endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus receives sensory information from the adjusted vertebra of the spine, and produces neurohormones as a result that activate or inhibit the release of hormones from the pituitary gland. This happens due to the improved quality of sensory information that is sent to the hypothalamus from the mechanoreceptors. The hypothalamus, having improved information from the body, is now able to inform the pituitary gland, thus modulating its activity and output. The reason this is so important to understand because pituitary gland activity dictates the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands are small glands located on the top of each kidney. They are part of the endocrine system and are responsible for responding to times of stress. The adrenal glands respond to stress by producing cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol result in increased blood sugar and a suppressed immune system. A long-term chronic increase of cortisol can result in many negative outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, weak muscles, characteristic bodily changes, and brittle bones. Cortisol, when produced by the adrenal glands, result in breakdown of muscle due to cortisol’s influence on the liver. This is why it is so important to prevent excess levels of cortisol from being produced. It can mean the difference between health and suffering.
Excess cortisol throws the entire endocrine system out of whack. The great news is that the chiropractic adjustment helps the endocrine system accurately regulate the release of beneficial hormones, helping you to achieve and maintain optimal health. Many patients have noted increased resiliency to illness, greater sleep, less pain, and the ability to return to more physical activity. Our doctors recommend regular spinal checks to prevent unnecessary injury for adults and abnormal development for children, both of which could result in the need of costly orthopedic surgeries.
Every parent wants a healthy child.
Our children are the closest family to us. They are our own flesh and blood. We would do anything to ensure success for our kids. But the problem is, with all the information we have at our fingertips, how do we know the best way to help them when a problem occurs in their health or performance?
We can easily become overwhelmed by options. Time is precious when your child has a problem that must be fixed.
There seems to be an opinion from every side when it comes to a child’s health. But we know through science and proven research this truth: that good health depends upon a strong and properly functioning immune and nervous system. Without these building blocks of health in place, a child can suffer from a host of problems, including decreased performance in school and athletics, sleeping issues, infections and bed wetting to name a few.
A properly functioning nervous and immune system is the key to a healthy, happy child who will resist infections, allergies, and chronic illnesses. This can mean the difference between an A+ student, or a cranky child who can’t focus and is failing in school.
IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT
Children want to make you happy and proud by getting good grades. But sometimes there is a disconnect between what they know they should do and how their brain can make that happen.
The way our office approaches finding and correcting these disconnects is based on neuroscience.
At this point, you may be thinking, “But I’ve taken my son or daughter to see a Doctor/Chiropractor/Counselor before and he/she didn’t help at all!”
I completely understand your frustration.
If you have already tried numerous therapies in hopes of helping your little loved one heal and recover from their problem, you’re not the only one. We see this quite often in our office. It is completely normal to be skeptical. But our approach is different from traditional chiropractic offices. We don’t simply focus on things like decreasing pain and increasing range of motion, but we focus on assessing your son or daughter’s health concern on a deeper level.
Let me explain.
The brain controls optimum function through its neurological circuitry. It is constantly receiving information from every facet of the body, and in turn sends back ‘fine tuning’ messages, many times per second. This means every cell, gland, organ, muscle, tendon, etc. in the body is constantly being monitored via these circuits to the brain.
However, from time to time, circuits break down – very similar to a fuse blowing in your car or home. Power is now lost to that circuit, reducing function.
Reduced function = sickness, decreased performance, poor grades, etc.
I have an example that explains this problem. It can happen to anyone, including children.
You see, sometimes there is a decrease in how well your child’s nerves are able to carry the information to and from the brain to rest of the body. Think of nerve signals like the invisible signals that connect our electronic devices to WIFI and cellular towers. We can’t see these energy waves, but we sure know when there is a problem! If we can’t connect to an application or make a phone call, the first thing that we look at is the signal strength.
Our bodies work in a similar manner.
We know through science that the nervous system controls and coordinates all activity in a child’s body. Everything from breathing, digesting food, and studying is dependent on a healthy nervous system. You may not immediately think this could affect grades in school, but it has the capability to take a kid from failing to succeeding.
We don’t want any child to be held back from a scholarship or school acceptance because their brain and nerves weren’t functioning at 100%.
Yes, I said FUNCTIONING, not FEELING. This is the most important thing to consider when dealing with children and their nervous system. Often times cognitive function is not always measurable by traditional means. A reading or writing test tells you the EFFECT of a child’s good or bad behaviors, not what is causing them. Remember the problem of a bad WIFI or phone signal? Symptoms in a child are his or her outward expression of a decreased or faulty signal from the brain and nervous system.
