Children Training for Sports

RemembeEarly Youth Specialization in Sportsr when you were growing up and you went outside to play, relatively unsupervised (Gasp!)?

In the spring you played baseball, the summer you swam, the fall you’d play two hand touch/tackle football and in the winter you would skate when the ponds froze. There were no adults, refs or scoreboards. There was trash talking, competition, and most of all fun. I still remember fondly the touchdown catch I had on Kimball St. in Quincy to beat the kids from White St.

Let’s just say it is not like that anymore.

The Boston Globe ran an article in which they covered a gym that specializes in training young athletes for the sport(s) of their choice. At first I thought they were talking about teens, however, as I read on I discovered they were talking about kids as young as ten. Ten!

For the longest time, the thought was exercising before puberty would stunt growth by closing the growth plates earlier than they should. New research suggests that exercising at a young age, if done responsibly, is actually good for bone growth.

Now look, we are not talking about having kids bench press 200 pounds or squat 300 pounds.

We are talking about having kids exercise with body weight. If they do graduate to using weights, then the weight is kept low while the reps are high.

Now with all of this comes the one worry: Further specialization in sports at a younger and younger age.

Recently there was an excellent graphic that showed the breakdown of Ohio State’s football recruits. Of the 47 recruits 5 played only football in high school. 42 were multi-sport athletes!

Why am I writing about this?

Overuse injuries.

Every day I am seeing more and more kids with spines and complaints similar to those of someone 20-30 years their superior. It is not unusual for kids to come and see me with back pain, neck pain, headaches, or various joint pains. Many of these kids are playing one sport sometimes up to 6 days per week for 40-50 weeks a year.

Each year 3.5 million kids under the age of 14 are treated for sports injuries with more than half being treated for overuse. The sad part is that the number of overuse injuries is on the rise, while the average age is on the decline. In the past 10 years there has been a 5 fold increase in shoulder and elbow injuries in youth softball and baseball players alone.

As a long time hockey coach, trust me when I tell you this. Early specialization almost never pans out. The amount of burnout that I see is staggering. Latest stats claim that 70% of kids by will quit sports by the time they are 13.

As a long time chiropractor, trust me when I tell you, early specialization will age your child’s body way before it’s time.

 

Are Fevers Good for You?

I had a mom in the office last week telling me that her 7 year old had a fever. I gave the child a high five and said that is awesome, your body is doing what it knows how to do.

To say the mom was shocked at my reaction would be a slight understatement. She wanted to know why I thought this fever was a good thing.

Let’s have a little physiology lesson today!

It is commonly accepted that 98.6 is a normal temperature. This number, however, represents an average. Some people are considered normal at 97.9 and some are 99.1. It is important to remember that.

Now what is a fever? A fever is a rise in the normal body temperature. This rise in temperature is typically due to  infections such as colds and gastroenteritis.

The question begs asking, why does the body feel the need to raise the temperature when you have an infection? In the most simple terms fever is positive evidence of an active immune system, working to help a ton of immunological processes work more effectively.

If the body recognizes that something is not right in the body, let’s say it is a minor infection, and raises the temperature to kill it off, does it make sense to try and suppress what the body is designed to do?

In fact if we do that, aren’t we just letting the infection stay in the body and get stronger?

Think I am crazy? OK, yes I am crazy, however, some pretty smart people agree with not knocking fevers down right away.

In 1980, Dr. Barton D. Schmitt, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, published an article about what he termed “fever phobia.” Many parents, he wrote, believed that untreated fevers might rise to critical levels and that even moderate and low-grade fevers could have serious neurological effects (that is, as parents we tend to suspect that our children’s brains may melt).

A group at Johns Hopkins revisited Dr. Schmitt’s work in 2001, publishing a paper in the journal Pediatrics, “Fever Phobia Revisited” Their conclusion was that the fears and misconceptions persisted.

Of course no one is suggesting that fevers cannot get dangerously high, however, less than 5% of untreated fevers ever reach 104.

