We get it. You’re so tired of the coughing. So tired of the runny nose, boogers, + snot – how could all of THAT be inside your sweet child?!?! So tired of being tired, because, let’s face it – no one’s sleeping well at your house!
So why are they “stuck” in this cycle of sickness? Why does it seem like once they get bogged down with a cough it never seems to let up until spring? We have so many moms + dads share with us the same questions + concerns. We don’t share that for you to find comfort. We share that to provide HOPE!
How can we help them get “unstuck”? It’s important to have a good understanding of the neuro-immune system and how it works. When we talk about “kicking the sick”, it doesn’t mean we don’t get sick. In fact, our bodies are designed to get sick (or have an immune response). This is especially important for little ones!
Our neuro-immune system learns + develops when it’s exposed to germs. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. This is how our neuro-immune system works. Our little ones haven’t had much of a chance for it to fully develop. And while yes, it’s difficult to see our little ones miserable, it’s best to support the immune system rather than suppressing the symptoms.
It’s when we get “stuck” with chronic congestion, reoccurring ear infections, and sickness that we need to look at why. Why can some kids rebound from a cold much quicker? Why do some kids seem to never get sick while your child catches every cold?
2 Major Causes of Chronic Colds + Congestion
We often find two major contributors to this season of chronic colds + congestion. Typically, they go hand-in-hand. So when one develops, there’s a pretty good chance the other will as well.
1. Poor Plumbing
What does plumbing have to do with your child and their well-being?? A lot when it comes to congestion! Most ear infections, sinus infections, throat + chest illnesses develop + become more of a chronic situation due to poor plumbing. The mucus or congestion gets blocked + becomes stagnant.
Our bodies are amazing at hunting down germs, and capturing/trapping them through the build-up of mucus. Then, it needs to be able to move this fluid/congestion down + out of the body. Unfortunately, something interferes with the movement of that fluid, leaving it stuck in the head, neck, + chest region.
80-90% of these infections are viral. Unfortunately, antibiotics will be used too quickly and are useless when it comes to a viral infection. The bigger problem is they can’t differentiate between good + bad bacteria, and will wipe out the good bacteria in the gut – a huge part of your immune system. This potentially sets the child up for autoimmune challenges + a weakened immune system in the future.
2. Weakened Neuro-Immune System Function
A weakened Neuro-immune system leads to a pro-inflammatory system. So not only is it difficult for your child’s body to get rid of the fluid buildup, BUT it’s also easier for their little bodies to get angry + inflamed to viruses + bacteria along with other things like dairy, gluten, grains, etc.
This is what causes these kiddos to get “stuck” in this cycle of chronic illness. This can lead to a cycle of nebulizers, steroids, and antibiotics, further decreasing this Neuro-immune response.
How Does the Cycle Begin?
It all begins with something actually getting “stuck”. Most kiddos, when we dig into their histories, have some sort of event whether during pregnancy or delivery. We’ll find there was tension put onto their neck, skull, or upper back during the birth process. Perhaps they got “stuck” in the birth canal. Or there was intrauterine constraint and they were stuck in a transverse or breech position.
While these birth interventions are life-saving (my first was a c-section), they create A LOT of tension on the movement of the spine, muscles, + ligaments. When they can’t move, neither can the fluid in this area! And it’s movement that massages the fluid out of the head toward the lymphatic system in the neck for drainage (not to mention this same movement is what allows for PROPER BRAIN DEVELOPMENT!).
What’s really cool? This movement is what also calms the nervous system, which is ideal for a proper immune response. When the nervous system is calm, the immune system is strong. And vice versa, when the nervous system is stuck in a sympathetic state of stress, our immune response is a pro-inflammatory state, because it’s in what’s called a “fight or flight” response.
Chiropractic Care for the Win
This is EXACTLY why a chiropractic adjustment is so helpful in improving these 2 causes. Our specific + gentle adjustments focus on getting everything to move properly. Our first goal is to restore proper drainage. At the same time, movement calms the brain + nervous system, which boosts what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system, creating an anti-inflammatory immune response. The parasympathetic nervous system is heavily tied to the immune system + connected to the gut, which maintains normal gut motility, crucial for getting those germs out of the body.
How do we know if we can help? We figure that out on the first visit. We then review those findings with you, Mom + Dad, so you can see EXACTLY what’s going on plus what it will take to get your little one “unstuck” from this cycle of sickness.
“Kick the Sick” is REALLY about strengthening the immune response with things like chiropractic and lifestyle habits. The next time your child is exposed to a germ, they’re either not getting sick or kick it a lot faster because all the immune cells have developed from these past experiences. Their immune system is capable of creating a strong enough response to kick it and move on.
How to Best Support Your Child’s Developing Neuro-Immune System at Home
In addition to the care in our office, we always like to offer advice for families to help support their immune systems at home. Here are 5 tips to best support your kiddo’s developing immune system:
- Drink plenty of water – your body uses water for every process. The immune system is no exception. Keeping them hydrated will ensure their body has what it needs to create a proper immune response.
- Maintain a healthy diet – a diet rich in healthy fats, protein, veggies + fruit provides the proper nutrients the body uses to create the germ-fighting cells that seek + destroy these germs.
- Decrease sugar consumption – kids tend to love sugar, who doesn’t?? But germs love sugar, too! In fact, a lot of them thrive off of sugar. By starving the germs of sugar, they can’t continue to develop so their bodies will be able to fight them off quicker.
- Keep them warm – a fever is a natural response to kill off the germs. Just as you would boil water to kill any bacteria, the body does this same process through fever. Keeping your child well covered or running a warm bath may help speed up the healing time.
- Get enough rest – their bodies are using more energy to fight off these germs, so they’re going to need more rest. Create a bedtime routine that helps them slow down from their day and prepare for sleep.
These 5 tips would be beneficial to you as well, Mom/Dad. As a parent, the stress + worry of having a sick child can take its toll on you. Be sure to take care of yourself so you can continue to care for your loved one. As always, reach out to us with any questions or if we can help. It really does take a village.