Ear Infections: How can Chiropractic help?

ear_infection pic

Ear infections are very common in children and one of the most common reasons for antibiotic use. But did you know, that the majority of ear infections are actually caused by a viral infection, not a bacterial infection? So that is why the antibiotics given to children don’t always work. They are actually weakening the immune system further, since antibiotics kill all bacteria in the body, including the “good” stuff. But that is actually not where I want to go with this topic…

Some of the most common causes of ear infections are allergies, mechanical obstructions, infections, nutritional deficiencies or even birth traumas.

Just a little anatomy lesson about the ear: We have a small tube, called the Eustachian tube, that connects the middle ear to the throat to allow fluid to drain through the nasal passage. Most ear infections involve the middle ear. In children, the Eustachian tube is small, narrow and is horizontal. In adults, it is wider and angled downward to allow fluid to drain with the help of gravity. Because of the position of the Eustachian tube in children, it is more likely that fluid will not drain properly leading to fluid buildup and obstruction, putting pressure on the eardrum and can lead to infections.

There are small muscles that surround the eustachian tube that cause it to become wider to allow fluid to drain. These muscles are supplied by nerves that come from the brain (cranial nerves) and the neck (cervical nerves). If there is nerve interference in these areas, it can affect the function of these muscles and prevent them from working properly.

As chiropractors, we remove nerve interference to allow the body and nervous system to function like it should. We allow the body to do what it is meant to do, which is heal itself. Chiropractic also decreases inflammation and muscle tension, it increases mobility and blood/lymph flow, which all affect the function of the middle ear. Not only does chiropractic adjustments help mobilize the drainage of the middle ear, they also increase the immune system 200-400%.

So if you are looking for a natural way to help with ear infections, give chiropractic a try!

Dr. Jess

 

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.

Advertisements

What is Innate Intelligence?

innate intelligence pic 2

 

I’m sure you remember from biology class that you started out as two cells, one from your mother and one from your father, and these cells continually multiply. Eventually these cells go off in different directions and form different tissues, muscles or organs and each has its own job instructed by an unseen intelligence.

This unseen intelligence, or innate intelligence, stays with us every second of every day and is in charge of everything that goes on in our bodies. If we cut ourselves, if we break a bone, if we have a cold or the flu or any other symptom or disease, it’s our own Innate Intelligence that does the healing. It just knows how to do it. The main goal of chiropractic adjustments is to remove the interference to healing, to allow the body’s own innate potential to function optimally. Healing always flows from above down, and from the inside out.

How does the spine affect Innate Intelligence? Our innate intelligence expresses itself largely through the nervous system, and that system controls EVERYTHING in your body – for instance the digestive system, the reproductive system and even the immune system. All the nerves that connect to all areas of the body come out the side of your spine. Science has now confirmed that any distortion or restriction of the spine can interfere with the communication between the brain and different areas of the body, depending on what nerve is affected.

Nerve root compression from spinal misalignments can alter gene expression, which affects how likely we are to actually develop the conditions or diseases that our parents have. This means that we won’t necessarily have the same problems they had – much of our future can be influenced by the choices we make in our own lives, including how we choose to care for our spines.

The same intelligence that formed you is also able to heal you. So in able for your innate intelligence to function optimally, misalignments in the spine need to be corrected.

So why not give chiropractic care a chance?! It is for so much more than treating pain!

Dr. Jess

 

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.

Do You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

HandPainfromCarpalTunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common nowadays, especially with so many people using computers and any repetitive activity with the hands and wrists.

So what is a carpal tunnel?

Carpals are eight bones that make up the wrist. And we all know what a tunnel is. There is a ligament, called the transverse ligament, that goes over these bones and they form the carpal tunnel. Through this carpal tunnel, there are several tendons and the median nerve that pass through it. When the median nerve is compressed it can cause pain, numbness, tingling or burning into the wrist and down into the fingers. Since the median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel, many people suspect that problem is coming from this nerve being compressed in the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Which in many cases, this is not the cause.

All the nerves that supply the arm, wrist and hand all come from the cervical spine or the neck, specifically the median nerve in this case. If there are subluxations or restrictions in the spine, meaning the spine is not in alignment, it adds stress or pressure on that nerve and can lead to pain, numbness or tingling down the arm into the fingers.

As chiropractors, we remove these subluxations to take the stress off the nerves and allow the body to function optimally while decreasing pain and inflammation. Not only will we look at the spine, but we also look at the wrist, elbow and shoulder for carpal tunnel syndrome because decreased motion in these joints can also cause the symptoms into the hand.

I think it is really important that people know that there is another option, a more conservative option, for treating carpal tunnel syndrome than surgery. In over half of these surgeries, the symptoms reoccur after about 2 years. Why do you think that is?

So if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or know someone who does, give chiropractic a try!

Dr. Jess

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.

Negativity Affects Our Health

Hey everyone!

