My youngest son sees a chiropractor. We chose to go see one for sensory challenges that he experiences, and we are seeing amazing results. Through our time with Dr. Ashley Caldwell, I have learned a great deal more about how chiropractic care can aid in healthy sleep.
My son, has been a great sleeper since we worked with him on his sleep early on. We did though always have a challenge with him in that he always woke on the earlier side of the normal wake window. Though, we chose to seek chiropractic care for other reasons, we are seeing an impact on his sleep. On average, since starting with a chiropractor, he is now sleeping 30-45 minutes later in the morning! We didn’t even have this as a goal…yet he’s doing it, while also accomplishing other goals we had for his sensory challenges.
As you may have heard me say before, the key to healthy sleep is not just one thing. There are a number of pieces to a puzzle that we need to put together in order for healthy sleep to come together. A portion of that is an age appropriate sleep schedule, a safe sleep environment, a sleep conducive environment and an independent sleeper.
It is important to ensure that you have put the pieces of the sleep puzzle to see healthy sleep come together. However, if you’ve got all of the pieces together and your child is still struggling with a portion of their sleep, the below interview may help. These are some questions that I have asked, out of my own desire to learn about the benefits of chiropractic care when coupled with healthy sleep habits:
An Interview with Dr. Ashley Caldwell of Empower Chiropractic
Why is chiropractic work important for babies/children?
Chiropractic care is so important for babies and children because a lot of the time their first sign of trauma is experienced at birth. The birthing process is not only hard on moms but it’s hard on babies too.
Think about it, you’ve lived 10 months in this tiny, yet cozy room. You know, understand, and appreciate the smell, the feeling, the sounds…you’re comfortable you know what to expect every single day not to mention you get to have a yoga session and sometimes even a dance party. Then before you know it, you’re thrusted, into a new environment something that’s cold compared to where you’re from.
There are new sounds, new faces, and new people and everyone wants to touch you. At some point you may even have cords attached to you and people may be poking or prodding you. If this was you, in this new world you would feel stressed out and maybe even afraid. Your anxiety may raise, blood pressure or pulse may increase, and you would go into fight or flight.
This same exact thing could be happening to your child you just wouldn’t know by looking at them because kids a lot of the time can’t put into words what’s going on when they are so young. Instead, there are other signs they exhibit but you may only know if you take them to get them evaluated with a trained professional.
How can it aid in healthy sleep habits?
Chiropractic care through adjustments help with healthy sleep habits by allowing the body to achieve a parasympathetic state with more ease. When your parasympathetic nervous system is working optimally it allows for your body to rest and heal itself more efficiently. When you are stuck in the sympathetic mode- your body tends to be wired into overdrive. Your stuck on the gas pedal, and it’s difficult for you to press on the brake to slow yourself down.
This can lead to a state of dis-ease. It can show up in many different forms for example, being fatigued all the time, not feeling rested after you’ve slept for hours, anxiety, and it can show up in a host of other symptoms not typically correlated with sleep.
In kids this can mean meltdowns at bedtime or in babies can be illustrated by crying nonstop. This can be especially true while babies are in the process of meeting their developmental milestones. When milestones are being hit such as sitting up or crawling different spinal tracts along their nervous system are being integrated. Through this process babies are also creating different curves of their spine. It is important that these develop properly so all the systems of their tiny bodies can work together more efficiently.
What specific issues that impact sleep can chiropractic work help with?
For babies, a proper latch is so important if a mom chooses to breastfeed. Often times when we check babies that are having an issue with latching, we find an issue in the top part of their neck. When we address this area, moms find that their babies are latching better and stronger once that restriction is removed.
Using specific chiropractic adjustments, chiropractic has helped kids with anxiety, trouble focusing in school, acid reflux, excessive gas, constipation, when a baby is born with a flat spot on their head and torticollis (neck is tilted to one side).
We even help make sure that your child is meeting all of their proper developmental milestones as they continue to grow on time and in order. As they are developing sitting, crawling, to pulling themselves up, to walking it is important to get them checked because we all know they fall the most during these periods. These tumbles can lead to minor misalignments which can have major implications, one of which can be sleep disturbances. and delays in the overall development of your child. It’s difficult for them to communicate what they feel, so it’s great to have them evaluated.
How do you adjust a child or baby?
One of the first thing we do before ever working with a child, is a thorough exam which includes
evaluating primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes are those things that you are innately born with. Each reflex should naturally integrate with your nervous system at certain points of development.
If they don’t integrate then they are what we call retained that can lead to motor delays in the overall development of your child. A child or infant gets adjusted completely differently than an adult. In my office we do it one of two ways: we use an instrument if the child is old enough that clicks.
Generally the kids love to play with it and we let them so they can get used to it and get familiar with the sound. The other technique is to use digital pressure, it is performed using the same amount of pressure used to test if a tomato or peach is ripe. It’s very gentle and sometimes infants even sleep.
It’s been my experience that children of all ages that benefit from getting adjusted. The biggest thing that prevents parents from coming into the office is fear and at our office we do our best to break down the barriers due to misinformation, miseducation or lack of knowledge. It is also our priority to build rapport and gain your trust to work with your most prized possession, your children, and give you the hope along with the results you have been seeking out.
You can find out more about Dr. Ashley Caldwell here:
As always my best,
Certified Sleep Consultant
Good Night Sleep Site Florida