Pregnancy and Pediatric Chiropractor Blog


Should Chiropractors be in the Delivery Room?

Posted by on 2:30 am in Medicine, Pregnancy, Proactive Wellness, Subluxation | 0 comments

I think about my role in birth a lot. I daydream of the day when chiropractors are not only part of the regular prenatal care, but also there on the Labor & Delivery floor to assist the midwives and birth providers.  I’ve gotten that call a few times from the midwives, the last-ditch effort before she transfers to the hospital for the birth that team wanted to avoid.  I even went through that with the birth of our son.  I can tell you it isn’t a 100% solution, but if a laboring mom is heading north of 12 hours an adjustment is always worth a try. As chiropractors we face some pretty obvious challenges: Hospital privileges aren’t just handed out, which is a fact true for all health professionals. For instance our family practice medical doctor couldn’t attend our son’s first moments because, even as an M.D., he didn’t have privileges at our hospital.  I was in talks with one administrator about partnering with their Wellness Center and was reminded during a phone call to screen my qualifications of exactly how deep the bias against alternative health care providers runs.  Those that do accept that chiropractors are licensed professionals are fine as long as we stay in the Orthopedic or Physical Rehabilitation arena.  My suspicion is that it’s our own fault as a profession because the low hanging fruit of the research tree, treating back pain, is where we have told them we belong. I don’t really see the politics of medicine as an insurmountable hurdle.  At the end of every conversation I’ve had with a medical provider, he or she understands what I do and recognizes I don’t have two heads and a tail; I’m here to help our patients, and I do so by providing conservative care.  The biggest obstacles I see are actually within our own culture as a profession.  First, we’d have to wrap our heads around either an on-call system or a position like one local hospital has with 24-7 OB hospitalists on staff in case of emergency.  One of the things that’s always stood out to me about top-notch midwives is the feeling I get that they live for that middle-of-the-night phone call telling them a baby is on its way.  In college I worked the swing shift when most of the world was asleep, and let me tell you it took me a lot of coffee to be as cheery as my midwife was at 3 am. The other cultural hurdle is trying to fit chiropractic services into the existing medical model of care. As I mentioned the world recognizes chiropractic is good for back pain, and midwives have translated that into sharing our theory that it’s possibly useful for back labor as well.  One of the biggest questions is how we would bill and code for those services during a delivery.  The computers at Blue Cross are likely going to pick up a chiropractic adjustment code in the middle of a list of pregnancy and birth codes and reject it as a typo.  This means reconciling for insurance companies that the services we’re providing aren’t just about lumbalgia relief. It would also mean a demonstration to Medicaid, who pays for half of all births nationwide, that our services make birth more...

read more

The Third Nervous System Part 2: Crying It Out and Your Baby’s Brain

Posted by on 3:04 pm in Child Development, Children, Colicky Babies, Infants, Lifestyle, Newborn, Pediatric Chiropractic, Stress Management, Subluxation | 0 comments

