Is it a Good Idea to Watch and Wait?

Even in a pandemic, the ‘watch and wait’ approach to scoliosis is not advised

In these challenging times, it can be easy to forget to keep a complete check on our health. Sure, we are all trying to get enough exercise, keep check on our hearts and blood pressure, and look after our mental health… but what about your spinal health?

While not top of mind for many people, staying vigilant about any changes in our spines, including pain and any postural changes, is especially important.  Regular at-home checks of all family members can help with early detection of any spinal issues, which include scoliosis.

 

Especially for children who are at home from school, a change that might have been picked up by a teacher or sports coach might be overlooked by busy parents.

 

Have you noticed a change?

 

A change in your, or a loved one’s spine, may indicate the signs of a developing scoliosis. Visual changes like a visible curve, uneven shoulders or hips, or a prominent shoulder blade, particularly in growing children and adolescents, can all be warning signs.

 

It can be easy to downplay these changes. As we are urged to stay at home, we might prefer to think that they will resolve on their own, or be complacent with a promise to ‘get that checked when this is all over’.

 

Don’t watch and wait.

 

It’s been shown that ‘watch and wait’ is not a viable option in treating scoliosis. Ignoring a change in spine needs to be investigated and importantly, any delay seeking advice may mean symptoms develop further.

 

Particularly for growing children and adolescents, without assessment and management, the scoliosis is likely to progress over time and small curves have the potential to rapidly progress into larger curves. For older adults, seeking advice early about any postural changes or pain, can help to greatly enhance the quality of life and prevent pain and progression.

 

It’s also been shown that early detection and then early intervention leads to better patient outcomes including wider opportunities for treatment and access to a range of non-surgical scoliosis treatment options including modern 3D bracing and scoliosis specific exercise programs.

 

Luckily, even in these uncertain times, scoliosis care is essential and accessible. 

 

You may not have a scoliosis clinic near you physically open, or you might not be able to attend a clinic in person, however, TeleHealth consultations mean you can be in touch with a professional for assessment, advice, and support.

 

For now, and going forward, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep a check on your, and your family’s, spinal health
  • Check regularly for any signs of scoliosis, especially in children
  • If you notice a change, don’t watch and wait
  • Be proactive in seeking professional advice for assessment, treatment, and support

We are here to help, please don’t hesitate to contact us at http://www.avantchiro.com.

– Dr. Payne

 

The Baby Boom

Whenever I see a newborn – they poop.

Weird opening statement, eh? Please let me explain.

I have had the wonderful privilege of seeing many newborn babies. Some with obvious issues, and some just to have their spine checked.

Why would you want your child’s spine checked?

Research has demonstrated that a newborn can have issues in the top bones of the neck that can effect the infants’ nervous system; which can be directly related to the birthing process.

What seems as common medical assistance procedures, vacuum extraction and forceps, can exacerbate these issues. The way a baby has positioned itself in the womb also can have an effect on the spine.

Signs to look for are:

  • Difficulty for babies latching onto the breast to feed if breastfeeding
  • Baby turning their head to one side over another
  • Cranial or ‘head’ asymmetries
  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Visible uncomfortableness turning or placing babies head to one side
  • Even breathing arrhythmias

Checking and adjusting an infant is a very gentle process. Often times a baby poops afterwards because it relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system. This relaxation commonly causes them to pass gas, or poop. This is quite a common experience here at AVANT!

My question is, “Do you have a chiropractor as part of your baby’s wellness team?” Combined with other health care professionals, chiropractic care can make early parenting a most wonderful time!

– Dr. Payne, D.C.

Wherever you go, there you are.

It’s a little unusual for me to tell stories, but this thought came up and I wanted to share it. Hear me out on this, I promise there’s a good ending.

A Canadian couple goes on vacation to a beautiful island; it’s like paradise for them. They have done well in life, and are considering a change. The thought of moving to this island would be amazing.

One morning while they were walking along the beach they ran into a local, older gentleman. They asked him, “We are thinking of moving to this island from Canada because it’s so beautiful. Have you loved living here?”

The older gentleman replied back with a question, “Tell me what your community is like where you’re from in Canada?”

The couple answered, “OH, we have wonderful neighbours. The community is kind, and we really enjoyed raising our kids there!”

The older gentleman remarked, “Well, I am sure you will find the same thing here then.” And smiled.

The couple, elated with the response from the gentleman, skipped away contemplating the potential move – full of joy.

A few days later the older gentleman was faced by the same question from another couple. The older man responded the same way, “What is the community like where you are from?”

The second couple frowned, “Well honestly – we can’t wait to move. People are edgy, almost unkind. Neighbours yell at each other, it is at the point we don’t want to walk in the neighbourhood anymore.”

The older gentleman paused, “Hmmm, I am sorry to say that you will likely find the same thing here.”

The couple looked downcast, and walked away disappointed. 

Why did the older gentleman give two different answers to the same question? What did he know?

Wherever you go,  there you are. What you bring to your surroundings will make (or break) any experience.

I have reflected on this story in my own life, mostly pertaining to where I want to live. I enjoy cycling, back country skiing, and being outdoors in general. My family loves our home, but I had a feeling of dissatisfaction because I perceived the inability to engage in activities that give me joy. I thought, maybe we should move to BC, another part of town, or some kind of change in general.

On one of my dog walks with my wife, Heike, I was trying to explain these feelings. Heike was more silent, just listening to what I had to say. Then I had a moment of grace, a revelation really.

I said to her, “Actually, you have never stopped me from doing anything I had wanted to do; whether it be to ski, bike, compete in Ironman races, any of it.”

She said, “Nope.”

It was all my perception and conceived notions that were creating most of my internal conflict. Change is hard and unsettling. It is very worthwhile if it’s FOR something, and not just change for change sake.

The moral of the story is that wherever you go, you’re always bringing yourself! Until you work on the inside, the outside will never change. 

Dr. Payne

Bricks and Mortar Spine

I am sitting behind our building at 164 Metcalfe Street, watching masons build a stone column (pictured above). A beam will then support a second and third story above us. It is a beautiful piece of work that demonstrates patience, meticulous detail, and tremendous skill.

It will all be covered in dirt. All of that work and no one will be able to physically see it. 

Much like a support column – you can’t actually see your spine.

You can feel the effects of its structural function though.

Unless you know what your spinal problems are, you may never uncover the source of your health problems. Foundational structural problems show up as symptoms elsewhere. Here’s a building example: water in the basement causes cracks in the walls, or doors that don’t close properly anymore. These are symptomatic effects of something you can’t see. A body example would be: a concussion that you can’t visibly see the effects of, yet it can lead to chronic headaches, brain fog, and/or dizziness. The health of your nervous system relies on the structural integrity of your spine. 

If this seems confusing, let’s jump ship for a moment. Remember the story of the Titanic? It sunk because it hit an iceberg. Did you know? The majority of an iceberg is below the surface of the water. The minority (or tip) is what you see above water. Often times health problems are the tip of the iceberg; they are symptomatic from a causative issue underneath the surface, like the stone mason’s support column, or your spine.

There is a way to see the spine though. By taking appropriate x-rays, we can determine a cause for your back pain, or other health problems that could be associated. 

To re-cap then, the column is the structural work that supports a building, and the spine requires structural work to support your health. Sometimes the best and most important things are done sight unseen. 

Dr. Payne, D.C. 
Chiropractor, AVANT Chiropractic
drgreg@avantchiro.com 
613-801-2164