So in my very first blog I talked about the mind-body connection (it’s labeled “The Mind-Body Connection” https://holisticfamilies.org/2015/12/08/mind-body-connection/ – so if you haven’t read it, go read it!) and I just wanted to add more to it about how positive and negative thinking affect our health.

Have you ever thought about being sick and you sometimes actually do get sick?? Focusing all your attention on illness has been scientifically proven to influence the body to illness. Too much knowledge about what can go wrong with the body can actually harm you. The more you focus on the infinite ways in which the body can break down and get sick, the more likely you are to experience physical symptoms.

Negative emotions such as fear, aggression, anxiety or pain, have an effect on the area of the brain that deals with emotion: the limbic system. These negative emotions trigger the brain to send out a warning signal that activates the “fight-or-flight” stress response. This stress response is the body’s way to protect you from danger. The “fight-or-flight” response is an amazing thing to have short-term, but long-term? Not so much… Constantly thinking negative thoughts and having negative emotions will cause a long-term effect on your health. When you activate the “fight-or-flight” response, your body “shuts off” the blood supply to areas that don’t need it: the digestive system, reproductive system, and immune system to just name a few. At the same time, it increases blood supply to muscles and releases hormones to increase heart rate and breathing. So a chronic stress response can cause inflammation, pain, suppressed immune system, amongst other issues that can arise. (If you want to read more about this, check out my blog “Are You TOO Stressed?” https://holisticfamilies.org/2016/02/18/are-you-too-stressed/ – I talk about the “fight-or-flight response in more detail and the long-term affects it has on your body.)

One of the hormones that is released during the stress response is cortisol – a stress hormone. On the flip side, thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decreases cortisol and produces serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at an optimal level.

Negative emotions disturb your interaction with your environment, affecting your ability to perceive, remember, and reinforce existing or create new nerve connections. Being happy improves your cognitive ability by being more alert and productive. Being happy also:

  • Stimulates the growth of nerve connections.
  • Improves cognition by increasing mental productivity.
  • Improves your ability to analyze and think.
  • Affects your view of your surroundings.
  • Increases attentiveness.
  • Leads to more happy thoughts.
  • Happy people are more creative, solve problems faster, and tend to be more mentally alert.

From a chiropractic point of view, when there are subluxations or restrictions in your spine, there is nerve interference that is directly affecting your brain. Instead of good information being sent to your brain, the restrictions are causing bad information to be sent to your brain causing a stress response or the fight-or-flight response. This stress response causes hormones, specifically cortisol, to be released to cause inflammation, pain, chronic muscle tightness, digestive issues, reproductive issues, etc. Every person responds differently to this stress response. Pain is just ONE potential outcome of a stress response. So just because someone might not have pain, it does not mean their body is functioning normally like it should. By adjusting specific areas of the spine, we are allowing good information to be sent to the brain to relieve the stress response and decrease cortisol levels. By getting adjusted, it also increases blood flow to the brain and the release of serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and oxytocin which allow you to feel better, be happier, sleep better and have more energy. There are a TON of benefits from chiropractic care!

So start thinking positively and see a chiropractor! It will be worth it!

Dr. Jess

positive thinking pic

 

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle

What Does Vitamin D Do For My Body?

Did you know that vitamin D is actually considered a pro-hormone and not a vitamin? It is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, giving it the nickname, sunshine vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired through the diet or supplements.

It is estimated that sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D. Recent studies have suggested that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide are vitamin D deficient.

So what are some of the health benefits of vitamin D?

  • Healthy bones: Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys.
    • Vitamin D deficiency in children is call rickets, a disease characterized by a severely bow-legged appearance and softening of the bones.
    • Vitamin D deficiency in adults is called osteoporosis.
  • Boosts the immune system: Vitamin D triggers and arms the body’s T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system, the T cells, will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. The T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes: Studies have shown that people who have the lowest vitamin D levels in their blood are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that people who have the lowest serum vitamin D levels are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
  • Healthy pregnancy: Pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing preeclampsia and needing a C-section. Poor vitamin D levels are also associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.
    • There has also been research showing the importance of adequate vitamin D levels to help prevent autism and autoimmune diseases
  • Prevents cancer: Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that the hormonally active form of vitamind D, calcitriol, can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death and by reducing cell proliferation and metastases.
  • There is even research being done to show that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of heart disease.

If you are interested in what your vitamin D levels are, I would recommend getting your blood work done. You can either get vitamin D from the sun, certain foods or a vitamin D supplement. Who knew one vitamin had so many health benefits!

Dr. Jess

81061dcbf0c7bb4f5e1dcf3812cc4acf

 

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle

5 Hidden Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

026

The first thing people do when I tell them I’m a Doctor of Chiropractic is point out an area of concern and ask me for my advice.   This is typically followed up with a story about someone they know and something they have heard about chiropractic care.  It never ceases to amaze me how misunderstood chiropractic is.  I don’t mind the questions and stories.  Over the years it has been somewhat humorous to hear all the things people think about the profession I have devoted my life to.

