We are often asked about unusual walking habits of our younger patients. “What does it mean if…?”, “Is it a problem that…?”. We always take these questions seriously because every child develops differently, and sometime these questions will highlight an underlying or persistent issue.
So, what about toe walking? Is it actually a problem if your child is a toe walker? Typically, the heel-toe pattern of walking develops by 24-42 months of age, and it is not unusual to see a 12-month-old only toe walking. (Morozova, 2017) The question becomes more relevant the older the child gets. Persistent toe walking beyond the age of 3 years can be a sign of structural abnormalities, or even conditions such as cerebral palsy. (Ruzbarsky, 2016)
Now you may be asking, what can be done? Well, it depends on what is causing the toe walking in the first place, as well as the age of the child. If it is truly idiopathic (no known cause), then manual therapy and stretching may well be the answer. In more severe cases, casting and surgery may be needed. (Ruzbarsky, 2016)
The take home message; toe walking is considered normal up to the age of 12 months and it would be expected to gradually decrease and disappear by the age of 3. It can be seen in up to 2% of normally developing children at the age of 5 ½ years. (Ruzbarsky, 2016)
If you or someone close to you has a habit of toe walking, then we encourage you to ask questions about it.
Morozova, O. M., Chang, T. F., & Brown, M. E. (2017). Toe walking: when do we need to worry?. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, 47(7), 156-160.
Ruzbarsky, J. J., Scher, D., & Dodwell, E. (2016). Toe walking: causes, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment. Current opinion in pediatrics, 28(1), 40-46.
In one of our recent blogs, we started talking about the rates of depression in pregnancy and post-natal depression including some of the implications of depression during and after pregnancy. Some of these risks included pre-term delivery, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), and birth difficulties. (1)
Following on from this, a recent study conducted in Victoria looked to see if it were possible to predict sleep problems for infants in the first year of life. They concluded that poorer prepartum and postpartum maternal mental and physical health; including poorer physical function, increased emotional problems, and decreased energy and vitality; were associated with reports of persistent severe infant sleep problems. (2)
Furthermore, maternal depression and anxiety has been associated with poorer right white frontal microstructure in 1-month old infants. This area of the brain is important for self-regulation needed for sleep. (2)
Cook et al. states: “Maternal prenatal stress alters melatonin levels, reducing generation of the circadian rhythm in the foetal adrenal gland, which is vital for the development of infant sleep, and potentially limiting foetal growth. Maternal prenatal depression raises free cortisol levels which in turn increases infant cortisol levels. Higher infant cortisol can result in poorer infant sleep quality and more frequent waking.” (2)
This does become a vicious cycle, as your child sleeps less, so do you. Lack of sleep can increase fatigue, depression and anxiety, which promotes the poorer sleep patterns in infants! So, for expecting mums, planning mums, and new mums; getting on top of your health will make a difference on the outcomes not just for you, but also for your infant and his or her sleep.
 Leung, B. M., & Kaplan, B. J. (2009). Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition link—a review of the literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(9), 1566-1575.
 Cook, F., Conway, L., Gartland, D., Giallo, R., Keys, E. and Brown, S., 2019. Profiles and Predictors of Infant Sleep Problems Across the First Year. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
Neck pain is a leading cause of disability in adults, reported in up to 20% of adults in Australia., For the majority of these people, acute episodes of neck pain will usually resolve within 6-8 weeks under conservative management, but in 10-34% of people pain can become chronic in nature. Chronic pain is characterised by pain that has been occurring longer than 3 months.
Studies have found that individuals experiencing neck pain can have altered joint position sense in the upper extremities, changes in balance and changes in the ability to complete mental cognitive tasks.
A particular study by Haavik and Murphy found that asymptomatic people with a history of neck pain had reduced elbow joint position sense accuracy compared to those with no history of any neck complaints. Furthermore they found that adjusting dysfunctional cervical segments in people with neck pain can improve their upper limb joint position sense accuracy. This is extremely relevant to our position sense which is very much related to our sense of balance, although more research needs to be carried out on this.
