Category Archives: Wellness

How Chiropractic Care Helps Improve Breastfeeding

You have probably heard that Chiropractic care can help with breastfeeding issues. However, you probably have not been told how specifically this can help. There are a wide variety of things that can impact how well a baby is able to breastfeed. Cranial alignment, spinal alignment, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) alignment, fascial restriction, dural restriction, tongue tie, lip tie, cranial nerve function, etc. There are clearly more things that can impact breastfeeding, but these are the major ones in which chiropractors can help. This article will go over each of these aspects and explain how and why they can affect nursing.

Spinal Alignment

Let’s start with spinal alignment. It was found in a study many years ago that up to 95 percent of babies born had some degree of upper cervical misalignment. The Upper cervical consists of the C1 or atlas and the C2 or axis vertebrae. The occiput sits right on the Atlas and closely affects upper cervical alignment as well. Babies go through a traumatic experience being born and most develop some type of misalignment. This upper cervical alignment is very important for several reasons. One is that this is the area of the brain stem. The brain stem is home to many of the vital centers of breathing heart rate blood pressure as well as the origin of many of the cranial nerves that innervate the head, neck, tongue and throat. If there is a misalignment in the upper cervical spine around these areas, then it can lead to inflammation that affects the brain stem function and the cranial nerve function. Altered cranial nerve function can cause an abnormal suck/swallow/breath pattern or affect how the tongue and jaw move to latch and suckle. Upper cervical misalignment can also lead to tight musculature and fascia in the upper neck. This can cause the baby not to be able to open their mouth as wide or hold a latch through the whole suck swallow breath rhythm.

Cranial Alignment

Cranial alignment and movement is very important as well. Proper occipital movement on the atlas allows for the baby to be able to tip and rotate his head optimally to find the nipple and latch. Proper temporal bone motion affects the range of motion of the jaw. The Jaw attaches into the temporal bone so if the temporal bone is not moving the way it is supposed to or it is stuck in an abnormal position it affects how the mandible is able to move in the TMJ and it may get stuck or tight while trying to open in order to latch. Altered temporal motion or positioning can lead to tight fascia or muscles that cross the TMJ. This again can pull the mandible to one side or pull the mandible into the joint too much so it can’t rotate and pivot the way it needs to in order to open fully. Altered maxillary shape and movement can affect how well the baby is able to latch or maintain a latch. The bottom of the maxilla forms the hard palate. If the palate is too high or too flat, it can make it harder for the baby to maintain a proper seal when trying to latch and suckle. The Maxilla should be a smooth semicircle from one side of the gum line to the other. Often times one side will be flat or there will be a ridge or a peak in the center of the palate which will all indicate that the maxilla is not shaped properly or moving properly.

Connective Tissue

One aspect that will affect all the cranial bones as well as whole body movement and flexibility is the dural tightness. The dura is the connective tissue that attaches from the surface of the nervous system to the surface of the skull, sacrum, and vertebrae. Most times tightness in this system is associated with the findings of a tongue and lip tie. This tightness will present as a very stiff baby. He won’t want to flex forward or droop his head toward his chest. He often is stiff and straight through the mid and upper back and down through the sacrum. He often times has shrugged shoulders and can have a tendency to arch his back often. If a child is stiff and inflexible, this is going to make it more difficult for them to relax their jaw and open wide enough for a proper deep latch. If a baby is tight and stiff and anxious trying to nurse, then typically it makes the experience quite a bit harder. Babies who are stiff like this also usually have fascial restrictions through their neck, upper back, shoulders, often down through their sacrum and hips. Again, a baby who is tight and ridged is not going to move comfortably to get in an optimal position to open their mouth wide and achieve a proper latch and suck swallow pattern.

