Category Archives: Chiropractic

Chiropractic

International Babywearing Week – Why Your Chiropractor Loves Babywearing

 

Happy International Babywearing Week! Babywearing is defined as simply wearing baby with some sort of carrier, be it a buckled soft structured carrier, sling, or simple piece of cloth. As a chiropractor and father, babywearing is something I am passionate about. Why are so many chiropractors outspoken proponents of babywearing? The overarching reasons are twofold. One, today’s U.S. culture has mothers and fathers carrying their infants and young babies in car seats, which, when done for an extended period, can have serious consequences for infant development. Two, babywearing has a large number of positive benefits, especially for the physical, social, emotional, and neurological development of the infant. There have been many great articles written on these two topics – both the negative effects of portable car seat overuse, and the positive effects of babywearing. Below I’ve provided links to a few articles on these topics.

  • ICPA – Benefits of Baby Carrying: This article primarily discusses physical benefits for the infant, such as general physical development, spine development, prevention of ear infections and respiratory issues, improved balance, increased neurological stimulation, better physiological regulation, and decreased fussiness/crying. http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/
    The-Outer-Womb/the-benefits-of-baby-carrying.html
  • ICPA – Car Seats are for Cars: This article discusses problems arising with routine overuse of infant car seats, and how babywearing is a safer, healthier alternative.  Portable infant car seat use has contributed to an increase in plagiocephaly, or “flat head syndrome.” Extended use of portable car seats also places unhealthy strain on the infant due to poor positioning, and strains the adult carrying it as well. Infants who are left in the car seats beyond the car ride also receive less touch and interaction, which affects development. http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/The-Outer-Womb/car-seats-are-for-cars.html
  • Andrew Dodge, DC – Babywearing vs Car Seat Carrying:This article, written by my twin brother who is also a DC, discusses the physical and neurological effects of car seat carrying, contrasted with babywearing being ideal for baby’s physical, neurological, and emotional development.  https://onyababy.com/2012/06/benefits-of-babywearing-vs-carseat-carrying/
  • Sears – Benefits of Babywearing: Dr. Sears discusses benefits of babywearing in the context of attachment parenting, a parenting style he has spread which encourages the natural, intuitive, and biological bonding of parents and infants. https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing

This week Claire and I will share a few more blog posts on babywearing and our favorite way to wear our children. This week is a celebration of keeping your children close via babywearing, however you choose to do it. If our posts bring up any questions for you, don’t hesitate to ask me. Happy International Babywearing Week!

– Dr. Dodge, DC

Chiropractic and Midwifery: Dr. Dodge Meets Ina May Gaskin

Back in July, Dodge Family Chiropractic (Coppell, TX) had the opportunity to sponsor a booth at “Ina May Day,” an event put on by the Tarrant County Birth Network. TCBN brought Ina May Gaskin for a weekend of events, and I jumped at the opportunity to be part of such a great event. Meeting Ina May and so many local birth professionals inspired this blog post. Many people who ask what I do are surprised when I talk about adjusting expecting mothers – if that is you, please read on!

Chiropractic and Midwifery: Dr. Dodge Meets Ina May Gaskin

Chiropractic and Midwifery are two healthcare fields that go hand in hand. They are both built on the idea of the innate power that the human body holds. Both Chiropractors and Midwives believe that there are many innate, or instinctual, processes that the body is capable of without needing help or medical intervention from the outside.

The Midwifery model of care for birth, which supports the idea that women hold an amazing ability to go through pregnancy and birth without medical interventions, was revitalized here in the U.S. by the “Mother of Midwifery,” Ina May Gaskin.  Ina May spread the idea that women have the power to give birth naturally and that pregnancy, labor, and delivery are not medical conditions or procedures that needed outside medical intervention through her midwifery work. She brought attention to the fact that women are able to work with their baby innately through what is meant to be a natural, collaborative process for a mother and her baby.  Ina May has been an activist for women and has helped to enlighten women about the innate power that they hold within themselves to be able to birth their own baby naturally. That is why is was an honor to meet her this summer when she came to speak in Fort Worth, Texas.