When your child has a fever, watch how they are acting and call your doctor. Do not be surprised if the doctor takes a wait and see approach.

 

While you are making phone calls, call your chiropractor as well. More than likely your little person could use an adjustment as well…it does the body good!

 

 

 

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Breech Babies

I do not know what is in the water here at the office! The pregnant women are coming out of the woodwork!

Are you aware that chiropractic is tremendously helpful for pregnant women? In one study 75% of women treated claimed they had less pain with chiropractic care. The average number of visits for substantial relief? 1.8! That’s pretty cool.

While it may seem like common sense that chiropractic would help, it was not until I went to school that I learned how effective chiropractic was with helping breech babies get into the head down position. What does breech mean? A typical baby will present with their head down by the moms pelvis. A breech baby has their head up by the moms chest.

As the pregnancy gets closer to term, around 40 weeks, most babies will turn into the head down position, somewhere around 97%. If, however, you are around week 36 or higher and the baby is still breech, it is unlikely turning will occur without some help.

Webster Technique

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Larry Webster on many occasions while studying at Life University in Marietta GA. We were at a conference and I asked him how he discovered his adjustments were allowing babies to turn. What he told me was fascinating.

Dr. Webster noticed in the late 70’s that his adjustments were helping women have easier pregnancies. While refining his technique, he noted that most of the women that were breech when they started his care, had their babies turn into the head down position after a few visits. After many years of refinement, Dr. Webster started teaching his technique to chiropractors all over the world.

English: The sacroiliac joint

His main theory, and it has stood the test of time, was that that the cause of a persistent malpositioned fetus beyond 32 weeks could be due to misalignment of the bones in the moms pelvis. A subluxation of the sacrum or sacroiliac joints has the potential to create asymmetry of the pelvic opening and increased tension on the ligaments that support the uterus. By correcting the misaligned sacrum and releasing trigger points in a stomach muscle, the bony structure of the pelvis and related soft tissue is in a state where there is less constriction on the pelvic cavity. This affords the fetus the opportunity to move into a more ideal position for the upcoming delivery. Got all that!

Is It Effective?

Yes, both in my office and through literature that I have read. The latest survey that I saw stated of the 112 cases presented throughout the country, 102 of the babies had turned. 10 were still unresolved at press time.

Is It Safe?

As chiropractors, we are not actually turning the baby. What we are doing is removing the imbalances in the sacrum and abdominal muscles and reducing the constriction in the uterus. When this restriction is relieved, the baby has more room to turn. So yes, it is very safe.

In conclusion, if you know someone that is expecting, encourage them to visit their chiropractor, especially if their baby is in the breech position. They will definitely thank you for it!

Any questions on Webster technique or chiropractic in general, feel free to leave a comment or email us. We will be happy to get back to you.

(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

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2 Million Cribs Recalled

Baby's Crib + New Paint Job
Image by tofslie via Flickr

Parents, please take a look to see if you own a drop down side baby crib from the following companies:

  • Evenflo
  • Delta Enterprises Corp.
  • Child Craft
  • Jardine Enterprises
  • LaJobi
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Simmons Juvenile Products Inc.

There is a recall out due to baby entrapment concerns.  With this recall, 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled in the past five years. Drop-sides have been blamed in the deaths of at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000. The cribs are suspected in another 14 infant fatalities during that time.

If you do have one of these cribs please contact the manufacturer.  They will provide you with a kit that will help immobilize the drop down side.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association urges parents not to use cribs with loose or missing parts. It also says consumers should not use a crib that is older than 10 years as it may not be up to date on safety standards.

If you want to read more about this, these two websites have information:

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association: http://www.jpma.org

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E Cigarettes, Are They Safe?

Have you ever heard of an E Cigarette?  I mean I know I am hardly cutting edge of cool but these are news to me.