I look for the primary condition that is affecting your child, not simply treating their symptoms that are seen on the surface.
When assessing the nerves and brain of a child, a dysfunction may not be able to be felt and seen like with a simple cut or bruise. Brain function and neurologic health is deeply rooted and requires advanced knowledge when looking for an answer. This is where we may be able to help.
New Spring Chiropractic uses a method of neurological restoration. This involves a prioritized set of treatment protocols that evaluate all the neurological circuitry and the facets of body function they represent.
Think of it as restoring function to your child’s body by turning on switches that are currently off in his or her brain.
We evaluate and address areas of physiological and neurophysiological function that you may not even know could possibly be related to their complaint. Some of these issues may have been present for a long time.
My wife, Dr. Allison Gimbert, and myself have spent years and years studying and applying our knowledge of child development and physiologic function. We are passionate about helping the next generation be happy and healthy.
We invite you to schedule an appointment to find out how we may be able to help your child be the best he or she can be.
Our approach CAN mean long-term, sustainable results- not temporary fixes that require a lifetime of care.
So if you DO want to learn more about this unique approach to neurologic restoration… At the bottom of this page there’s a simple web form.
If all this makes sense to you…
Then simply give us a call or schedule an appointment online to be seen as soon as possible.
Yours in Health,
Drs. Sean and Allison Gimbert
Stretching tips and myths debunked for greater spinal health.
Stretching has been touted for it’s many benefits, some of which are true and some that are not-so-true. Do you know why we should stretch, and for what reasons? Here are some things to consider before doing your favorite sport or activity.
Warming up before an event or activity is often combined with stretching. But did you know that stretching before physical activity has been shown to have no little to no effect on injury prevention? Only a proper warm-up prior to activity is most likely to prevent injury.
Think back for a moment to your days of middle school gym class. Yes, for many of us this is a cringe-worthy thought. Those awkward days of puberty, disproportionate body parts, coupled with the stresses of fitting-in while somehow playing it cool like you have it all figured out as a 12 year old. Those wonderful days of ill-fitting clothing and the not-so-hip athletic shoes your mom picked out for you. They weren’t the pair you wanted, but mom said they would look great on you. Oh, how she was wrong. Yep, we’re talking about those days.
During gym class everybody stretches, and stretches, and stretches, for what seemed like an eternity. Some days, you likely spent this time thinking how awful your tennis shoes looked compared to the popular kid’s brand shoes, and imagined how you could somehow switch shoes with him or her without them knowing. The idle fantasies of youth is really creative, isn’t it? But back to those stretches.
The old practices of stretching simply doesn’t help us from getting injured.
Even though most of us can remember a time in gym class during grade school where the class would stretch before playing a game or running, this practice simply doesn’t help us from getting injured. It can help lengthen muscles, but the kind of gym class stretching you likely remember well is a thing of the past.
Today, warm ups should consist of functional movements that prepare your body for the activity you are about to be doing. Think about the field goal kicker you have seen on the sidelines during a game. He isn’t spending his time focused on stretching to “stay loose”, but working on movements that will improve the kick and the activity he is trained to perform. He actively engages his body and muscle by performing practice kicks. This helps his brain and muscles form connections that improve his performance on the field. That is a pretty amazing concept if you think about it, right?
We should approach stretching with some basic information. This information should help you to feel empowered and not afraid of stretching for greater health. Stretching can actually lead to injury and thus may not be appropriate for athletes before commencing activity. This will vary and depends on the activity. Ask us on your next visit if you have specific questions.
The football kicker, as well as us, will benefit greatly if we stretch after activity. For healthy individuals, 30 seconds of stretching per muscle group will increase range of motion. That is all it takes! This is great news for those who find stretching time consuming or laborious. However, certain muscle groups and injuries require additional time or repetitions. We can help you decide how long each muscle group should be stretched.
Stress affects your muscles negatively.
One reason why muscles go into spasm or become tight is due to emotional (psychological) stress that affects a part of your brain called the Limbic system. The Limbic system is a complex area of the brain that controls mood, emotions, and behavior, motivation, and long term memory. Complex processes like hormone regulation are affected by this system. When the Limbic system processes negative emotional stress, one thing that can result is a physical reaction in the muscles. The emotional stress could then manifest as a muscle spasm or increased muscle tone over different areas of the body, such as the shoulder and neck area, the low back, and the pelvic floor area.
