As a family practice, one of the most common struggles that we see our families go through is breaking the “cycle of sick”. We’ve especially seen this in the last year or so, now that families are gathering, live events are happening, sports are back in session, and life is somewhat resuming “back to normal”. There have even been some specific surges lately. The story is so common that we can almost predict it: one child gets sick at school, comes home and passes it to their brothers or sisters, then to mom and dad. Once the first kiddo is finally healthy again, someone else gets sick and the cycle continues. It may seem to many like it’s just bad luck, bad timing, wrong place at the wrong time, but there are things that can be done to help strengthen your body’s immune response and break that cycle of sick. If this story sounds at all familiar to you, or someone in your life, keep reading!
The story typically continues on with round after round of antibiotics and fever-suppressant drugs. If you’re like many, you may be thinking “there has to be a better way”. While those medications have their place and honestly save lives every day, it’s not always a long-term solution. To an extent, the symptoms that those medications are designed to eliminate just may be the exact thing that your body needs to fight and regain health. Often, it is better to work with the body than against it. Recognizing the intelligence that our body has is a great first step, and can empower you to make better decisions. Humans are very smart creatures, but we need to be humble and recognize that we can’t always out-smart our own bodies. They have been a long time in the making, after all…
The immune system is extremely complicated, and you may be wondering “what does a Chiropractor know about the immune system?”. While we certainly don’t know all of the intricate in’s and out’s of the immune system like an immunologist would, we offer a different perspective that you maybe don’t hear from other health professionals. While many health professionals focus on the “agent” (bacteria, virus, etc.), as a Chiropractor my primary focus is on the “host” (aka the human being). It is near impossible to control every variable out in the environment, but there are many variables within your own body that you can control and have an impact on. Many of those variables you have probably heard before: adequate sleep, regular exercise, a balanced diet, supplements (especially Vit D), etc. Those are all very helpful, but one of the most impactful factors on the immune system is managing stress.
It has long been known that prolonged states of stress negatively impact the immune system and can have detrimental effects on health in general. Recognizing that fact affords us the opportunity to address it and tackle the challenge that it presents.
While stress certainly affects adults in an obvious way, it affects children as well but often in a more subtle way. Stress in children manifests itself in a lot of different ways, but one of the most common ways is with immune challenges. That stress most often gets locked in to their nervous system early in life, usually because of some form of birth trauma. If that stress gets locked in early and doesn’t let go, it can wreak havoc on the entire body, but especially the nervous system. The nervous system is the body’s master controller, and determines how every other system functions. The immune system is not exempt from that, so it is vital that the nervous system is functioning optimally.
In our office we don’t just make assumptions about how much stress is affecting an adult or child’s body, we can actually measure it and quantify it using something called an Insight Scanner. The scans help us see how well the central and autonomic nervous system is functioning, and if it is locked in a state of stress. If the scans show that there is an amount of stress that is impacting you or your child’s health, we come up with a specific Chiropractic care plan to unwind that stress and help the nervous system (and therefore the immune system) function at a higher level. We repeat the scans periodically to be sure that we are impacting the nervous system, and not simply improving the symptoms.
With the rise in coughs and colds going around, we are happy to be here for you and support you in getting your family’s health back on track! Or if you are looking for an added tool in your arsenal to stay healthy, we can help with that too! Just keep reading, learning, and taking care of your family the best you can.
Dr. Michael Kehoe