Are you STRESSED?
Read on to find out how it might be affecting you and your kids…
Have you ever wondered why people who suffer from chronic back pain are 250x more likely to also suffer from depressive disorders?
Chronic exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline, whether it occur during the prenatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood or aging has an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health .
The effects of chronic pain can have a compounding stressful effect on us throughout our life and affect the brain, behaviour and cognition. During times of stress, activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis stimulates excess production of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids which can influence the brain and behaviour.
Even exposure to prenatal stress can increase reactivity in the brain of an infant post-birth initiating the retention of different primitive reflexes including the Moro reflex, which has been associated with hyper-activity, difficulty with new sensory experiences, impulsive behaviour and anxiety in children .
The effects on the brain, behaviour and cognition emerge as a result of the timing and duration of adverse stressors in relation to our epigenetics and previous exposure to adverse stressors.
If you feel as though stress may be affecting yourself, one of your loved ones or someone you know, have a chat to one of our Chiropractors to see if we can help manage your stress with some of our many available techniques.
1. NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. Management of people with acute low back pain: model of care. Chatswood; NSW Health; 2016. 39 p
2.Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience, 10(6), 434.
3. Blythe, S.G., Beuret, L.J. and Blythe, P., 2009. Attention, Balance and Coordination. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Recent findings suggest that nervous system development and brain growth may be linked with movement and sensory input. The findings suggest that “mobility restrictions or insufficient sensory stimuli impact the production of new brain cells and brain development… “
Two recent studies (1, 2), exploring neurogenesis in the presence and absence of either movement restriction or visual restriction, were performed in zebrafish – a popular and well-known choice for modeling human biology in a controlled research setting. While these findings have not yet been tested in humans, they clearly suggest the possibility that movement restrictions in the postnatal stage may be critical to brain development in vertebrates including humans.
These two new papers suggest that should motor and sensory input be suboptimal in the early developmental stage, then the process of neurodevelopment as a whole is diminished and the authors show evidence that if nerve and brain development is compromised, the resultant deficit may never be overcome (1, 2).
Let’s consider a study by Keil and Fludder that described reduced range of motion present at birth (3). In this study, reduced range of motion was found in:
76.1% of infants born vaginally without intervention
75% of infants delivered with forceps
88.9% of vacuum-assisted deliveries
82.3% of infants born via caesarean section
While the sample may be slightly skewed given it was taken from a paediatric chiropractic clinic, it certainly shows that there is a population that suffers from reduced range of motion immediately following birth. Further, plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is found in up to 46.6% of infants (according to a 2013 estimate) and this itself may result in motion restriction or motion asymmetry (4).
Research conducted by Dr. Heidi Haavik, Dr. Kelly Holt and the New Zealand College of Chiropractic has illustrated over and over again that sensorimotor integration (brain processing of movement) is clearly and positively impacted by the chiropractic adjustment (5).
If you or especially your Child has reduced movement it is worth getting checked out.
We recently wrote about the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) and the impacts abnormal retention can have on a child. As you may have guessed by now, there are multiple reflexes involved in the growth and development of a child. Our body will use these reflexes to learn new skills or as a defence/safety mechanism until we learn how to cope without the reflex. This is when our higher cortical function takes over.
The Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR) is another of our early reflexes, and involved in getting up off the ground into the sitting and crawling positions. This is where you will often see babies on hands and knees rocking forwards and backwards. It is believed that this rocking motion is also helping our eyes with depth perception in the form of accommodation. This reflex normally becomes prominent around 8 months of age and should be superseded my higher brain function around 11 months of age.
So, what would you see if the STNR does not integrate appropriately? One of the biggest long-term issues (which we often see in our big sprouts) is posture. Our head position has an enormous amount to do with proprioception, but if you add in the STNR, when our head is forward of our shoulders, you will have rolled shoulder, and a flattened lower back (see our previous blogs about back pain and posture!). For the little sprouts, we often see “W” sitting and difficulty sitting still on the floor. This is due to the forward position of the head stimulating the STNR making it uncomfortable for the child to sit cross-legged on the floor.