There is evidence that the Spinal Shifts or Subluxations that are corrected by Corrective Chiropractic Care can be caused in part by our thoughts and mental stresses. These thoughts then develop into physical problems- first, the spinal problem occurs, then as a result, the muscles tighten as a compensatory mechanism to prevent further rotation and injury of the spine. We have found this to be true in many patients who experience stress from a job or personal reasons.
This can manifest as a simple tight muscle, or leave you or me predisposed to developing trigger points. Trigger points develop as a result of muscle dysfunction, and is from sustained shortening of the muscle fibers. The area within the muscle is very painful when pressed and causes the pain to travel to other areas of the body, such as the shoulder or hip. We find that addressing the underlying spinal problem often allows the muscles to relax and the trigger point to go away. For particularly bothersome trigger points, we also have therapeutic options that can help to provide safe and effective relief.
- Stretching is great after workouts and activity, but the evidence does not support stretching before activity. It can, depending on the activity, be best completed after you exercise or are finished being physically active.
- Hold stretches for 30 seconds to improve range of motion and relieve stiffness
- Mental stress can cause spinal Subluxations which result in muscle spasm and trigger points.
- Trigger points are painful areas with a muscle that
Liebenson, Craig. Rhabilitation of the Spine: A Practicioner’s Manual, 2nd ed. Chapter 19: Manual Resistance Techniques. Lippincott Williams.2007.
Millions and millions of children are being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (abbreviated ADD) and ADHD every year. The numbers are steadily increasing every year with no signs of slowing down. Something clearly is changing in our children, but what? If attention deficit disorder is suspected in a child, or even an adult, there are potential problems to rule out. It is imperative to finding the best treatment option for these children.
Ruling out potential problems
A common first line defense for attention deficit disorder and ADHD is prescription drugs. But before jumping into dulling the senses and decreasing stimulation through pharmaceuticals, we must consider if the problem is better corrected through natural means. Our children and families, after all, should not be burdened with a lifetime of drug therapy if it can be avoided. We must look to brain function for guidance. But how?
First, an impaired functioning nervous system MUST be identified and corrected or all other treatments will be limited or useless. Yes, prescription medication has their time and place, but often results in simply patching a problem instead of CORRECTING the underlying cause. There are specific centers in the brain that, if not functioning properly, can result in certain behavioral problems.
“The choice is whether to patch the fault or find a complete solution.”
The higher cognitive functions like information processing and memory formation is essential to the young child. The limbic system of the brain is responsible for successful integration of our 10 bodily senses and making sense of the world around us. In additional to the 5 senses we commonly think of, the brain also senses changes in temperature, pressure, chemical or hormone levels, and proprioception (sense of posture and body position).
Our bodies have an internal system called the Automatic Operating System (aOS for short) that can be compared to a computer or cell phone’s operating system (think Apple’s iOS). Our aOS is responsible for ensuring smooth “background performance” of the body by coordinating things like attention, sleep, digestion, breathing, and heart rate. These things are very important for pediatric health. The aOS works without conscious effort, taking in information from our ten sensations and transmitting the nerve information to the brain.
While a computer’s iOS may need to be updated with new advances to prevent sluggish performance, our bodies’ aOS is a little different. In order to have OPTIMAL function throughout the body, brain and nerve health must be maintained. Attention deficit disorder and ADHD are just one “symptom” that can arise from a fault in our aOS. The choice is whether to patch the fault or find a complete solution.
A key area that influences the performance of the aOS is the limbic system. What is the limbic system, you ask? It is a collection of brain centers (the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus) that influence arousal, motivation and learning. It helps us respond to emotional stimuli and is involved in reinforcing behavior. The limbic system of the brain is responsible for successful integration of our 10 bodily senses and making sense of the world around us.
In additional to the 5 senses we commonly think of, the brain also senses changes in temperature, pressure, chemical or hormone levels, posture and body position, as well as sensing pain. Seems pretty important, right? Well, if the limbic system becomes overwhelmed with abnormal or excessive information from the body, then problems can develop.
“A child with attention deficit disorder or ADHD may have a faulty response to minor stimulus, creating an effect that is only appropriate for times of more serious stress.“
The amygdala, a part of the limbic system, is our “emotional brain” and is responsible for handling stress within the body. The amygdala is a very helpful portion of our brain that helps decide what to do with the thousands of senses the brain receives every minute. Responses to this information can either be healthy or unhealthy.