As a Chiropractor, I too believe in the natural and innate power that each person has. It is my job to help enhance the body’s ability to go through innate processes by encouraging a fully functioning nervous system. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and all of the nerves that go to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. The nervous system is what controls every function of the body. It is important to have a fully functioning nervous system free from interference so that the body is able to undergo all of the natural and innate processes, including pregnancy and birth.

Chiropractic can play a role in helping women be able to more easily go through pregnancy and the labor and delivery process. Pregnancy can be a very stressful time for the body, and proper functioning of the nervous system is important to decrease any pain during pregnancy as well as enhance the growth and development of the baby. A healthy and balanced spine helps to maintain a fully functioning nervous system, which decreases the stress the body is under as well as the stress on the baby.  This allows women to be in less pain and for the baby to develop optimally.  Especially later in pregnancy, chiropractors use a technique called Webster technique to help balance the pelvis and uterus in order to allow the baby to be able to obtain an optimal positioning in preparation for birth, namely head down. A head down position is less stressful for the baby and allows them to have more room in the uterus. Chiropractors trained through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) on Webster technique are better able to help a pregnant woman’s body, which helps to alleviate pain and improve whole body function. Research has shown that those women under chiropractic care have shorter, easier labors, as well as less pain during pregnancy over those women who do not receive chiropractic care. Chiropractic care enhances the innate power of a woman’s body and encourages the body to be able to go through the natural process of birth more easily.  Therefore chiropractic and midwifery go hand in hand, promoting the innate power of the human body and encouraging pregnant women to allow themselves to go through the natural and innate process of birth. Normal pregnancy is not a medical condition that requires a doctor’s intervention. Women have the power within themselves to go through pregnancy, labor and delivery naturally without medical intervention. Chiropractic helps to enhance the woman’s ability to go through this natural process by establishing a properly functioning nervous system. That is the goal of chiropractic maternity care and the goal of midwifery – to allow the women to accept and encourage the innate power of their own body through what is a beautiful and natural process. Chiropractic is there to enhance the functioning of the woman’s body and balance the woman’s body so that the process is easier and less stressful for the woman and baby.

Wellness Considerations for Healthy Aging

*This blog post is an adaptation of the wellness talk Dr. Dodge gave to the Coppell Senior and Community Center in July of 2012

My grandparents, dancing at my wedding in 2008

Wellness Considerations for Healthy Aging

There are many factors that contribute to developing and maintaining health. As we age, our lifestyle choices become more important to ensure that we age in a healthy manner. “Sleeping regularly and adequately, eating well-balanced meals, engaging in physical activity, not smoking, not using or moderately using alcohol, and maintaining a healthy body weight”[i] are a few healthy habits and lifestyle choices that can help us all age well. These suggestions may be some things that you have heard before, but it is important to understand them and know how to implement them correctly in your life to age as healthily as possible.

Sleep As we age, our bodies tend to need less sleep. However, getting adequate sleep is important for your body to repair, rest, and re-energize from daily activities. Your body also uses this time to process and store memories and events from the day. These memories and events are moved from short-term memory storage into long-term storage and your brain helps to organize the information that was learned through the day. Not getting enough regular sleep can lead to decreased immune system functioning and put you more at risk for developing short-term and chronic disease processes.

Exercise Engaging in physical activity is another crucial part of maintaining health while we age. Physical activity has innumerable health benefits including decreasing body weight; increasing flexibility, endurance, and balance; extending life; improving cardiovascular health and blood pressure; lowering lipid levels in the blood, improving sleep quality; improving posture and mobility; increasing blood flow to the brain and maintaining mental ability; alleviating depression, maintaining muscle mass, and maintaining balance and coordination.1 Through the aging process, adults lose muscle mass and strength, as well as balance and coordination. Physical activity helps to counter act this by maintaining muscle mass as well as allowing your brain to be able to better tell where your body is in space, therefore maintaining balance and coordination. For those who have not been physically active, it is a good idea to start slow and ease into a routine. Below is a table taken from Rolfes’ Understanding Nutrition (2005)i that gives a few suggestions on how to ease into a work out routine. Beginning too quickly or pushing past what the body is use to or capable of is dangerous. This could cause injury that may have negative affects on ones short- or long-term health. It may feel like starting out so slowly is not enough physical activity. However, a gradual build in the amount, time and intensity of a work out routine will allow the body to adapt more easily, prevent against muscle soreness, and prevent other health complications that would inhibit any further progression in your physical activity.