Imagine you’re hanging out by a riverbank with some co-gatherers a couple million years ago, looking for some fish, and you hear a low and menacing growl behind you.  To your right the net-mender’s little baby has dropped her straw doll into the water and starts crying.  You look over your shoulder and emerging from the distant cypress grove is the hairiest, toothiest, meanest-looking beast you’ve ever seen.  He glistens with drool in anticipation of making you his dinner. This is a stressful situation.  On one hand, it would make complete, logical sense to toss the beast an appetizer in the form of a screaming baby and make your get-away.  If you think purely about the common sense of it, that would be the best route to self-preservation.  Yet everyone reading this is thinking “You have to pick that baby up!”  It’s funny when you think about it; not all mammals do that.  Baby horses are born and can fairly immediately run from danger.  Eight horses won the Kentucky Derby before their third birthday.  Your toddler may be fast, but I’m pretty sure he’s not going to beat Usain Bolt in anything but a diaper soiling contest. Yet here we are as a species doing something that is completely illogical, running with a mini “I’m hiding over here!” sign, in the hopes that this turns out well.  Thanks, frontal cortex!  The frontal cortex and other relationship centers in the brain have evolved not for your benefit, but for that baby’s.  We wouldn’t have gotten very far as a species if it weren’t for a couple of rather amazing developments.  For one, the round shape of a baby’s head, face, and disproportionate size of their eyes with the rest of the face is something we find absolutely adorable. Second, and this is something I teach to all of my new parents, babies have developed a set of sounds that tell their caretakers exactly what they need.  Like Cam Jansen had a photographic memory that helped her solve mysteries, Priscilla Dunstan has a echoic memory where she has perfect recall of sounds.  Priscilla has used her talent for good; she’s been a violinist in several world-renowned orchestras.  When her son was born she noticed he kept making the same five noises before he’d start to cry.  When she went out with her new “mom” ears, she started noticing every other baby made essentially the same sounds regardless of language or ethnic background.  Brown University researchers came to Australia to test out what she was claiming and credited her with discovering pre-cry; that is, the noises were indeed predictable expressions of need that when left unmet would lead to crying. Here is Priscilla telling her story to Oprah a few years ago. So now we have evidence of structural and behavioral adaptations that let an adult know when an infant has a stress response.  These come packaged with a baby for a reason.  In the earlier blog on The Third Nervous System, I explained the progression of brain waves from a delta (subconscious) pattern in our first year of life to alpha (creativity) and eventually beta (rational thought). In basic terms a baby has a brain wave pattern that scientists have designated as the subconscious mind.  All of the keys to survival are...

read more

SWFL Primary Cesarean Rate 1 in 5

Posted by on 4:07 am in Pregnancy, Proactive Wellness | 0 comments

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration publishes a resource guide called Florida Health Finder.  The researchers tabulated the diagnostic codes and services performed for births at every Florida hospital from 2000-2014.  Using this data for the first time we’ve been able to calculate both the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) success rate and the primary cesarean rate for our local hospitals.  The primary cesarean rate includes both first time mothers and mothers who have delivered their previous children vaginally.  I analyzed the data since 2010, when the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement declaring their support of VBAC. See the 2010-2014 SWFL regional data here. Considering the national VBAC rate is 10%, Lee County’s 2.2% (2.4% when you include NCH and Bayfront) VBAC rate bothered me.  However, it didn’t disturb me as much as calculating the primary c-section rate.  People hint that the reason for the near 40% total c-section rate in Lee County hospitals is because doctors have to do so many repeat surgical births, and the reason for a high repeat rate is because of there are so many poor, substance abusing, or obese patients who don’t care about how their babies are born.  What I discovered is the numbers tell a different story.  Over half of the surgical deliveries in 2014 at Cape Coral Hospital (53.9%), HealthPark Medical Center (52.2%), and NCH (52.2%) were first time cesareans.  I charted these primary cesarean numbers out and compared them to the total births at all of our region’s hospitals.  What I found surprised me.  C-sections weren’t something that happened on the rare occasion of emergency; the Lee County primary c-section rate in 2014 was 19.6%.  When NCH numbers are added in, it raised half a percent to 20.1%.  By adding Bayfront’s good year, a hospital that has a fairly up and down variance since 2010, the SWFL primary rate returns back to 19.8%.  That means instead of 1 in 10 women facing emergency surgery, 1 in 5 local women are.  Something’s wrong with this picture. Watch:  How are you preparing for your natural birth? I’m not anti-c-section.  After a 47 hour labor, we were pretty thankful for the surgical team that delivered my son (in the banner picture above).  The procedure can save lives.  For context over 30 years ago the World Health Organization suggested 10-15% of surgical births are necessary.  However Gulf Coast Hospital, where the lion’s share of the region’s “poor, drug abusing, and unhealthy” women supposedly birth, was the only one of the seven local hospitals that fell within that range.  Quite contrary to what I’d been lead to believe, they’ve fallen within the WHO guidelines annually since 2010, despite seeing more births every year than Cape Coral Hospital.  A key to their consistently low rate may be their reliance on the nurse-midwifery model as an underserved hospital and the story that they have the highest number of “OB misses,” where the mother delivers before the doctor can attend the birth. If there is good news in this prettiest gremlin contest, it’s that primary c-section rates at Cape Hospital have fallen from a staggering 27.9% in 2011.  That was the highest rate of all the active hospitals I charted.  Physician’s Regional in Naples topped them by a percent that year, but...