Other functions that a retained STNR may impact on include (but not limited to); attention and concentration, hand-eye coordination, and visual accommodation. So if this sound like you or your child, and you are interested in an assessment, click below or call for an appointment with one of our chiropractors for a plan tailored to you.
ou may have noticed that your kids tend to be more hyperactive and hard to settle after going to birthday parties, Grandma’s house or anywhere they are treated to an array of processed or sweet foods. This hyperactivity is no coincidence and the reason why this happens may be more simple than you realize…
Diet can affect children in a range of ways from behavioural changes to serious health implications. Studies have shown that artificial food colourings and preservatives have general adverse effects (1) on the behavior of children including those seen in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep problems and physical symptoms, with other research emphasizing particularly changes in mood (2).
Artifical dyes and colouring in foods can also effect the health of children (and adults too). One of the most commonly used artificial colours in processed foods is “Tartrazine” – a lemon yellow dye used as a food colouring to produce vibrant yellow and green hues in many foods. Tartrazine hypersensitivity symptoms can include anxiety, migraine, depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, hot sensations, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbances. It has been suggested that children with existing hyperactivity such as ADHD can develop increased irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbances after consuming tartrazine (3).
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms in your kids or yourself and suspect it may be due to artificial colours or preservatives, the correct process of elimination is crucially important so ensure you consult your health care provider.
1. Bateman, B., Warner, J. O., Hutchinson, E., Dean, T., Rowlandson, P., Gant, C., ... & Stevenson, J. (2004). The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children. Archives of disease in childhood, 89(6), 506-511.
2. Breakey, J. (1997). The role of diet and behaviour in childhood. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 33(3), 190-194.
3. Choulis, N. H. (2010). Miscellaneous drugs, materials, medical devices, and techniques. In Side Effects of Drugs Annual (Vol. 32, pp. 891-902). Elsevier.
To answer the above question firstly we need to know what barrier protection systems are?
1. What are barrier protection systems?
Vital organs and biologic systems have developed specialized barriers to protect (eg from infections) but also allow nutrition through for growth and survival. The notable barriers are the blood brain barrier, blood gastrointestinal barrier (GBB), blood retinal barriers, blood placenta and blood testis barriers, the blood thymus barrier, and the blood–lung or airway barrier. Each of these barriers protects vulnerable and sensitive organs and systems (1). Selective permeability is important and accomplished though specialized cells, occludins, adherens, and claudins, for example.
The junctional proteins in the brain are similar to those of the small intestine. In the gut, the barriers are semipermeable, thus allowing efficient transport of nutrients across the, while excluding entry of potentially harmful small molecules and organisms. The exclusionary properties of the gastric and intestinal mucosa are referred to as the gastrointestinal blood barrier (2).
2. What is Leaky Gut and Leaky Barrier?
Food sensitivity and emerging toxins have been linked to inflammation and some individuals react to food and dietary proteins as pathogenic or antigenic, causing inflammation of the mucosal barrier and immune stress. The inflammation, comprised largely of cytokines, interleukins (IL)-8, and the pro-inflammatory cytokines; tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ, may play a role in this process and inflammation can induce changes in the expression and/or localization of tight junction proteins (1).
A key point to follow is what happens when the integrity of the intestinal blood barrier is compromised. It has the potential to affect a host of other organ systems, which can be problematic. Immune recruitment and an autoimmune response can destroy intestinal epithelial cells, which may lead to villous atrophy (3).
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive brain stimulation technique used to assess and monitor patients with celiac disease shows that “hyper-excitable celiac brain” can exist. These researchers show gluten-related excitatory and inhibitory synaptic excitability. TMS suggests there is a subclinical involvement of GABAnergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission (4). This was even found when celiac patients were asymptomatic, and suggests the brain and its excitation state, and perhaps permeability barriers, could be commonly affected through inflammation in this disease.