Lip and Tongue Tie

One of the biggest issues that is more and more prevalent today is newborns with a lip and tongue tie. I have done a whole blog post on just this topic if you want more information (here). But here is some basics. With a tongue tie there is extra tissue or tighter tissue underneath the tongue that is restricting the upward motion of the tongue. It affects other movements as well but mainly the upward motion of the back of the tongue. This means that they can’t bring the back of the tongue up to form a seal on the breast. This leads to the baby needing to alter his tongue movement to try to transfer milk. This altered movement is linked with altered throat movement during swallowing, so the suck swallow breath pattern is altered. This can lead to babies clicking while nursing, scraping the nipple with their tongue, swallowing air leading to reflux and colic. Tongue ties also cause restriction in the connective tissue throughout the jaw, throat and neck which affects how they open, latch, suck, swallow, etc.

Lip ties are additional tight tissue that connects the lip to the upper gum line. This will affect maxillary movement and shape as well as affecting how wide the baby can open his mouth to latch. Often you will notice you have to flip his upper lip up or there will be a blister that starts to form at the middle of his lip.

Chiropractic Care

All of these issues can be helped by a chiropractor. Chiropractors can help align the upper cervical spine and cranial bones. A chiropractor proficient in craniosacral therapy can help stretch the dural tissue and establish proper cranial movement. Chiropractors that utilize CST usually know how to do myofascial release or bodywork to help loosen the tissue restrictions throughout the head, neck, jaw, throat, shoulders, upper back, rib cage, sacrum, and hips. They can also release and loosen the tight tissue of a tongue and lip tie to help improve tongue movement. Chiropractors can also align the TMJ itself and make sure that the surrounding soft tissue and muscles are released and relaxed so that the baby can open his mouth wide and have a better latch. Chiropractic care is essential to help babies have optimal spinal, cranial, TMJ and whole-body motion. Chiropractic care allows the baby to be as relaxed and loose as possible to be able to move his head neck and tongue as freely as possible to achieve a proper latch and breastfeed affectively.

Anatomy of an Ear Infection

An ear infection is one of the most common childhood conditions. Many of those children who develop an ear infection typically end up developing many more subsequent infections. The mainstream medical treatment for an ear infection is a round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, when a child continues to develop ear infections, the treatment does not change. The only change comes in the strength of the antibiotic. It can be frustrating to put your child through one round of antibiotics after another in hopes that they will somehow stop developing ear infections. The good news is that there is another approach that can have amazing results without the use of medications. This article will explore the anatomy of an ear infection and how chiropractic can help end the cycle of infections and antibiotics.

Anatomy

Here is a picture that shows the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The external auditory meatus, or ear canal is part of your outer ear. This is the canal where you develop ear wax. Ear wax is part of the immune system. It is a good thing. You will find more when your immune system is active and trying to protect the body. When the immune system fights off the threat and is less active then the wax is resorbed without any problems.  Next, there is the tympanic membrane, or the eardrum. This is a thin membrane that vibrates when sound enters the ear. The vibration then causes three little bones in your middle ear to vibrate and transmit this vibration to the cochlear nerve so you hear sound. The middle ear also has the semicircular canals that are part of your vestibular system. These canals are filled with fluid and the shifting of this fluid helps you to sense where you are in space. Proper stimulation of these canals allows you to have good balance. While abnormal stimulation of the canals can lead to vertigo. The middle ear then drops into the eustachian tube. This cartilaginous tube opens to your pharynx, right behind your soft palate. The eustachian tubes help you equalize pressure within your ear so you can hear properly and the fluid in your semicircular canals can move and function properly. The outer ear and middle ear are mostly surrounded by bone and fascia. As you move further inward towards the inner ear and the eustachian tube there is more soft tissue and fascia as well as several muscles that attach to and surround the eustachian tube. There are four muscles that attach to the eustachian tube, but two are mostly responsible for opening the eustachian tube during swallowing. These muscles of the soft palate are the tensor veli palatini and the levator veli palatini. The former is innervated by cranial nerve 5 and the later cranial nerve 10, the vagus nerve.