 

Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults
Examples Endurance Strength Balance Flexibility
Start Easy Be active 5 minutes on most or all days Using 0-2 pound weights do 1 set of 8 repetitions twice a week Hold onto a table or chair with one hand, then with one finger Hold stretch 10 seconds: each stretch 3 times
Progress gradually to goal Be active 30 minutes on most or all days Increase weight as able; do 2 sets of 8-15 repetitions twice a week Do not hold onto table or chair; then close eyes Hold stretch 30 seconds; do each stretch 5 times
Cautions and comments Stop if you are breathing so hard you can’t talk or if you feel dizziness or chest pain Breathe out as you contract and in as you relax (do not hold your breath); use smooth, steady movements Incorporate balance techniques with strength exercises as you progress Stretch after strength and endurance exercises for 20 minutes, 3 times a week; use slow, steady movements; bend joints slightly

 

Nutritional Deficiencies Proper nutrition from a well-balanced meal plan is essential for healthy aging as well as a healthy lifestyle in general. As we age we need to be aware of some possible nutritional deficiencies that become more common. The immune system can be highly compromised if nutritional deficiencies exist. As we age, absorption of B vitamins such as B12, Folate, and Biotin may decrease. Calcium, iron and zinc absorption can become diminished as well, primarily due to developing inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract. These deficiencies can be addressed with proper supplementation as well as restoring proper digestive function by reducing inflammation. Vitamin D is another nutrient of concern that may become deficient as we age. Older adults tend to not spend enough time outside to allow adequate time for the skin to produce Vitamin D. Aging also reduces the skin’s capacity to make Vitamin D and the kidneys’ ability to convert it to its active form. Therefore it is important to supplement this with a high quality form of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps with supporting the immune system, maintaining important brain function, balancing calcium and phosphorous to help maintain bone health, and helping to prevent many other diseases. Water is another very important part of healthy nutrition and is vital to all the chemical reactions and functioning of the whole body. As we age we tend to not drink as much water because of several different reasons. Some older adults become more incontinent or have more frequent urges to urinate and do not want the inconvenience of getting up to use the bathroom frequently. In the case of incontinence, it would be of great benefit to seek out a physical therapist who specializes in restoring pelvic floor musculature. Many older adults also lose the sense and recognition of thirst and just do not think to drink water or realize their body needs more hydration. In these hot summer months it is even more important to remember to stay hydrated. Older adults tend to be more dehydrated and can dehydrate even more quickly in the heat. This can be dangerous because when older adults are dehydrated they are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, pneumonia, pressure ulcers, confusion and disorientation. It is important to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Digestive Health It was mentioned earlier that as we age some nutritional deficiencies might be due to inflammation in the digestive tract. We need to make sure that our digestive tracts are functioning properly to allow for absorption of all the nutrients we intake. As we age we tend to develop more digestive issues, many related to inflammation that develops in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Many symptoms that occur after we eat foods can indicate that we may have inflammation in our digestive tract. Things such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, pain, etc. can show us that our digestive tract is not functioning the way that it should. There is a simple four step process that can be used to repair digestive function so that we can more effectively digest foods and absorb essential nutrients.

Four Step Digestive System Repair

1) Remove – Remove any potentially stressful or inflammatory foods and drinks from you diet i.e. sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, coloring and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, casein (dairy), antibiotics, antacids, anti-inflammatory drugs

2) Repair – Repair the damaged, inflamed tissue in the digestive tract by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits as well as adding tissue healing supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids, GLA, Aloe Vera, turmeric, licorice root and L-glutamine

3) Restore – Restore healthy colonies of good bacteria in the digestive tract by utilizing a probiotic with high quantities of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium as well as providing a good environment for the healthy bacteria to flourish with a prebiotic.