The innate immune response has been shown to increase zonulin, which is a modulator of intercellular tight junctions and trafficking of macromolecules important in tolerance and immune responses. Dysregulation of the zonulin pathway can increase the permeability of tight junctions and render individuals susceptible to possible autoimmune disorders, cancer, and inflammation (3).
If this resonated with you and you would like more information……
Write an email to our AdminHV@LittleSproutsChiropractic.com.au requesting “More Information on Leaky Gut please” if you would like to either ask us more questions or if you would like to access our comprehensive most up to date evidence based document on Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity. We will send it out to you.
Do you or have you ever suffered with gut pain, bloating and abdominal pain, nausea, gastroesophageal reflux disease? Even symptoms including joint/muscle involvement, headache, anxiety, foggy mind, skin rash, dermatitis, fatigue and weakness and even numbness --- These are the most frequently reported symptoms stemming from a possibly common issue. This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you if you do have these things!
Over the past two decades, the incidence of diseases believed to be induced by the ingestion of wheat and related gluten-containing cereals, including rye and barley, has increased (1). Non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity (NCG/WS) is a syndrome characterized by intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms occurring a few hours or days after the ingestion of gluten and wheat proteins in patients testing negative for coeliac disease and wheat allergy (2).
It has been established that other foods can cross-react with gluten. Antigens from other foods cross-react with various wheat antigens (3). If a subgroup of patients on a gluten-free diet does not show improvement in their GI or other symptoms, attention should be given to dairy and other cross-reactive foods, such as yeast, corn, oats, millet and rice, as shown in a recent study (3). The study also commented that some oat varieties contain avenin, which cross-reacts with wheat, barley, and rye. What this means in simple language is that foods can act potentially act like other foods that you may not have suspected.
Patients who complain of symptoms following bread and pasta ingestion should not eliminate gluten and wheat, but they should correctly undergo the diagnostic work-up to rule out Coeliac Disease (CD) and Wheat allergy (WA) (2). A self-diagnosis of gluten / wheat intolerance must be avoided since, once the elimination diet is begun, it is very difficult to reintroduce wheat to study the patient. Treatment with gluten / wheat withdrawal should be started only when there is a clear evidence that the patient can be affected by NCG/WS (2).
The first step of the diagnostic work-up for NCWS is based on the symptom assessment (scored from 1 as very mild to 10 as very severe) at baseline (when patients are still on a gluten/wheat-containing diet) and weekly for 6 weeks on gluten-free diet (GFD) by using the modified GSRS questionnaire. This is a Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) integrated with extraintestinal manifestations. A GFD-dependent symptom decrease of greater than 30% compared with baseline in at least three symptoms is regarded as a criterion to suspect NCWS (2).
Since NCGS at this time is a poorly defined condition with highly subjective symptoms, a common clinical approach of eliminating suspected symptom-inducing foods followed by clinician-supervised re-challenge with close symptom monitoring has been advocated. In the most up to date literature/evidence This may prove superior to other methods due to its ease of administration and being more informative (4).
If this resonated with you and you would like more information……
Write an email to our AdminHV@LittleSproutsChiropractic.com.au requesting “More Information on NCGS please” if you would like to either ask us more questions or if you would like to access our comprehensive most up to date evidence based document on NCGS. We will send it out to you.
.At age 0-2, the brain development of an infant towards a toddler undergoes a humongous change. Since the basic structure of the nervous system is already developed during pregnancy, it is only going to expand in volume and synapses to accommodate the flooding of information.
Research shows the volume of nerves grow just over double in the first year(1). It also shows there are massive growth in different parts of an infant cerebral cortex and cerebellum.(1)
During this period, babies are receiving a lot of information from sensory organs, such as eyes, nose and ears, learning and feeling their surroundings. But how?
They see, move, touch, listen and smell! In the study of anatomy, we found there are a few locations in our body which are rich with sensory nerve endings. In general their role is to help us feel, such as light touch and temperature. You might be able to guess one of the most sensitive part of your body is your finger tips, but interestingly our lips and tongue consist of numerous amount of nerve endings as well!(2). It help us distinguish small and important details E.g. taste and fine touch.