Infection

Most ear infections that you are going to have are in the middle ear, behind the eardrum. You can see in the first picture that there is a little pocket behind the eardrum where fluid can build up and provide an environment for bacteria, virus or fungus to grow. (It is important to note that most ear infections have a viral and bacterial component.) Typically the middle ear does not have fluid in it. Any fluid would drain down the eustachian tube into the throat so there would not be any environment for an infection to occur. However sometimes the eustachian tube can not equalize pressure effectively and fluid builds up. This occurs more often in the early years of childhood because the eustachian tubes start out more horizontal as infants and become more vertical as you grow.

There are several things that can lead to this build up of fluid. One is a misalignment in the upper cervical spine. Misalignment causes inflammation in the joints of the spine as well as in the muscles and soft tissue that attach to the bones that are misaligned and not moving properly. This inflammation can press in on the eustachian tubes making it harder for them to drain fluid from the middle ear. Another cause can be a lack of proper motion in the cranial bones. Cranial bones surround the ear canal and eustachian tube. The cranial bones move in a rhythmic motion along with the soft tissue that attaches to them. If the cranial bones are not moving, the soft tissue and fascia attached to them lack motion. Therefore fluid is allowed to build up and not drain with the movement of the soft tissue. A more and more prevalent cause for the eustachian tube not being able to drain properly is a tongue tie. Tongue ties affect the soft tissue within the mouth and throat. Tongue ties affect the natural resting position of the tongue as well as the fascial tension within the mouth and throat. This altered tongue position and the increased tension in the soft tissue of the throat make it harder for the eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in the middle ear and drain any fluid that may develop there. Cranial nerve dysfunction that typically accompanies a tongue tie also causes soft palate dysfunction as well as dysfunction within the muscular function of the muscles of the pharynx and larynx which includes the muscles that attach to the eustachian tube.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustments can help with all of these things. A spinal adjustment helps align the upper cervical spine and balance the musculature. Cranial work and myofascial release helps improve cranial motion and reduces soft tissue tension allowing for better drainage of the middle ear. Upper cervical adjustments and cranial adjustments also help to stimulate the vagus nerve and improve cranial nerve function so that the musculature of the pharynx, including those that attach to the eustachian tubes, as well as the soft palate can function properly and therefore help the eustachian tube to open, equalize pressure, and drain any fluid from the middle ear. Regular chiropractic adjustments allow the body to function optimally and prevent the development of fluid in the middle ear. Therefore preventing the environment for bacterial, viral, or fungal growth and infection.

Ruptured Eardrum and Tubes

Sometimes when the pressure produced by an infection in the middle ear is too much, the eardrum ruptures. This is ok. There is no cause for alarm. Typically your child will be crying and screaming about how much pain they are in, then all of a sudden they feel fine. This is usually an indication that the eardrum has ruptured. You can look and see if there is fluid or pus coming out of the ear. This is normal. Don’t put anything into the ear, you want to avoid anything that may lead to further infection. Usually I recommend essential oils around the ear or a cotton ball with essential oils placed or taped right on the outside of the ear canal. Usually if the eardrum has ruptured the fluid is not draining down the eustachian tube properly so avoid liquids or oils in the ear. It usually takes a few weeks to fully heal, but when it does you will not even notice that it happened. There is usually not even a scar on the eardrum.

Ear tubes are typically the last resort of typical medical treatment for recurrent ear infections. A small slit is put in the eardrum where a plastic tube is placed. The eardrum then heals around the tube. This allows for air to flow from the outer ear to the middle ear. This allows for better equalization of pressure as well as a possible route for fluid to flow out if it begins to build up. However, unlike the eustachian tube which slants downward to allow gravity to pull fluid down from the middle ear, the outer ear is higher than the middle ear and fluid would have to flow upward to drain out of the middle ear. Therefore, if the eustachian tubes are still blocked or not draining, fluid can still pool in the middle ear and provide the environment for infection. Tubes are also foreign plastic to the body. This means that eventually the body will reject the tubes and they will fall out. Typically tubes last only a few years at best before the body pushes them back out. Therefore, even with tubes, chiropractic care is still necessary to allow for proper function of the eustachian tube, pharynx and all the surrounding soft tissue, connective tissue and bone.