4) Replace – Replace digestive enzymes with a high quality digestive enzymes supplement to improve digestion and absorption of necessary nutrients.

 

Healthy Eating In addition to having a fully functioning digestive system, it is important to eat good energy rich foods. It is important to eat foods with higher quality nutrients that are not high in calories. Energy needs decline at about 5 percent each decade of life, because of lower energy expenditure and decreasing lean body mass.i So eating foods rich in nutrients and vitamins and minerals and limiting extra calories from sugars and processed foods is important. Having good sources of protein is important because it is a longer lasting energy source that helps to stabilize blood sugar and support a healthy immune system. Good sources of protein are things like poultry, fish, eggs, as well as a lot of nuts and legumes. Another important aspect to include in a healthy diet is quality carbohydrate foods that contain fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates help to protect the protein you are eating from being used up; and they allow your body to have a shorter acting source of good energy. Good options for quality carbohydrates include legumes, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains like quinoa and whole grain brown rice, and low glycemic fruits, like pitted fruits, apples, and berries (avoid things like watermelon and other melons and tropical fruit which can cause a spike in blood sugar). Fiber from vegetables, fruits, and other quality carbohydrates help to lower cholesterol, improve digestion and digestive regularity, and prevent against constipation. Having good fats in your diet is vital to support your nervous system and are essential for cell structure throughout your body. Good fats are anything that contains Omega 3, 6, EPA, DHA, GLA. You can get these from coconut oil, olive oil, almond or safflower oil, by eating fish, or taking a high quality fish oil or essential fatty acid supplement. Too much fat is never a good thing, especially if it is processed, or trans-fats. Processed foods use fat to improve flavor but do not usually use high quality good fats, they use saturated fats and trans-fats that are harder for your body to deal with and is more unhealthy.

Making healthy lifestyle choices can be difficult and takes dedication and persistence. However, in the end it is worth it so that you are able to maintain a healthy active life well into old age. Change does not have to come all at once though. Gradual changes in the foods you eat and your exercise routine will eventually lead to living a much healthier, happier life.

 

Supplements and Nutrition to Help Specific Conditions

Improve Short-term memory – Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

Performance in problem-solving tests – Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C

Mental Health – Thiamin, Niacin, Zinc, Folate

Cognition – Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin E, Gingko

Vision – Vitamin A, Essential Fatty acids

Neurotransmitter Synthesis – Tyrosine, Truyptophan, Choline

Cataracts and Macular Degeneration – antioxidants, vitamins as well as zinc, carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin

Arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis – antioxidants like vitamin E and C, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement

Bone Strength and Health – calcium and magnesium, weight baring and resistance exercise

Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias. – Eliminate artificial sweeteners like splenda and artificial colorings and flavors. B vitamins and Essential Fatty acids

Cardiovascular Health – Antioxidants, vitamin C, Vitamin E, B vitamins especially Vitamin B3 (niacin) omega fatty acids

 

 

i] Whitney, E., Rolfes, S.,( 2005). Understanding Nutrition. Thomson Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.

Holistic Living and Chiropractic

Dodge Family Chiropractic is excited to launch our new blog, ‘Holistic Living with Dr. Dodge’! People often misunderstand chiropractic to be all about “cracking bones.” At Dodge Family Chiropractic (Coppell, TX) we take a holistic approach to wellness, rather than a “rack ‘em and crack ‘em” approach to treating the spine. One of our goals at Dodge Family Chiropractic is to bring you more than the chiropractic adjustment, to help you become truly “well.” Our blog is a great way to do that!

We believe that the path to wellness is reliant on a balance between the physical, chemical, mental, and spiritual components of the person. When one of these areas is weak, neglected, or injured, a person’s overall well being will suffer. Similarly, if one aspect is affected negatively, other aspects are likely to suffer as well. Through ‘Holistic Living with Dr. Dodge,” we will bring you research, videos, news, recipes, and other media that aims to help you strengthen the physical, chemical, and mental aspects of your well being. Our hope is that here you will find inspiration, information, and motivation to build a more holistic life for yourself and your family.