I was walking through the Burlington Mall the other day when I noticed a kiosk that was selling E Cigarettes.  Having never seen these before I went home and looked them up.  It turns out they are an electronic smoking device or an electronic cigarette which is also known as E-Cigarette.  This E Cigarette is non flammable and through technology claims it can provide the smoker a real smoking experience without the fire, flame, tobacco, tar, carbon monoxide, or ash that you would see in real cigarettes.

So at first I thought, wow, a real looking cigarette without all the bad stuff.  Then I kept reading.

The smoker will still get nicotine.  They are very upfront about that.  Apparently the device turns nicotine into a vapor so you can inhale it.  One must remember, however, that nicotine is highly addictive.

What I don’t like about this product is they make the nicotine packet come in different flavors including bubblegum, chocolate, apple and cherry.  While they claim that they are not marketing this to children, this rubs me the wrong way.  Can you just see an adult ordering bubble gum flavored nicotine?

The CEO of one of these companies claims that they are instructing vendors to follow all state laws when they sell them, yet when I went online and attempted to purchase these devices, I was never asked for my age.

Just recently, the FDA weighed in and as you may have surmised they are not too warm on this idea either.  The FDA analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two brands of electronic cigarettes marketed by U.S. companies: NJOY, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Florida-based Smoking Everywhere.

In one sample, analyses detected diethylene glycol, an antifreeze component. In several other samples, analysts found carcinogens.  What bothered the FDA was the lack of quality control in these packets and they feel that there could be a safety issue due to this lack of control.

Bottom line if one of your children comes home with this E Cigarette, please do not be fooled into thinking that are not getting nicotine with them, they most assuredly are.

Seatbelts Save Lives

Woke up this morning to this headline in the Boston Herald….Eight killed in wrecks before dawn

For anyone who knows me, inexplicably, I am a huge NASCAR fan. I watch the race, the minor league races, the talk shows, I even read websites about it. I have often joked that I would pick going to the Daytona 500 over most any other sporting event.

To make this more of a conundrum, I barely know which side of the screwdriver to hold, never mind having any knowledge of cars. It is the science of the sport that absolutely fascinates me and today’s post is about the safety side.

When I went to bed last night, at the conclusion of the NASCAR race from Daytona, Kyle Busch, one of the sports biggest stars, had just got turned into the wall at 180+ MPH. His car then spun, was struck from behind, spun again and was hit even harder on the drivers side door. Again all of this at 180+ MPH. His car was totally destroyed. A few weeks prior to that Carl Edwards, another huge star, got hit, spun, hit again, his car went into the air, flipped, hit a fence before finally landing on the track. Again his car was totally destroyed.

What a car looks like after getting hit at 180 MPH
What a car looks like after getting hit at 180 MPH

The common theme in these two 180+ MPH wrecks is that both drivers walked away. Carl Edwards even made a big show of jogging across the finish line, not 15 seconds after his car stopped.

How is it possible that these two guys walk away from their wrecks, yet 8 people were killed last night, July 4th, in wrecks where people weren’t going near half their speed?

After I read the headline of the article, I found this later in the piece…”A common thread in the tragic, predawn carnage was that none of the drivers or passengers in the deadliest accidents in Walpole and Attleboro were wearing safety belts while driving at high speeds.

When a NASCAR driver gets behind the wheel, he does so knowing that this race could be his last. The possibility of death stares him right in the face.  In order to give these drivers a much better chance to survive these crashes a complex safety system is used.  The drivers are basically strapped into their seats.  Trust me when I tell you this, there is not much wiggle room.  There is a 5 point seat-belt and even their helmets are attached to the seat.  A window netting is also included to prevent arms from coming outside of the car.

When a young driver gets behind the wheel, I suspect they are more pre occupied with how they look in the car versus how safe they are.  No wonder parents can’t sleep when their kids are out late.

The safety devices available to a driver pale in comparison to what you would find in a typical NASCAR car, however, since the speeds are hopefully only 1/3 of what they will drive, they are more than sufficient if used properly.