read more

Reviewing “Vaxxed”: Beyond the Wakefield Drama

Posted by on 4:41 pm in childhood illness, Lifestyle, News, Vaccines | 0 comments

Reviewing “Vaxxed”: Beyond the Wakefield Drama

I closed the office early because we had a 90 minute drive ahead of us.  Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe is screening in Sarasota to our north, and this is the closest our region of Florida will come to seeing it.  My wife and I loaded up our 5 month old son to meet her sister, who was driving down from Tampa, to see the film.  That meant thanks to a busy day I’d had a juice for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and one and a half granola bars for dinner by the time we arrived in a line that spanned the entire lobby of the Regal Theaters’ Hollywood 20 cineplex.  Our gluten free, dairy free option for food consisted of a large popcorn and pop to share among the 3 of us.  Good thing we weren’t attending a film on GMO’s.  Fortunately for him, the baby carries his food supply around with him (or is that the other way around?) so at least he was a happy camper. I knew going into it what Vaxxed was about.  Andrew Wakefield had screened the primary points at the ICPA’s Freedom for Family Wellness Summit in 2014.  It was frustrating to see the national media and medical social media discussing a film they obviously hadn’t seen as worthless because of Wakefield.  Frustrating because of the irony.  Here were critics calling the director a fraud because the CDC and countless studies had “proven” so, and yet the film is about the fraud committed at the CDC to cover up the age-associated correlation between certain combination vaccines and neurological injury. Del Bigtree, former producer of The Doctors,  did the updated film a great service.  He made it emotional, he knew how to both touch a viewer’s heartstrings and fire up their vitrol.  I unsuccessfully fought tears twice: Once during a mother’s interview about the life her son will never have, and the second time in frustration because I knew the paucity of services in our area to help those with moderate to severe autism as they become adults.  I’m either the first to recognize an issue or the last stop for parents who have no idea what else to do.  It breaks my heart every single time.  I wasn’t alone.  At the Q&A afterwards when the audience was asked if they were moved by the film, every hand in the sold out theater went up. Watch the full Q&A on the Autism Media Channel’s Periscope. The basic premise of the film is this:  Dr. Brian Hooker, an autism researcher and father of a young man with autism, had badgered the CDC for years about vaccination safety data to the point where they sent him a warning to stop before they took legal action.  Years later Dr. William Thompson, one of five authors of the CDC’s report denying a connection between MMR and autism, contacted Hooker and gave him a breadcrumb trail that lead him to data buried and/or destroyed by his group because it demonstrated a strong correlation between African-American boys, the timing of the MMR vaccine, and the future diagnosis of isolated autism.  Isolated autism was defined as a case where no pre-existing conditions or co-morbidities were found; in other words, the toddlers weren’t sick, were developing neurotypically, there was no family...

read more

Colicky baby starts pooping

Posted by on 3:30 am in Colicky Babies, Constipation, Infants, Newborn, Pediatric Chiropractic, Probiotics, Subluxation | 0 comments