Therefore, we can infer the reason why babies like to put objects into their mouth, is because they are exploring and learning the world, utilising their most sensitive part of their body to gather more information and develop the nervous system. This stimulation also helps with integration of primitive reflexes.
A healthy nervous system is vital for brain development, especially for the infant. Little Sprouts Chiropractic provides a comprehensive chiropractic health check for you and your baby. Give us a call and see if we can help you.
1. Knickmeyer RC, Gouttard S, Kang C, Evans D, Wilber K, Smith JK, et al. A structural MRI study of human brain development from birth to 2 years. Journal of Neuroscience. 2008;28(47):12176-82.
2. Guinard J-X, Mazzucchelli R. The sensory perception of texture and mouthfeel. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 1996;7(7):213-9.
Given all the news in the media and a recent survey in regards to the future of chiropractic care with children being conducted. Have you ever thought about chiropractic care and infants? What are the experiences from the parents? Have benefits been noted? This is an article that may provide some insight.
“Infants are common users of chiropractic care” (1-3)
How are we to know if infants respond to chiropractic care? As it is difficult to ask the infant. The answer is with their loving mothers. Evidence suggests that mothers are reliable reporters of their infant’s behaviour, so it is them that are in the best position to provide insight into their child’s clinical situation. (4-6)
In a recent literature article, mothers were given an infant questionnaire, that has been tested for reliability and validity. It collected information about the infant and maternal impressions across several domains of their infant’s behaviour, including sleep, feeding, crying, range of motion of the neck and a few other factors. Difficulty in these areas represents threat to the health of the infant and public health because they are considered risk factors for early cessation of breast feeding, impaired infant-paternal bonding, parental abuse in the short term, behavioural issues, developmental delays and continued sleep difficulties in the long term. (7-14)
Although it is one of the first studies of its kind, being preliminary, subjective to the mother, and more studies need to be done. The infant’s care was reported by mothers who completed follow-up as effective, safe and cost-effective. (15)
“With infants being in their most vulnerable and developmental phases of their life, it is important to make sure their bodies are functioning at their optimum”
1)Hestbaek L, Jørgensen A, Hartvigsen J. A description of children and adolescents in Danish chiropractic practice: results from a nationwide survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009;32(8):607-615.
(2) MillerJ.Demographicsurveyofpediatricpatientspresentingto a chiropractic teaching clinic. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18:33.
(3) Allen-Unhammer A, Willson FJH, Hestbaek L. Children and adolescents presenting to chiropractors in Norway: National Health Insurance data and a detailed survey. Chiropr Man Therap. 2016;24:29-38.
(4) Barr RG, Kramer MS, Boisjoly C, McVey-White L, Pless IB. Parental diary of infant cry and fuss behaviour. Arch Dis Child. 1988;63(4):380-387
(5) St. James-Roberts I, Hurry J, Bowyer J. Objective confirmation of crying durations in infants referred for excessive crying. Arch Dis Child. 1993;68(1):82-84.
(6) von Kries R, Kalies H, Papousek M. Excessive crying beyond 3 months may herald other features of multiple regulatory problems. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(5):508-511.
(7) Miller AS, Huizinga B. PinksterM, Telford ACJ, ten Heggeler JM, Miller JE. Development and testing of a multidimensional parent reported outcome measure for common presenting complaints of infancy: the UK infant questionnaire. J Clin Chiropr Pediatr. 2016;15(3):1292-1300.
(8) Guyer J, Millward LJ, Berger I. Mothers’ breastfeeding experiences and implications for professionals. Br J Midwifery. 2012;20(10):724-733.
(9) Oldbury S, Adams K. The impact of infant crying on the parent-infant relationship. Community Pract. 2015;88(3): 29-34.
(10) Zeifman DM, St. James-Roberts I. Parenting the crying infant. Curr Opin Psychol. 2017;15:149-154.
(11) Johnson K. Reduced tummy time can slow motor development. Med Post. 2003;39(38):51.
