nerves

Abnormal nerve function, affecting digestion?

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Our nervous system is very complex. It’s a collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body (read more). The questions is: Can abnormal nerve function affect digestion?

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Yes, abnormal nerve function anywhere in the spine can alter digestion. If abnormal messages are sent to the brain, then the brain can activate the bodies fight or flight response.  The fight or light response is the system in your body that keeps you safe in dangerous situations, like running from a bear.  The fight or flight response stops bodily functions that are not necessary in an emergency such as digestion.  In a normal situation that is not stressful, the digestive system sends signals to the brain and the brains response is what causes digestive enzymes and muscle contraction.  In stressful situations this is inhibited.

Did you know that abnormal nerve function in your lumbar can make muscles compress the abdomen, causing abnormal digestion and discomfort? It’s true! All of the muscle around your stomach are controlled by the brain.  Abnormal nerve function can greatly affect digestion and discomfort.

Are spinal problems aggravating digestive problems in infants like acid reflux more commonly found closer to the baby’s head or closer to the baby’s lower back? Typically if an infant comes to the office having troubles with acid reflux, it’s more common that the spinal problem would be closer to the baby’s head.

Location-specific problems from the spine with digestion:
Neck – Trouble swallowing.
Thoracic – Unable to expand lungs, puffiness, fullness, pressure on abdominal cavity.
Lumbar –  Trouble moving food through digestive tract, reflux.

Chiropractic care’s primary focus is on restoring and maintaining the health of your nerves, muscles and joints. Adjustments can help to restore normal movement, ease pain and prompt higher function of your brain and nervous system. With that being said, do you believe that chiropractic care is a treatment for digestive problems?

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We had a little fun here, while regular chiropractic care can help between the brain and nervous system, it isn’t a treatment for digestive problems.
Your digestive problems can be caused by nutrition problems such as:
Lack of fiber
Processed food
Dehydration
Alcohol
Caffeine
Tobacco
Here are some easy things to cut back on or eliminate from your diet for increased digestive health:
Alcohol – One of the reasons people do not feel well after alcohol use is dehydration.  Make sure you drink enough water. The process of metabolizing alcohol requires nutrients.  As the liver decreases its supply of these nutrients, the blood stream is called upon to replenish the supply. As a result, body cells are deprived of critical nutrients and normal body functions suffer. Drinking alcohol can lead to nutrient deficiencies like zinc, Vitamin C, magnesium and particularly the B-complex vitamins, which are especially vulnerable to alcohol use (read more).
Caffeine – Caffeine has a diuretic effect and speeds elimination of various vitamins and minerals essential to health.  In addition drink water throughout the day to offset the loss of water from caffeinated drinks such as coffee.   Specifically, potassium, zinc, magnesium, B-complex, and vitamin C are quickly excreted with caffeine intake. Deficiency of these nutrients, especially the B-complex vitamins and magnesium, can also increases anxiety and decreases mental performance (read more).
Tobacco -Tobacco users can have poor circulation which can lead to poor digestion.  Researchers have concluded that levels of vitamin C are for the most part, lower in the blood of smokers vs. non-smokers. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, that also has beneficial effects on the heart and other organs (read more).

If you had to guess what is the most common deficiency in the American diet, what would you say? Is your first guess fiber? If so, you’re correct! A healthy fiber recommendation is 25- 30 grams per day. Many Americans are shocked to find that they are only getting between 8 and 15 grams per day. Low fiber can result in constipation/digestive issues. If you are low in fiber add it into your diet gradually.  Going from 5 grams of fiber to 30 is large jump and not recommended in a short period of time.  Between cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and adding fiber into your diet you should be on the road for improved digestive health!

 

 

 

 


Gaining attention from the mile-a-minute kid

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“Please just sit still!  Honestly, I just don’t understand why you can’t sit still for 2 minutes.”  Rambunctious children often frustrate their parents but can it be helped?   While most children have decent amount of energy, some kids are genuinely hyperactive.  However does hyperactivity mean your child needs to be labeled ADHD?

Is your child simply energetic or do they have a neurological disorder?  Do they have a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity?  Just for sake of discussing let’s say your child does have ADHD.   What are the possible causes and what can you do to improve their condition.

Hyperactivity can be caused by many different things.   One of the reasons is that children who have been diagnosed with ADHD also have been shown to have under developed brains, specifically in the frontal lobe.   One of the ways you can stimulate the brain to develop is by stimulating the cerebellum, an area of the brain which is responsible for balance, movement and coordination.   The cerebellum receives input from proprioceptors (pronounced Pro-prio-ceptors).   Proprioceptors are little bundles of nerve fibers that tell your brain where you body is in space.

An example of your body using proprioceptors, would the reason you don’t need to look at your feet when you walk, because you know where your feet are.   Proprioceptors are in every joint in your body.   However the highest concentration of these fibers is in the neck, right under the skull.

The location of proprioceptive fibers is the reason that Chiropractic care is so effective.  Tension and misalignments to the neck interfere with the information received in the brain. Chiropractic care gently realigns the spine allowing for proper communication.  Proper communication can improve brain development.  Although Chiropractic is not a treatment specifically for ADHD, many cases of ADHD improve as a result of Chiropractic care.

It’s also possible that your child is being misdiagnosed.  Age, for example, is one example of how a child may receive a misdiagnosis of ADHD. According to study reported in Science Daily “If a child is behaving poorly, if he’s inattentive, if he can’t sit still, it may simply be because he’s 5 and the other kids are 6.  There’s a big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and teachers and medical practitioners need to take that into account when evaluating whether children have ADHD.”

Symptoms from food sensitivity may mimic ADHD.  Here are some examples.   For more information please go to www.Mercola.com

Eliminate most grains and sugars from your child’s diet. Grains (especially breads, cereals, chips , cookies) and sugars both tend to cause allergies in sensitive individuals. Even if the grains are organic, whole grain can cause problems in many children so it would be wise to give them a grain vacation and see if their behavior improves.

Replace soft drinks (whether diet and regular), fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure, clean non-fluoridated water. While you may believe fruit juices are a healthy option to soda, they aren’t and need to be avoided as strictly as soda does.  Vitamins are best obtained through eating fruits and vegetables.

Increase Omega-3 oil by taking high quality animal-based omega-3 oil. Research has confirmed that Omega-3 has been shown to be more effective than stimulant medication like Ritalin and Concerta.

Minimize your use of nearly all processed fats, especially trans fats as they can disrupt nerve cell communication.

Avoid all processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, which may trigger or worsen symptoms.  Artificial dyes have been shown to mimic ADHD symptoms.

Clear your house of dangerous pesticides and other commercial chemicals. Pesticide exposure has been shown to increase symptoms of ADHD.

Avoid commercial washing detergents and cleaning products used on clothes, and replace them with naturally derived cleaning products with no added perfumes, softeners, etc.

As always please share with your friends and families.  If you would like to hear more about a specific topic, please feel free to email me.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com