“Breastfed babies use all of their mom’s milk, so they don’t poop as much.”  It’s one of the most well-intentioned myths I think we tell mothers.  This was likely started to assure breastfeeding moms that they were on the right track, but it really doesn’t pass the common sense test.  YES, breastmilk is as perfect as a food as it gets for babies.  But all of the breastfed babies in my office that are moving their bowels at least once a day are not making poop out of thin air.  If a baby isn’t making #2 at least every other day, we have a problem. Little Adam, 2 months old, was his mother’s 3rd cesarean birth and things were pretty uneventful for the first 3 weeks of life.  His latch was good, but progressively he seemed restless at night.  Eventually the fussy periods increased, Adam became gassy and generally seemed uncomfortable.  His mother tried homeopathics and gas relief drops but the symptoms really didn’t change.  The pediatrician had determined Adam had colic, and as many parents have been told “He’d grow out of it.”  Adam’s mom told me she didn’t want to wait 2 months to see if he was right.  By the time he was brought to my office it had been a week since her baby had a bowel movement. During our initial assessment my major concern was that a few of the hard wired primitive reflexes weren’t firing right.  These responses are measurements of the health of the neurons located in the brainstem, and it’s fairly common for newborns in my office who have had a difficult delivery to suffer microtrauma to these upper neck areas.  Adam’s head had been engaged and ready for birth when the doctor performed the surgery, and from the asymmetrical misshaping of his cranium it was pretty reasonable to presume the OB had to do some significant maneuvering to pull him out of the lower pelvis.  This unavoidable traction force during a surgical birth is the #1 reason I recommend all c-section babies at least get checked by a pediatric chiropractor. By the end of the exam I explained to Adam’s mom that there were four possibilities for why his body was responding with these symptoms.  First, if the direct lines of communication between the brain and the intestines have static in the channel, the organs can’t do what they’re supposed to do.  Adam had a subluxation at the 2nd lumbar vertebra, which is one of the exits for a plexus of nerves that relay information to the intestines.   Second, Adam had subluxations at his occiput where the skull meets the top vertebra and at his sacrum, or tailbone.  The neurons that exit through here help balance the fight or flight system that pull nerve information and blood flow away from the organs.  The front part of our brains help suppress that fight or flight system, and Adam’s was showing evidence that it wasn’t fully switched on yet.  That meant that inside he was physiologically running from a bear, so digesting his food was the last thing on his mind.  The majority of the cases I see resolve by addressing the direct subluxation or the autonomic nerve system imbalance; however I told Adam’s mom that we would explore probiotics in a...

read more

Breech Pregnancy Case Study

Posted by on 4:53 pm in Pregnancy, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Spear and Alcantara authored a case study discussing a mother at 35 weeks who came in with right hip pain and her baby in a frank breech presentation.  Her previous birth sounds like it was pretty tough; the baby was born at 37 weeks, her OB ruptured the membranes, she was given pitocin to instigate contractions and an epidural for pain, and the baby came out OP (or “sunny side up”).  Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t much evidence that epidurals help a mom with an OP baby “relax” the baby into a better position.  OP deliveries are difficult- they tend to make labor longer and when epidurals are involved OP babies tend to stay that way.  I’m sure the mom in this case was thinking “Here we go again…” Generally in the chiropractic literature and in my clinical experience with the Webster Technique it seems that most babies in a transverse or breech position will go head down between 3-8 visits.  I had a case last week, a mother of 6 with a baby that seemed to be all over the place, that went from breech when we started to confirmed head down by the midwife after 4 visits.  The chiropractor in this case report wrote the mom felt her baby went vertex after the first adjustment.  This was confirmed after 2 more visits, and she delivered her baby vaginally.  I’m still waiting on mine to birth, her estimated date is next week. The Chiropractic Care of a Pregnant Patient Presenting with a Breech Pregnancy...

read more

The Worst Thing to Happen to the Chiropractic Profession

Posted by on 12:42 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maybe I’m an elitist.  I think the worst thing that has happened to my profession is that it helped low back pain.  It was the low hanging fruit of research, the thing our profession could point to and ask third party payers to reimburse us because what we did worked.  The truth is that chiropractic has nothing to do with helping back pain; it’s almost a happy side effect of restoring balance in the body.  But if you pick up any given ad for a chiropractic clinic what do you see?  “Neck Pain!  Back Pain! Headaches! Whiplash!”  No wonder people look at me funny when I say 90% of my practice is pregnant or nursing moms and kids under 4. I think the OBs I work with accept that I’m helping their patients with back and pelvic pain, because that’s who they refer my way.  The local lactation consultants and pediatric dentists have seen stronger latches after the mom or baby are adjusted.  I’m slowly starting to see a larger percentage of moms come in that are asking me for wellness care either for their pregnancy or their kids.  Those people come in on Day One and “get” it.  I see golden light and hear angels sing when those people walk into my office.  You want to see a chiropractor get all tingly inside?  Say “I’m here for wellness.”  It’s taken me several years of doing talks locally, holding Pathways meetings and sharing the chiropractic story on Facebook to start hitting this point in my community.  I finally figured out I can harness the power of the internet to teach people what I really do.  I decided to answer the questions I eventually never want to hear again: Why do a lot of chiropractors seem so anti-drug, anti-vaccine, and anti-medicine? My kid fell off the couch an hour ago but he’s not crying anymore.  He’s okay, right? Is there a problem if I still breastfeed/co-sleep/wear my baby into toddler-hood? Where are all these messed up kids coming from? Why would you let a chiropractor crack your baby’s neck? I present a Journey to Truth Island.  Enjoy!...

read more

What are the health benefits of meditation?