When I include in the conversation how I adjust children and pregnant women, I’m usually met with silence or a feeling of uncertainty.  On the other hand, there are the pleasant times I’m met with the enthusiastic response of “I’ve used chiropractic care” or “My daughter’s ear infection was gone after an adjustment!” or “I can’t live through a pregnancy without my chiropractor.”  Oddly enough, it seems to be that the pendulum swings either one way or the other when it comes to chiropractic care for pregnancy and children.  I have asked myself why this is.  I have to assume it’s a lack of knowledge, because if people knew what I know about the benefits of chiropractic care, they would not hesitate to include this type of care in their healthcare toolbox (ideally by calling our office of course – lol).

So with your permission, let me tell you the truth about Chiropractic Care, as well as 5 Hidden Benefits.  After reading this article, you can make an educated decision if chiropractic care is right for you and your family by basing your decision on knowledge instead of fear or concern.  If you’re not currently pregnant, educate yourself anyway.  You could potentially help someone else someday.

Let’s start with the basics.  Your body is controlled by….. (guess)

Your brain!  Everything in your body is controlled by your brain.  Your brain connects to your body through nerves.

Your spine is made up of 24 moveable bones (called vertebrae), plus the sacrum (ending in the tailbone), and the pelvis and skull.  From the brain, information travels down the spinal cord and then branches into nerve roots which exit through these bones or vertebrae.  When the bones are misaligned or not moving like they are designed to, the nerve information can get slowed or even sped up at times.  These misalignments are called “subluxations”.  If the information sent from your brain is telling your body to slow down or even speed up the vital muscles, tissues and organs of your body because of misalignment, what is going to happen?  Will you be healthier or sicker?  Stronger or weaker?  Will you have better health potential or less?  Will you be richer or poorer?  (I threw the last one in there just to make sure you’re still paying attention, but you get the picture right?)

Here’s the million dollar question – How do you know if your spine is misaligned and the messages being sent are not creating health?

You don’t unless you’re getting checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

017

So let’s think about this one for a second.  Why wouldn’t you know simply by how you are feeling?  The same question could be asked why one wouldn’t know they have heart disease, cancer or even tooth decay right.  Your body isn’t designed to be sick.  Your body is designed to be healthy.  Let me say that again.  Your body isn’t designed to be sick, your body is designed to be healthy.  This means that your body has to be really sick in order for you to “feel the effects of your sickness”.  If there is an accident or injury then that is an exception to this, however, as far as overall health goes, it would be pretty nice if we knew the minute a cancer cell got out of control or our arteries began to plaque.  It would be nice to know when the slightest bit of tooth decay was present, but the pain typically comes when the problem has been around for a while.  If your body was spending time trying to figure out what’s wrong inside, it would lose precious time correcting the body so it could function the way it’s supposed to.

These are just the facts.  You can’t possibly know how health you are, unless a chiropractor is checking you.  I have many doctors that help to keep my family and me healthy.  My primary care physician is a chiropractor, but I have an eye doctor, a dentist, a functional medicine doctor, a midwife, and yes, even a medical doctor.  It is important to have lots of tools in our toolbox, but leaving out chiropractic care leaves out the ability to see what is going on inside the body before your only option is to treat the symptoms.

How does pregnancy fit into all this?  As you gain weight in the abdomen (and anywhere really), this causes a downward and, forward pull on your spine.  The weight then combines with the change in gait and center of gravity, setting you up for back and neck pain.  In addition, you secrete a beautiful hormone called, “relaxin”.  This hormone loosens your ligaments so your baby can exit easier, but it also exaggerates the effects of the extra weight and any existing spinal problems.  What happens to your breasts when you’re pregnant, well, let’s not even go there.  For some of us the breast changes were an added pregnancy “perk” (literally and figuratively), but for others, not so much.

Can you see how all this combined can affect your spine, pelvis and most importantly your body’s control system (your nervous system)?

So here are the 5 benefits of Chiropractic Care.

  • Studies show that women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and a 39% reduction in subsequent pregnancies!
    1. My twin labor and delivery time was 5 ½ hours until Baby A and 34 minutes later Baby B were born.
  • Another amazing study showed the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients receiving chiropractic care.
  • 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care. (Why suffer with pain when you can find a Chiropractor trained in pregnancy care?)
  • Chiropractic care has helped new mothers become more comfortable breastfeeding (due to their posture being better), as well, as to produce more milk.
  • Chiropractic care has been shown to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression. (please take omega 3’s as well)

My best advice is to make Chiropractic Care a part of your prenatal care.  Find a clinic that makes you feel at home and treats a lot of pregnant women.  One thing that we absolutely know for certain is that the team of doctors you choose and how you prepare for this beautiful time in your life will affect your birth and post-partum experience.  My desire is that this will be a time you will cherish and remember fondly forever.

Dr. Heather Yost DACCP, CFMP

HY Headshot