Better Spinal Health = Better School Year

Wow who can believe its’s nearly September already?  Where did that summer go? I loved having the kids at home over the last couple of months and despite the inclement weather we had a great time.  We took it easy nice and relaxed with a few trips to the West thrown in.


But school is soon starting again and families just like ours are gearing up for busy schedules, homework, after school activities and the hectic pace of our 21st century lifestyles. To ensure that your child has a healthier, more successful year, it is important to have their back aligned, balanced and on track.


Every activity affects the spine and nervous system. Hurling, football and rugby, playing an instrument, sitting, studying, and paying attention in class are all important for a successful school year. They all require a healthy spine and nervous system. When your child is sitting in class listening to a teacher, they listen through their ears, process the information in their brain, and a signal is sent down their spine to their fingers so that they can write their notes which they will later study. If a child is playing an instrument, the instructor often tells them to sit up straight. They know that a healthy spine with good alignment and nerve supply is essential to performance in the classroom and activities. What the research now shows us is that the brain is hardwired so that actually movement and learning go together. We know that the brain is hard wired in such a way that children have to move first before they are ready to learn.  There is actually a chemical released in the bloodstream at the brain level called brain drive neurotrophic  factor or BDNF for short. This is the fertiliser for the brain it causes those neurons to grow. It is released through movement and exercise.  So it is a good idea to get your children up and moving before they head to school.


When we watch our kids participating in sports such as GAA, martial arts and gymnastics or fall from their bikes, we often cringe at the intense beating their body and spines take. Keeping their spine and nervous system aligned and balanced is crucial for them to be able to enjoy a healthy and successful year and have a healthy spine for a lifetime.


In Cork 1,200 children had to be treated for sports injuries over six months. Every 2.5 minutes a child is injured on a playground. One study carried out at Waterford Regional Hospital over a six-month, period in 2005 found injuries to 88 children that needed orthopaedic specialist treatment after playing on a trampoline. These injuries are often accompanied by trauma to the child’s developing spine and nervous system.


Backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can injure your child’s back, neck and shoulders, which can lead to other health problems.


Kids can injure their spine but remain symptom free until later on in life when the damage becomes more permanent. This can be avoided with regular chiropractic care.


British medical researchers have found through MRI technology that nearly 10% of children show signs of disc degeneration before reaching puberty.


Disc degeneration is a condition in which a damaged spinal disc wears down unevenly causing pressure on the nerves and limiting activity levels, stamina, and quality of life as we age. We tend to think of disc degeneration as a sign that we are getting older but this is not true. It is a sign that the spine has been injured which can happen at any age.


Heavy backpacks, playground and sports injuries can cause non-structural or functional scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine that typically appears in early adolescence. This type of scoliosis develops as a result of misalignment and pressure on the spine and nervous system. Functional scoliosis often can be corrected by addressing the underlying condition through chiropractic care.


As you make your Back to School list (I have an extremely long one this year as we have one starting school and one starting Montessori), remember to make an appointment for a Spinal Exam. This simple examination can determine if your child’s spine is on track or off track. Chiropractic care can keep your child’s spine and nervous system healthy and ensure your best school year ever. Get them started on the right track today!


Check out my video blog where I tell you the 5 things we do each day in our house before we let our children leave for school.


See you soon.


In health


Dr Ellen

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