Chiropractic care combined with rehabilitation exercises and exercise alone are effective in reducing functional disability and pain in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain.
At Sprouting Health we take a thorough history to gain a clear understanding of the onset, distribution, nature of pain and associated features as well as an efficient and comprehensive physical assessment to decipher the best management plan on a case by case basis to help achieve your desired goals.
Are you currently living your life fully as you would choose? If not, are you actively involved in the process of creating it? Are you the victor or victim? Are you feeling blocked from reaching your dreams and full potential?
What is it that is stopping you?
How is this blockage impacting your health and how is your health contributing to you being or feeling stuck?
It’s time to ask “Am I Feeling Blocked?” and then clarify the events or individuals that seem to be blocking you from expressing your full potential. Only when you see these issues more clearly can you take the necessary actions to liberate yourself and achieve living your best life now.
Here are some Healing Hints
1. Determine to live more fully in the moment of NOW!
2. “When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.” – Unknown
3. Realize that you have the potential to more fully create the life you want to live. Dream the dream. Clarify the vision. Plot the course. Set the goals. Discipline yourself to take committed action each day toward your goals and vision. Practice gratitude everyday.
4. Become aware and acknowledge that you are stuck if you really are. Even if only partially, and in truth who isn’t to some degree?
5. Commit to correcting your underlying condition if part of your blockage is pain or some other illness challenge. As much as possible solve the real problem rather than masking the symptoms with medication or some diversion.
Celebrate each small victory along the way and be glad and grateful for each day of your life. At Sprouting Health we love helping you create your best life possible!
Academic performance, is it influenced by good balance in our children?
In a day and age when our lives have been consumed by more and more technology, have we left an important aid in learning lying dormant as an afterthought and not given it enough credit?
Recent research indicates we should be encouraging exercises that challenge postural stability in our young children, especially in combined nature. Our brain shares elements of sensory and movement origins related to cognition and therefore overlapping brain networks may influence pre-adolescent children’s learning (1). To simplify - this means that movement and sensation hugely affects our learning.
Although requiring more research, it has been suggested that promoting sustained moderate level physical activity and cardio respiratory fitness alongside games and exercises (which challenge our dynamic postural stability system) is well supported for primary school children and ongoing learning enhancement (2-4). Therefore use your balance and move in challenging ways to maximize your learning ability.
At Sprouting Health we are big advocates for engaging in continued physical activity and movement activities that challenge your balance system. We assess and support people in making sure their body is functioning at the most optimum level possible to achieve this in an ongoing basis in these areas.
Is chiropractic care safe?
While those without experience can say that adjustments may sometimes look a bit scary, chiropractors are using skill (not force or strength) to deliver highly specific adjustments as needed. As well as these adjustments, other various types of manual therapy and low force interventions may be used where appropriate. Chiropractic care has a very low risk of injury, especially when compared with more invasive methods of spinal healthcare. We like to gently “unwind” you here at Sprouting Health, not force things into place.
What IS a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the application of a specific force in a precise direction, applied skilfully to a spinal joint that is fixated/restricted, “locked up”, or not moving as it should. This can help improve or restore motion to the joint, helping the spine to gradually regain more normal motion and function.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the chiropractor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow, constant or indirect pressure. Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility and decrease pain.
At Sprouting Health, we use a variety of assessment methods to identify where you need to be adjusted and the best modality of doing so, tailored specifically for your body.
Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?
While brief discomfort after an adjustment can occur, it is rare and most people find having an adjustment very relaxing.
With some adjustments you may sometimes feel or hear a popping sound from the spinal joints. This is simply caused by a change in pressure in the joint as spinal movement is improved - the noise is similar to when you click your tongue off the roof of your mouth.
Some chiropractors use a hand-held instrument to adjust the spine while others use wedges or blocks to help realign part of the body. Whatever the technique, chiropractors use skill, not force or strength, to care for people with a high degree of safety compared to other modalities.