The Webster Technique

The Webster technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Many people think this is a technique used to flip breech babies to a head down presentation. However, this technique does not focus itself on flipping babies. The Webster technique was developed to help women have an easier time during labor and delivery. The technique is centered around balancing the pelvis and uterus by aligning the sacrum and releasing any tightness in the round ligaments of the uterus. The basic biomechanics is that as the sacrum rotates back on one side, the uterus is pulled slightly to that side. So in order to center and stabilize the uterus, the opposite side round ligament tightens in response. This causes pulling and slight twisting of the uterus. From this the baby can then experience in-utero constraint because there is less space for the baby to move and feel comfortable. This may even lead to a baby choosing to turn breech in order to get more comfortable.

The Webster technique focuses on balancing the sacrum and round ligament to optimize the space in the uterus so the baby will choose an optimal head down position. This technique becomes more necessary after 30-34 weeks in order to make sure that the pelvis is balanced, and the baby is in the best position for labor and delivery. However, it is a useful technique throughout pregnancy to alleviate discomfort and optimize fetal development by eliminating any in-utero constraint.

A good prenatal chiropractor will also check more than just the sacrum and round ligaments. When I adjust pregnant clients I make sure to release any tightness in the hip flexors as well as the muscles in the glutes, hips and low back. I also make sure to align the whole spine including the low back and pubic bones. Evidence based research shows that Chiropractic adjustments help reduce pain during pregnancy as well as pain during labor and delivery and shortens time of labor.

2nd Anniversary Wellness Bash!



Dr. Daniel Dodge and his family are thrilled to invite the community and his patients to our Wellness Bash! Dr. Dodge opened his doors just two years ago! This year we celebrate the move into a beautiful new office. We also celebrate the opportunity to work with Devin Ripley, LMT, Jennee Ohrvall, CPM, and other local wellness practitioners in our office! As Dodge Family Chiropractic continues to stive to meet our community education goals, we also celebrate the opportunity to host a number of wellness-oriented classes in our office, be sure to check our calendar to stay up to date on our upcoming classes taught by Dr. Dodge, his wife, and other health and wellness experts!

To celebrate all of these accomplishments, DFC wants to share our joy with the people who make it possible and so rewarding – our patient families! We have an exciting event planned to celebrate our patients, their familiies, and their friends! We have a number of fantastic door prizes donated by local wellness practitioners and holistic living companies (if you follow Dodge Family Chiropractic on Facebook, you’ll get a sneak peak of the awesome door prizes prior to the event!). Our first 100 guests will take home a “swag bag” full of information, coupons, and samples of holistic living products! We’ve invited a number of organizations and wellness practitioners to celebrate with us as DFC works to connect and broaden our local wellness-oriented community! Our Wellness Bash guests will enjoy food, a toddler bounce house, face painting, music, and balloon art!

Our Wellness Bash guests that follow DFC on Facebook have a really fun chance to get a little silly with Dr. Dodge! For the month of November through November 29th, families can earn entries to PIE THE DOC, as in, throw a pie at Dr. Dodge! To earn a pie, simply “check in” on Facebook when you’re at the office, and/or take a photo with Dr. Dodge and post it on the DFC Facebook wall! Each “check in” or photo post earns one pie, so feel free to earn a pie for each memeber of your family! When you come to the Wellness Bash, we’ll have a few scheduled ‘pie throwing’ times throughout the event as well as throwing pies, and, we presume, quite a number of clothing changes for the Doc!