There are 4 key points to safety within the car:

  1. Seat-belt
  2. Airbag
  3. Seat
  4. ABS

Seat-belt.  To not wear your seat-belt is shear idiocy.  There is absolutely no excuse.  Plainly stated the seat-belt will keep you in the car.  It will also keep you in your seat and off the steering wheel or windshield.  You must use the lap and shoulder belts.  This point is not open for debate.

Airbag.  If you strike something hard enough the airbag will deploy.  While this will make a sound and you will smell something odd, these are very effective at keeping your head off the windshield and steering wheel.  Word of caution, short people need to sit as far from the steering wheel as possible, maybe even consider getting pedal extenders.  Same for pregnant women, you don’t want the airbag striking you with too much force, it is best to sit as far back as you can.

Seats.  The seat is designed to absorb the energy if you crash.  In order for it to work properly, you must have the seat as upright as possible and have your head no more than 1 inch from the headrest.  The headrest should also be high up enough so your entire head touches it, don’t just leave it on the seat.  Riding like the gangsta with the seat all the way back and you leaning forward has to end.

ABS.  These are standard on most cars today.  These brakes will allow you to continue steering in the case where you need to stop quickly.  One note of caution, these brakes only work if you keep the pedal depressed.  DO NOT pump these types of brakes.  When you have these brakes all the way pressed down, sometimes they will vibrate or pulse, that means they are doing their job, don’t let up.  If the car that you are looking at buying does not come with ABS, please consider another model.  If you must choose between the moon roof and the ABS, please choose the ABS.

If you know you are going to get in an accident there are a couple of things you can do to try and lessen the imapct of the crash.  Begin by forcing your head against the head rest, while looking straight.  The second thing you can do is tense for the crash, this goes against the old advice of staying loose.  Lastly, if you are in a postion to try and avoid the accident, focus on where you want to go.  If you want to stay on the road and avoid the trees, focus on the road and do your best to ignore the trees.  You will be shocked at how effective this is.

Hey wait, that sounds like life advice also, focus on where you want to go…………

Your state of mind may be the most important tool in your arsenal of safety.  Driving while drinking, under the influence of drugs, tired, angry, or now dialing/talking on the cell and texting is severly limiting your chances of staying out of an accident.  Changing the radio station and eating are also distractions that you must be very careful with.

If you do get in an accident please check in with your doctor right away.  If the accident is bad enough a trip to the ER is a good idea for a set of x-rays.  In most cases you will not need a neck brace, those have been shown to increase scar tissue formation and actually slow down healing.

Lastly, please slow down.  Driving 50 on a road designed for 30 is going to get you in trouble.

If you have any questions you can always ask here through the comments or give me a call at the number above.

ADHD Drugs May Be Linked to Rare Deaths

Currently there are approximately 2.5 million children and 1.5 million adults taking stimulant medication.  The two most popular meds are Ritalin and Concerta, with ADHD being the most common condition that they treat.

For those of you who may not know ADHD is short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which can best be characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention.  It is diagnosed twice as much in boys as it is in girls and  a popular treatment method is to put the child on either Ritalin or Concerta.

After years of speculation and rare case reports, a study suggests that this stimulant medication may have played a role in a handful of cases of sudden, unexplained death in children and adolescents.

This is the first study to suggest that these stimulants may pose a risk to children, albeit a very remote one, without pre existing heart problems.

What these drugs do is cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.  In the past this was thought to be no big deal to children, they may be starting to rethink that.

A study compared children who died unexpectedly vs. children who died in an auto accident.  What they found was 1.8% of the children from the unexpected death group were on a stimulant drug.  In the group of children who died from an auto accident, the number of children on that drug was 0.4%.

What the doctors are now recommending is two fold if your child is told they need to be put on a stimulant drug like Ritalin or Concerta:

  1. Please give your doctor a detailed family history; do not gloss over this.  A ton of useful information comes out of these conversations.  Please make sure you pay particular attention to heart attacks, strokes or any form of heart disease.
  2. Ask your doctor for an EKG for your child.  A recent study of 1100 children found that 2% of those children screened had an abnormality.