Am I too old/young/injured/etc for chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is not a ‘one size fits all’ healthcare option. Chiropractors carefully assess each patient individually and tailor their care accordingly. By using a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy, and soft tissue techniques, chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to spinal healthcare.
There is no age limit on chiropractic care, in fact more and more people are consulting chiropractors, especially in their later years. In order to deliver the safest, most effective and highest quality care possible, chiropractic techniques are modified appropriately for each person at every age and stage of life.
Here at Sprouting Health, we perform thorough examinations to ensure we are providing you with the best treatment for your body and your complaints. If you have any questions, just ask!
How are chiropractors qualified and regulated?
Australian chiropractors are highly qualified healthcare professionals who study at university for a minimum of five years and are government regulated and registered. Like all other registered healthcare providers, chiropractors adhere to National Law and profession specific codes of conduct and guidelines.
At Sprouting Health, we never stop training and working to improve our clinical skills. All chiropractors must undertake continuing professional development every year to maintain registration, constantly learning and staying current with the latest research so that we are able to provide you with the best care possible.
Hawk, C., Schneider, M. J., Haas, M., Katz, P., Dougherty, P., Gleberzon, B., Killinger, L. Z., & Weeks, J. (2017). Best Practices for Chiropractic Care for Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Consensus Update. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 40(4), 217–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.02.001
Herzog W. (2010). The biomechanics of spinal manipulation. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 14(3), 280–286. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.03.004
2 Seconds to Check If You Have a Flat Foot!
Let’s look into what our feet do for us and how important they are to us. Flat foot in our society might be more prevalent than you think! Combining different study findings, the percentage of flat foot seen in children aged 2-6 is 21%-57% and up to 14% in adult populations.(1) The feet and ankle are important to support our daily activities. What could happen if you are putting extra stress into your lower limb joints every step when we walk or do exercise?
As its name suggests, flat foot is a collapsed foot arch when our foot touches the ground (stance phase) in gait. We can imagine the middle rock taken out from an arch bridge and it collapses. In most flat foot sufferers, one of our bone’s called the talus in our mid-foot is found to be shifted forward. This becomes mobile and unlocks the foot arch.(2) Studies have shown that people suffering from flat feet can expect to see excessive foot pronation (rolling in), knee rolling inwards, internal rotation of hip and compensatory back problems.(3) That is one reason why some people get pain in their heel, get tired quicker on their feet when shopping or walking. Another study found other comorbidities such as male gender, BMI, office worker, bunion, calluses and arthritis in flat foot sufferers.(4)
It is very easy to identify a flat foot! If you can fit one to one and a half fingers underneath your foot arch, you are not a flat foot sufferer! If you could not fit two fingers in your foot arch, it is a good idea to see a podiatrist, as well as a musculoskeletal professional to check out your potential lower limb and back compensatory change!
If you or your love ones failed the test, speak to our chiropractors in Sprouting Health and see how we can help manage your issues!
Over the last few years, there have been many that have questioned whether chiropractic care is safe and effective for kids. Have you ever wondered about this question? Do infants and kids benefit from a chiropractic check-up and care? This is an important article that could give you a bit of an insight.
“Infants are common users of chiropractic care” (1-3)
Lots of infants see Chiropractors every year, is it because of medical referrals? Or is it because of word of mouth referrals? With most common spinal issues, there is evidence that chiropractic may help maintain and manage those problems. How about care for infants? There are scientific papers that favour Chiropractic care for infants, but like all research there needs to be more to create a greater scientific/medical consensus. However, perhaps one group of critics are usually forgotten among these discussions, the ones who knows the infants’ best; their mothers.