We can’t wait to see you there! Join us at Dodge Family Chiropractic Saturday, November 30th from 10am-1pm!

702 S. Denton Tap Road, Suite 110 75019

info@dodgefamilychiropractic.com

972-922-5493

Holistic Meals for the Family: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

We are always looking for ways to power-pack our meals with nutrients. This meal is a winner. Nearly all of the ingredients are nutrient-rich foods! Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C, white beans are a great non-meat (and cheap!) source of protein, and a heaping scoop of kale and broccoli knock out two servings of dark green veggies, rich in a number of vitamins and minerals.

As always, the number one test of any of my recipes is how well the Dodge men like it! Dr. Dodge grew up with a pretty unadventurous diet and definitely loves a basic meal of roast chicken, quinoa and broccoli. Though our three year old doesn’t eat gluten, soy, or dairy, he still has obvious preferences – he adores bacon and simply won’t eat beets anymore! Both of these guys inhale this meal, so I know it’s a keeper!

 

4 large sweet potatoes

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1.5 cups (or one can) cooked great northern white beans

1.5 cups diced broccoli

2 cups/1 bunch kale

2 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

 

Cook sweet potatoes – I like to bake them in the oven at 400°F for 1 hour, with a few holes poked in the skin. When the potatoes are 15-20 minutes from being done, start the stuffing. In a deep skillet, add coconut oil and pressed garlic, sautee garlic for a few minutes. Add red pepper flakes and broccoli, sautee for five minutes. Add beans and kale, sautee for another 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add 1-1 1/2 cup of kale, broccoli, and bean stuffing to each sweet potato, and enjoy!

Five Tips to Maximize Your Smoothies



Summer is here already, and it is a great time to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet! Around the Dodge house, we’ve made it a goal to make more smoothies to kick start our day with a nutrient-rich drink! Here are five simple tips to help you get more out of your smoothies!

  1. Green Smarter – Save time and money with a few simple tricks. Especially if you are a CSA member or have a great local Farmer’s Market, buying greens in their growing season will give you the best prices. You can save these extra greens a few ways! If you have a dehydrator or if your oven has a low setting, you can dry your greens and toss them in the food processor to create your own “greens powder.” Store in an air-tight glass container and scoop dried greens into your smoothies! Secondly, save and freeze greens you used to discard – carrot top greens, strawberry stems, broccoli leaves? Keep them and toss them in when you are low on other greens!
  2. Prep Your Powerfoods – Prep your seeds and nuts in a food processor ahead of time. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp protein, and spirulina are some of our favorites. If you want a mix of these in each smoothie, mix up a big batch for easy daily use! Simply add a tablespoon or two to your blender after you’ve added the liquid. You’ll end up adding these high quality nutrients more often in if they are easy to reach for!
  3. Balance Your Smoothies –something sweet, something green, something powerful! While a four-fruit smoothie may taste great, it is a missed opportunity to amp up your diet with extra greens and powerfoods. Bananas, mangos, and pears have strong and sweet flavors, and can stand up to strong flavored greens. Always add in something green – collard greens, kale, and spinach are all easy to find options! Be intentional about adding something with power – add hemp for protein, avocado for healthy fats, flax seeds for omega fatty acids, parsley for digestion and detoxing.
  4. Step Up the Liquid – It’s common to add water or ice, which is simple and perfectly fine! For an even more nutritious smoothie though, add your made-at-home almond milkor coconut milk, or plain coconut water! Each of these alternatives have their own nutrient benefits, including vitamins and minerals in their natural form.
  5. Save Leftovers – Make a smoothie pudding with the leftovers by adding a tablespoon of chia seeds per ½ cup. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays, add back to future smoothies or enjoy a small frozen treat! Make popsicles with a popsicle mold! Make fruit leather (with non-dairy smoothies) – smooth out on a silicone mat in the oven at 200 degrees, or keep it living and dehydrate fruit leather at 115 degrees! Stretch those smoothie leftovers to get more out of your efforts!