Posted by on 4:48 pm in Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Proactive Wellness | 0 comments

What are the health benefits of meditation?

Here’s a great blog from our friends at Mindful Life Academy,  a holistic wellness center in Bonita Springs focused on fitness, meditation and whole life wellness coaching. We asked one of their owners, Cara Corr, to give us some insight on the major health benefits in meditation: ————————– According to the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, the definition of meditation is composed of two complementary elements: the placement of one’s attention on the immediate experience, and adopting an open, curious, and accepting attitude toward that experience. Can such a simple concept really be the solution to so many chronic health problems?  Absolutely! What Buddhist monks have known for thousands of years is finally being substantiated by scientific evidence. For over 20 years, study after study has proven that excess stress has a detrimental effect on the body’s ability to fight disease. When we stop to examine the typical American lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why 60 to 80 percent of all physician visits are for stress-related complaints. An average American wakes up to an alarm clock, jumps out of bed to shout at his kids to hurry up, rushes to work, hurries home, runs to the grocery store and pops a frozen pizza in the oven, then collapses in exhaustion to waste a night in front of a digital screen, just so he can do it all again the next day. What meditation studies have found in recent years is that when we take as little as 10 minutes out of our day to incorporate meditation into our daily lives, we are likely to reap the rewards in the form of reduced blood pressure, improved immune function, pain reduction, improved ability to focus and our general sense of well-being. The proof is in the practice! In July of 2003, a study spearheaded by Richard Davidson, PhD, Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin appeared in the medical journal, Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr. Davidson and his group of research scientists set out to understand how meditation affects us biologically by offering free meditation classes to employees of a biotech company. Researchers found that in as little as eight weeks, participants reported reduced anxiety levels and improved mood. One of the most interesting results of the study however was completely unexpected. At the end of the eight week period, both the group of meditating participants and the control group were immunized for influenza. Researchers drew blood to measure the level of antibodies present in both the meditators and non-meditators prior to receiving the vaccination and then again four and eight weeks after vaccination. Remarkably, the meditating group had significantly increased antibody production after four weeks compared to the control group and their antibody count was even higher at the eight week blood draw! The group that participated in the meditation classes not only reported improved mood and reduced anxiety, they quite literally became healthier and better able to fight off infection. Why it works Now that you understand how meditation is helpful in boosting health and immunity, allow me to explain why it does this.  Learning how to clear your mind and focus on the breath shuts out all the nagging thoughts in your mind.  In meditation we learn to keep our focus on only what is happening in this moment,...

read more

Part I: 6 Principles for Whole Life Wellness

Posted by on 3:00 pm in Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Proactive Wellness | 0 comments