(12) Schertz M, Zuk L, Zin S, Nadam L, Schwartz D, Bienkowski RS. Motor and cognitive development at one- year follow-up in infants with torticollis. Early Hum Dev. 2008;84(1):9-14.
(13) Smarius LJ, Strieder TG, Loomans EM, et al. Excessive infant crying doubles the risk of mood and behavioral problems at age 5: evidence for mediation by maternal characteristics. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017;26(3):293-302.
(14) Lam P, Hiscock H, Wake M. Outcomes of infant sleep problems: a longitudinal study of sleep, behavior and maternal well-being. Pediatrics. 2003;111(3):e203-e207.
(15)Miller, J.E., Hanson, H.A., Hiew, M., Kwong, D.S.L.T., Mok, Z. and Tee, Y.H., 2019. Maternal Report of Outcomes of Chiropractic Care for Infants. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics.
Wound up, Easily Irritated, Hypersensitive - Ever wanted to know what these things can have in common?
To understand the significance of a retained Moro reflex, it is important to know what it is and what it is supposed to do. Just like other primitive reflexes, the Moro is present at birth and should integrate (superseded by higher functions of the brain) between 2-4 months of age. It is there to stimulate arousal, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (fight or flight), and for the summoning of assistance (eg. calling for mummy in the infant age) (2).
When the Moro is retained past 6 months of age, it is associated with a hypersensitivity to sensory input, due to this reflex responding before our higher control centres of the brain has a chance to respond. These children (or adults) become overloaded very quickly. It can be to all things around them, or more specific things, such as light or sound.
In the long run, it can have big impacts on how well we are able to regulate our emotional responses due to a lowered threshold for arousal (sudden sounds, light, movement) (2).
Other common symptoms of a retained Moro reflex include (but not limited to); hyperactivity, difficulty with new stimulating experiences, impulsive behaviour, anxiety (especially anticipation anxiety) (2).
We see the Moro reflex, along with many other primitive reflexes, retained in a higher concentration with children diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disorders. These children classically have trouble expressing themselves appropriately. The primitive reflexes are hierarchical, and as a result, they (should) integrate in order. Moro is one of the first reflexes to integrate, and therefore has a great propensity to hinder a child’s progression through later reflexes. This is where we see the parallel presentation with learning disorders (1-4).
So, if you suspect that you or your child may have a retained Moro reflex, book in to be assessed by one of our chiropractors to see how we can help you.
Are you currently suffering from neck pain? Keep reading!
The technology boom has brought us so much convenience without doubt. Yet, we observe neck pain becoming the 4th leading cause of years lost to disability (YLD) in 2010, ranking just behind back pain, depression and arthralgia! (1) It is vital to know the reason why neck pain has become an uninvited guest to you!
When neck pain remains untreated in the early stage, it can become a chronic health problem and more difficult to manage. It can also lead to extensive muscle guarding, affecting your normal spinal curvature, giving you headaches and accelerating your spinal degeneration progress!
Chiropractic interventions are reviewed to be efficient and effective to help manage neck pain and restore range of motion (2). Most importantly, we help people manage their neck pain, helping them become more engaged and regain their zest back for activities!
If you want to help get rid of your stubborn neck pain, you should stop the following mistake......
“Stop looking down to your screens and stop looking into your laptop screen so close that you need to flex your neck to read”
Extra Kilograms of weight are added to your neck to support your posture!(3) You might start to develop a forward head carriage too!
I believe everyone deserves their best health and living without the concern of pain. Get Back to doing what you love!
Your Dr at Little Sprouts Chiropractic can run a comprehensive spinal check to help you identify where your problem(s) are and help manage your condition! Give us a call for more information!
1. Murray CJ, Atkinson C, Bhalla K, Birbeck G, Burstein R, Chou D, et al. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. Jama. 2013;310(6):591-608.
2. Miller J, Gross A, D'Sylva J, Burnie SJ, Goldsmith CH, Graham N, et al. Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy. 2010;15(4):334-54.
3. Neupane S, Ali U, Mathew A. Text Neck Syndrome-Systematic Review. Imperial J Interdiscipl Res. 2017;3(7):141-8.