A healthy response to sensation means that the body addresses important problems by creating a temporary adaptation. A good example is this kind of response is the body redirecting heat to the organs of the body when someone is experiencing hypothermia. When the person’s body temperature increases, the body allows heat to return to their toes and fingers. This kind of adaptation is a healthy response in times of stress.
On the other hand, it would be inappropriate if the person simply takes a cold shower but the body interprets this as hypothermia and prevents heat from reaching their arms and legs, resulting in shock. The body overreacted because the brain interpreted the message wrong.
An overreaction in a child, whether it is a behavioral outburst or inability to focus in school, may be from a similar response in the brain’s limbic system. This can happen in the brain if the limbic system is taxed.
This excess activation of the amygdala and hippocampus causes a stress response in the body. Our bodies are very resourceful in dealing with stress, but if these brain centers become overtaxed, this may result in a host of problems. Possibilities include sensitivity to pain, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, and mental fog in the adult. In a child it could result in behaviors that include a withdraw from social activity, acting out towards parents and teachers, inability to complete tasks, and lack of motivation.
We are able to safely and painlessly assess if a child may have decreased cognitive resiliency due to excess stress to a brain center. We find that a child’s behavioral problem most often result from a problem in the craniocervical junction of the spine or from the brain directly. These problems can then be corrected through either structural chiropractic adjustments or brain therapy. Our doctors are able to assess if a brain center is not making appropriate connections with other parts of the brain, and perform neurologic integration therapy that naturally improves the child’s function. The beauty of this approach is that we are not treating symptoms, but looking at overall function of the brain. When function is improved, we find that many of these problems have promising outlooks.
One pediatric patient with attention deficit disorder had a dramatic improvement in only 2 months of care. The boy said,
“I am now able to focus better in school and am making better grades. I don’t get distracted as much, plus my body feels a lot better too.”
His mother states that he is also making more eye contact and his teacher even noticed he was paying more attention in class. This is just one example of what is possible with an optimal functioning nervous system!
Click here for more info on neurologic integration
As a specialist in nervous system and nerve health, my job sometimes requires to think outside the box for difficult cases that come to the office. Patients who respond slowly to an initial phase of care may have external toxic stressors that must be addressed to allow the nervous system to fully recover. Nervous system toxins could be caused by things patient eats, drinks, inhales, wears, or rubs on their skin. A common nervous system depressant may be lurking in their homes, believe it or not.
Cleaning products are meant to help us live with less bacteria and viruses in our homes and places of work. They are found in various forms of sprays, wipes, and liquids. But the “dirty” secret is that common household products available in supermarkets around the globe are dangerous to our nervous system health.
“The individuals who cleaned their homes with common household cleaners had impaired lung capacity equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes per day”
Our society is obsessed with cleanliness. Anything less than surgical grade clean is less than acceptable, especially in the home. A baby’s crib must be sparkling clean, the play pen has to be wiped down after each use, and the kitchen and bathroom floor has to look clean enough to eat off of. But our fixation on sanitation can have grave consequences for many unlucky individuals.
Reactions to individual cleaning products are not widely documented for a key reason: the cleaning companies are protected by law from disclosing complete ingredient lists on their labels. Why? Wouldn’t you want to know what is contained in the products you apply to your clothing, eating surfaces, and spray into the air? Without having consumer access to what’s inside these products, it can be easy to think, “It must be safe or they wouldn’t be able to sell it in the store”. But scientific research and my experience with patients tell us otherwise.
An independent long-term study conducted over a 20 year period wanted to answer one simple question: is there a difference in lung health of those who did use common household spray and liquid cleaners compared to those who did not? The results were nothing short of shocking. The individuals who cleaned their homes with common household cleaners had impaired lung capacity equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes per day!
“Nervous system toxins should be eliminated as a potential culprit.”
At this point, you may be thinking, “But these results can’t be common. Besides, I only clean once a week, not every day”. The study concluded that women who used home cleaning products as little as once per week saw the same reduction in lung capacity as those who smoke a pack a day over the same period. These same products also have the ability to damage our nervous system.
Common symptoms that we see in our office include headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders. Some lesser common conditions are attention deficit disorders (ADD/ ADHD), seizures, dizziness and vertigo. Though the conditions may appear to be very different and independent from one another, I have found connections to the severity of the issue and the level of stress to the nervous system. Without a properly functioning nervous system, anything can develop. Nervous system toxins should be eliminated as a potential culprit.