 

Smoothie Recipe Round Up

Here’s a few great smoothie recipes for you to try! 

  1. Green Ginger Peachhttps://www.marthastewart.com/965191/green-ginger-peach-smoothie?czone=c&center=997029&gallery=968757&slide=965191
  2. Avocado Pearhttp://simple-nourished-living.com/2012/06/avocado-pear-smoothie-a-38-power-foods-cookbook-recipe/
  3. Kale Pineapplehttps://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/kale-smoothie-recipe
  4. Berry Chiahttps://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Antioxidant-Chia-Smoothie-Recipe-28552408
  5. Greens and Parsley http://www.wholeliving.com/152126/7-detox-smoothies/@center/152870/2012-whole-living-action-plan#106790

 

What is your family’s favorite smoothie combination? What powerfoods do you love to add? 

A Deeper Look at Disposable Diapers – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

Today we have Tiffany Carra, owner of Fort Worth cloth diaper store Simple Baby, guest blogging for Dodge Family Chiropractic! As an expert on all things cloth diaper, we asked Tiffany to share wih us what some of her reasons were for chosing to use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are very easy to use in today’s age, and many families are initially drawn to cloth because they are motivated to save money. Aside from the ease and money saving properties, there is another strong reason to give disposable diapers a more skeptical evaluation. Read Tiffany’s discovery about the chemical contents of the average disposable diaper!

For the most part there are two reasons why people chose to cloth diaper, Economy or Ecology. Both are very valid reasons, and most cloth diapering families will grow to embrace them both. When I began to research cloth diapers, my interests were piqued by the economy of them all. It was not until long after I began my research that I realized that there were other benefits.

Did you know that the major brand name disposable diapers often contain toxins like Tributyl-tin (TBT), Dioxin, and sodium polyacrylate? These chemical concoctions make disposable diapers a microcosm of carcinogins, hormonal disrupters, environmental pollutants, and heat generators.

According to a May 12, 2000 Green Peace article TBT can be absorbed by the body through the skin. This was further supported by an article released by the, Environmental Health News organization, in March of 2013. The article showed that when exposed to TBT that mice had higher instances of liver disease.

Dioxins are classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an environmental pollutant. Effects of dioxin exposure range from skin lesions to immune, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive system restrictions. The WHO also defines some “sensitive subgroups” of people who are more sensitive to dioxin exposure.  They are fetuses and newborns.

For those old enough to remember what Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) was, sodium polyacrylate is the absorbent material in diapers. It is VERY similar to the absorbent materials used in the TSS tampons of the 1980s.  In diapers the polyacrylate material is covered in plastic, creating a pocket of material rich with bacteria that stays on children for hours and quite possibly could be producing enough heat to render male children sterile.

What does that mean for you?

For me the fact that approximately 90% cheaper than disposables was enough to pique my interest. However, the environmental and health impacts I discovered were astonishing.  The studies I uncovered cemented the fact that I was going to at least give cloth an old fashioned college try, despite all those stories about how horrible cloth diapers were. To my surprise they were not anything like what my grandmother and friends had said they were. Today’s wide range of cloth diapers makes chemical-free diapering pretty simple.

 

Considering the chemicals and additives included in disposable diapers, cloth diapers are certainly worth a try! To allow our Dodge Family Chiropractic patients and fans the ability to give cloth diapers a go or to add to their current cloth diaper stash, we are offering a $50 gift certificate code to Simple Baby’s online store!! Use the rafflecopter link to enter or enter over on our Facebook page!

 

Rafflecopter link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Tiffany Carra owns the Fort Worth Cloth Diaper Store, Simple Baby, and is a chapter leader for the Tarrant County Birth Network, a chapter of BirthNetwork National. For more information about attachment parenting and cloth diapering topics visit the Simple Baby Blog.