In a recent research literature, reports by mothers of their infants’ conditions before and after a trial of chiropractic care was looked at. It was reported that on average, mothers reported that chiropractic care for their infants was effective, safe and cost-effective. So on average the changes observed in their infants were positive and may be clinically relevant, though more research needs to be done to have a bigger study size as only 1092 mothers completed follow up forms. (4)
If you want to find out if chiropractic may support you or your loved ones’ infant, chat with one of our chiropractors to see if they can assist.
“With so much changes within the early stages of life, it’s important to make sure that everything is functioning well to assist them with their development process!”
(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) 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, 42(3), pp.167-176.
While we have talked about the importance of gut health before, we keep coming back to it because it can have such a profound impact on your health. Not just for your digestion, but also for your physical and mental wellbeing. (1-4)
How is it that addressing my gut health can help my wellbeing, you ask? Well the answer to this is not as simple as we would like, so let’s talk about a couple of potential issues.
Ultimately, we are looking at the relationship between our gut and our brain, this is known as the gut-brain-axis. Your gut is involved in the production of serotonin, one of your feel-good hormones and is a precursor for melatonin. (1) It has connections with your immune system as well as a huge connection with our nervous system through the vagus nerve. (3) These can affect your brains ability to regulate mood signalling, emotional regulation, and even our sensitivity to stress. (1-4)
The gut-brain-axis is heavily influenced by the flora and microorganisms, microbiome, living in your gut. (4, 5) There is a delicate balance in play here between all the different microorganisms, and research has shown that these are out of balance in some patients with depression. Things like antibiotics, pathogens and foods have been shown to impact and change the delicate balance of the microbiome. In fact, research has also shown that gut infections can cause anxiety. (4-8)
Conditions such as depression and anxiety are multifactorial, and as such it is best to get to the root cause(s) for the best possible outcomes. Addressing gut health is an important step for a lot of people, but not everyone is going to have all their symptoms resolve completely through healing the gut alone. This is why we at sprouting health treat holistically and refer to appropriate services where necessary.
Deformational plagiocephaly or also known as positional plagiocephaly is a common disorder that can affect infants and children. Head asymmetry is seen when the bone on the back of the head or the occipital bone is seen to be visibly flattened on one side.
Phagiocephaly can be caused by a range of underlying conditions including cervical spine joint dysfunction, infections, congenital conditions, neuromuscular conditions, trauma and genetic syndromes.
Abnormal motion of the occiput and upper cervical vertebra was reported in 90% of children with plagiocephaly and a significant correlation was found between side of asymmetry and upper neck cervical spine joint dysfunction (Sergueef, Nelson, & Glonek, 2006).
A range of studies are now showing that deformational plagiocephaly is more than a “cosmetic” issue and has been associated with a range neurodevelopmental delays in infants to school aged children affecting the visual system, auditory system, motor development and cognitive development.
Chiropractic management of deformational plagiocephaly has been associated with management of normal head symmetry (Davies, 2002), although more research is always needed. Chiropractic treatment of cervical spine joint dysfunction is also important in restoring normal afferentation (sensory information) from the cervical spinal musculature, joints and other soft tissues that then may assist in improving long-term outcomes in gross and fine motor, cognitive and language development and proprioception (Palmgren, Sandström, Lundqvist, & Heikkilä, 2006) (Haavik & Murphy, 2012).
Helmet therapy can assist cosmetic appearance in more severe cases of phagiocephaly from 6-7 months of age onwards and appear to produce faster correction than positional management alone. However the use of helmet therapy has been shown by a number of studies not to improve the neurodevelopmental outcomes. (Miller & Clarren, 2000) (Steinbok, Lam, Singh, Mortenson, & Singhal, 2007).
Early intervention has been associated with reduced treatment duration and improved cosmetic and neurodevelopmental outcomes (van Vlimmeren, et al., 2008) (Cabrera-Martos I. , et al., 2016). At Sprouting Health, infants with head asymmetry are comprehensively examined to determine the severity and likely cause of the phagiocephaly which allows us to determine the need for co-management with appropriate health professionals on a case-by-case basis to achieve the best results possible.