Part I: 6 Principles for Whole Life Wellness

Resoundingly, one of the biggest comments I get from my patients that start chiropractic care with me is how differently they look at healthcare and their life once they start care. In today’s society of reactive medicine, we don’t realize how much power we have over our bodies and how much our everyday life impacts our health. While we’ve taken time to explore some of the stressors that can cause subluxation, we haven’t taken much time to explore what other proactive measures we can take to ensure lifelong health and immunity. Here are my six principles for whole life wellness: To Experience Whole Life Wellness, Eat Real Food. “The food that you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” -Ann Wigmore Food is fuel. In an age of no-calorie fad diets, we’re moving further away from the understanding that whole foods are what the body really needs to thrive. Here’s a basic rule: The less processed a food item is and the closer it is to its natural form, the better it is for your body.  A simple way to move to a healthier lifestyle is to eliminate refined sugar and shop on the perimeter of the grocery store where meats, vegetables and fruits are found. The healthier the sources of protein and vitamins we get into our systems, the better our bodies will perform. These foods are the foods that our bodies can most easily break down, the foods that provide us with the most nutrition and give us the most energy. Check out a great Pathways article on the 3 most important food categories to learn more. To Experience Whole Life Wellness, Learn Something New Every Day “What we learn becomes a part of who we are.” –Unknown Our mind is a muscle with unlimited potential. The more that we learn about things outside our profession or hobbies, the more we flex that muscle and expand our horizons. Knowledge allows us to adapt, gives us a range of perspectives, feeds innovation and builds character and confidence. Going beyond the abstract, though, learning changes our brains at the cellular level. Learning helps our brains form new connections between neurons. What’s the benefit here? According to an article from SocietyforChange.org: “As we learn something new, cells that send and receive information about the task become more and more efficient. It takes less effort for them to signal the next cell about what’s going on. In a sense, the neurons become wired together.”  Neurons that fire together, wire together. When our minds become more efficient, our energy can be used more efficiently. We’ll feel less exhausted at the end of a work day, allowing us to avoid common emotional stressors that cause subluxation.  To Experience Whole Life Wellness, Rest “Physical stillness leads to inner stillness.” –Unknown In a society that is constantly on the go, anxiety is at its highest. According to Psychology Today, 49% of  the general population has a history of anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some mixture of all three. Anxiety disorders are linked to gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic disorders, hypertension, cardiac problems and more. When our schedules are filled to the brim and downtime consists of surfing social media and deleting e-mails, we can’t get the rest...

read more

Pathways eNewsletter: All Your Health Solutions – Simply Put (Robert Berube)

Posted by on 2:14 pm in Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Pathways to Family Wellness, Proactive Wellness, Stress Management, Subluxation | 0 comments

Pathways eNewsletter: All Your Health Solutions – Simply Put (Robert Berube)

While we’ve talked about this before in my recent blog, I wanted to share this topic with you guys again with this most recent Pathways eNewsletter. The original article can be found at PathwaysofFamilyWellness.org:  All Your Health Solutions…As Simple as I Can Put It by Robert Berube, DC Let’s start with a major premise. Every decision we make, every action we take, comes from a premise (whether you are aware of the premise or not). A premise is a basic idea on which we draw conclusions. With health, there are two basic premises: Vitalism and Mechanism. Vitalism is the theory that the origin and phenomena of life are dependent on a force or principle distinct from purely chemical or physical forces. In other words, we are more than just the sum of our parts. If you recognize the existence of creative intelligence and respect the functions of this life force that cannot yet be explained by physical means, you are a vitalist. Mechanism is the theory that the origin and phenomena of life can be described by understanding the physical and chemical properties of the system. In other words, we are equal to the sum of our parts (like a machine). This is the system the current scientific and medical model bases its theories and practices upon. What Is Health? The next thing to understand is what “health” is. I see so many people that want more “health,” but have no idea what they are looking for, so they fall for every fad that promises to deliver more health to them. In simple terms, health describes your condition… or how well you are expressing life. If all of your parts are functioning at 100 percent, all the time, then we would say you are 100 percent healthy. Since we can only have the number of parts we have (we cannot add an arm at will), and “all the time” is a constant, then our health condition comes down to how well we are functioning. The better we function, the better our health. How Do We Lose Health? Stress is literally any force you encounter, and there is a universe full of forces out there. We categorize them as physical, chemical or psychological in nature. These forces smack into your molecules every moment of every day, and without the second factor, your knight in shining armor, they will break you down like waves breaking rocks into sand. Fortunately, unlike rocks, we have life, which resists and adapts to these universal forces, keeping us in active organization. If our “life force” encounters a stress it can use in the body, the stress has positive survival value. If the stress is harmful to the system, then it has negative survival value. The stress itself cannot determine if it is positive or negative. Only the individual life force can make that determination. So it is life vs. stress. When stress breaks you down faster than life can build you back up, then you lose function…and therefore, health. Your Health, Your Choice While we may not always feel like we have a choice in the matter, we actually have more than we think we do. We can choose what foods we put into our bodies, we can choose to move or be sedentary, and we...

read more