One thing I may discuss are some recommendations to decrease toxic exposure, including cleaning products. This is especially important when dealing with pediatric patients. Children and pets being smaller and lower to the ground, are much more prone to develop adverse reactions. The vapor from spray and liquid cleaners are most highly concentrated at or near ground level. So unlike adults who stand well above the level of the floor, babies, children, and pets can inhale these fumes to a greater degree than adults. We have found that some patients have quicker results when fully implementing our recommendations.
A quick and easy test to see if your cleaners are up to our recommendations or not is to look at the end cap of the product. If your detergent, liquid, or spray has a childproof seal on it when new, this product likely has chemicals that are harmful to your nervous system and overall health. It should be thrown out immediately. In addition, a more thorough look at the available ingredients listed on the container can give additional safety information.
Clorox wipes, for example, are commonly used to disinfect countertops, shelves, toys, and much more. The main ingredients in the wipes are Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride and Alkyl Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride. These are the same ingredients as pesticides. The harmful effects of ingesting pesticides are clear and absolutely a no-no for any health conscious individual. So why would we use it in our house for our loved ones to breath? These are just two examples of the nervous system toxins that are contained in these products. What many people don’t realize is that there are safe alternatives out there cleaning just as well without the potential side effects.
Some take away points from the above-mentioned study are:
- Cleaning once per week can reduce lung capacity to the same severity as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.
- Women are affected more commonly than men.
- Children and pets are especially sensitive to cleaners affecting their nervous system.
- Cleaning at home is just as harmful as being an occupational cleaner, if not more so.
- Liquid cleaners are just as dangerous as sprays.
- Asthma rates increased with women who cleaned with products regularly.
- Over time, negative effects can build up.
- Childhood caps = Nervous system toxins likely in the product.
If you think you or your loved one may be experiencing the effects of nervous system toxins, we have resources to help you heal. Call to schedule a complementary consultation to find customize your individualized options!
Do you have 1 minute? Then you have time to discover more about us by watching our new office video tour! Click below to see our office and some of the ways we care for our wonderful patients.
If you are unfamiliar with New Spring Chiropractic, we are a family practice that loves to care for people of all ages. Our techniques allow us to be gentle yet effective in our care, making it safe for even the little ones. We see patients for wellness care as well as chronic and acute conditions. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you and your family, please call us at 386-227-7534 and schedule a complementary consultation with one of our doctors.
Core strength. Flat abs. Low back Health. You have heard all these buzz words and likely read a thing or two about the best way to achieve them. But one aspect of low back health you may not have thought about is a major muscle that makes a big difference. It’s called the Psoas. Psoas low back pain is not something you have to live with.
The psoas is a large muscle that attaches to the front of the lumbar spine and then to your pelvis and femur bone. It is responsible for flexing your legs past 30 degrees. This muscle can either be a great “team player” in symmetrically activating your pelvic muscles, or it can play havoc on your low back alignment, causing extras stress and pressure on the lumbar spine. It is very important, therefore, to select exercises and movements that don’t cause you to overuse your psoas and cause injury.
One very common exercise that should not be performed is the classic abdominal “Crunch”. This can cause psoas low back pain in some cases.This exercise consists of bringing your knees to your chest from a laying position; commonly this is called a Sit-Up. The reason this is a terrible exercise is because the abdominal muscle are only active for the first 30 degrees of the exercise. After that, the psoas muscle contracts. When the psoas muscle contracts in this position, is exerts tremendous forces on the low back, potentially causing injury to spinal discs and ligaments. The force from the psoas causes compressive forces to the lumbar discs, which can cause them to fail, resulting in a bulging or herniated disc. Who would have though a simple Sit-Up could be so dangerous?
Want an alternative? Check out the Cross Cut Abdominal exercise in our video below:
A few exercises can be implemented to prevent excessive stress to the low back. But as always, talk with one of our doctors before beginning any new exercise routines. You may have a structural shift that must be addressed first before it is safe to perform certain exercises.
The pelvic tilt is the first exercise that should be mastered. It is a simple exercise but uses many key abdominal muscles. Begin here if you are just starting out. Next, a modified abdominal crunch on an exercise ball is a great way to still activate the core stabilizing muscles. Be sure to limit the crunch to no more than 30 degrees flexion. Lastly, an isometric abdominal bridge is also recommended to increase endurance, strength and stability. The bridge will help your stabilizing muscle work more efficiently.
New Spring Chiropractic
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