In 2008, the American Heart Association recommended that doctors consider routine electrocardiograms before starting children with ADHD on stimulants or other psychotropic medications.  These EKG’s may help to detect cardiac abnormalities that would increase a child’s vulnerability to sudden heart problems.

Shameless chiropractic plug.  If you are considering putting your child on one of these drugs, please give chiropractic a shot first.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen children get helped by going to the chiropractor.  I have teachers at school now who proactively seek parents out and tell them to get their children adjusted.

If you currently have a chiropractor, ask them if they will check your child.  If you need help finding a chiropractor near you, shoot me an email and I will help you find someone.

TV Reduces Young Kids' Language Development

Child spellbound by TV
Child spellbound by TV

So TV reduces children’s language development?  Funny, some of the words that have come out of my young son’s mouth are 100% attributed to TV.  I mean where else can a 6 year old learn about priapism?  Well I am sure that erectile dysfunction is a popular topic around the dinner table, most people I know stick to school and sports when talking to their children.

The gist of this article is that the more a child watches TV the less they are interacting with their parents or siblings. No doubt that is true.  They followed a bunch of children around with a digital listening device and measured how much they spoke or heard people speaking while watching TV.  The results showed that each additional hour of television exposure by the child was associated with a decrease in 770 words (7%) that the child heard from an adult during the recording session.  The study also showed less speaking while watching TV.

The moral of the story is, in case you don’t already know, turn the TV off and watch your interactions with your children go up.  Unless it’s NASCAR, then crank the volume, the race is on!!!

Can Overtraining Your Knees Lead to Hip Pain

Hip Labrum

In the last year some of baseball’s biggest stars have had to spend time on the disabled list with torn hip labrums.  This injury did not exist 10 years ago prompting baseball’s medical staffs to scramble to come up with the reasons behind this.

One trainer was quoted as saying he has never seen anything like the rash in hip injuries like he has seen in the last two years. 

While the studies aren’t out yet, there is no shortage of debate as to what is causing this sudden increase in labrum surgeries.  Some believe that due to the prevalence of ACL tears many sports medicine people recommended strengthening the legs which would in turn strengthen the knee, thus preventing tears.  These experts think that the overtraining of the legs could be leaving the hips more vulnerable to injury.

There is also speculation that children may be playing sports too early, leading to improper bone development.  As a hockey coach I insist that my players take at least a couple of months off per year….no excuses, you need the rest.

Let’s take this one step further.  As a chiropractor one of the things I despise is the baby walker or exersaucer.  These two products force babies into upright positions long before they are ready for them.  Could this lead to abnormal bone development?  Absolutely no doubt.  See the body grows bone where it senses stress, this is known as Wolf’s Law.  This Wolf’s Law is the same reason we tell older people to exercise to prevent osteoporosis.

If your hips are starting to bother you and you are working out, especially your legs, make sure you talk to me about it and together we can come up with a strategy to keep you off the operating room table.

Can the Court Force You Into Care?

An interesting article came out today about a 13 year old boy who, due to religious beliefs, is refusing chemotherapy.

His parents believe in natural care and do not want to expose him to chemotherapy. He had one treatment and didn’t return for follow ups. According to the article the mom is treating the boy with herbal supplements, ionized water, vitamins and other natural alternatives.

The question here is, does the court have a right to force an underage child to receive medical care? What if people want to try a different method of treatment?

Where this gets sticky is he is a minor. If this were an adult then it is a no brainer, you get to treat yourself how you want.

Let’s assume that the court is operating with the best of intentions, for sure they don’t want to see anyone get hurt. My question is this: who gets to decide what is and isn’t medical neglect. If a person chooses not to vaccinate their children, has researched it and came to their own conclusions, are they guilty of neglect?

What about the person that feeds their kids McDonalds 6 times a week, are they being neglectful?

While I applaud anyone who doesn’t want to see kids get hurt, we are starting down a slippery slope of judging what people believe.

If you want to read the whole article you can see it here