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Chiropractic Care for Men Unlocking Strength

Chiropractic Care for Men: Unlocking Strength and Performance
by Dr. Sebastian Poma

At Core Therapies, we understand that our patient base is likely to consist of more women than men. It’s not because men experience fewer pain ailments, but rather because they often tend to wait it out, believing that the pain will disappear on its own. However, we want to emphasize the importance of addressing these issues sooner rather than later.

When it comes to acute low back pain, which is commonly experienced by men due to their demanding physical activities or strenuous work, it’s essential to recognize that strong backs don’t simply “blow out” without a significant injury. Instead, what often happens is that the structures in the back gradually tighten up over time, accumulating stress. This, in turn, leads to weakened core back muscles and the emergence of “fragile back” syndrome. The result? A seemingly minor movement like bending over to pick up a golf club or a child can suddenly trigger excruciating pain.

This is where specifically applied chiropractic adjustments come into play. Our chiropractors are skilled at realigning and mobilizing the tight joints, restoring proper movement and functionality. By addressing structural alignment and mobility, these adjustments enable the deep core muscles to engage and strengthen, providing the necessary support for the back.

Energy, agility, and endurance are crucial for most activities we engage in daily. However, misalignments in the body, impaired nerve function, and weak muscles can drain your energy and limit your performance. With chiropractic care, your body can regain its ability to focus its energy on the things you want and need to do. Even after just a few visits, many men report noticeable improvements in their energy levels and overall performance.

It’s important to recognize that prevention is key. Many men tend to adopt the mindset of “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, this often leads to delayed treatment when the problem could have been easily prevented. In fact, studies show that one-third of untreated lower back problems eventually escalate to become persistent and disabling. By seeking chiropractic care, you can take a proactive approach to your health and well-being.

At Core Therapies, our chiropractors will provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your condition before embarking on a mutually agreed-upon course of treatment. Our approach extends beyond pain relief. We develop a strategy to improve movement, prevent the recurrence of injuries, and promote healing and strengthening of the back.

Don’t let pain hold you back or wait until it becomes a chronic issue. Take charge of your health and schedule a consultation with our experienced chiropractors today. Let us help you regain your strength, energy, and overall well-being, so you can live life to its fullest potential.


by Dr. Melissa Sonners, DC

Motherhood is a beautiful journey, but it can also be incredibly challenging. As a mama, you are responsible for taking care of your children, managing the household, and often working outside the home as well. With so many responsibilities, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.  At the same time, with all we juggle there is really not much wiggle room for feeling sub-par or letting our health slip and this is where I feel daily self-care (even if JUST for a few minutes) is so incredibly crucial.  

Here are just SOME of the MANY benefits of self-care: 

  1. Reduced stress: Self-care activities can help mothers reduce stress levels and improve their overall well-being. When mothers take time to care for themselves, they can better manage the demands of motherhood and avoid burnout.
  2. Improved physical health: Regular exercise and a healthy diet are important components of self-care. These activities can improve physical health, boost energy levels, and prevent chronic illnesses.
  3. Better mental health: Self-care activities such as meditation and journaling can help mothers manage their emotions and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Taking the time to care for oneself can also improve self-esteem and promote positive body image.
  4. Improved relationships: When mothers take care of themselves, they are better equipped to care for their families. By prioritizing self-care, mothers can build stronger relationships with their partners, children, and friends.

We are all super busy so HOW do we MAKE TIME for this daily ritual?

  1. Schedule time each day for self-care activities, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes.  I do this in the morning before the house is awake.  Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier.  Getting 15 minutes less sleep won’t negatively impact you much and getting 15 minutes to YOURSELF at the beginning of your day WILL DEFINITELY positively impact you and everyone around you.  This could be as simple as taking a walk around the block, meditating for a few minutes, or enjoying a cup of tea alone with no disturbance.  Keep your phone on airplane mode. JUST BE.  Check out My FREE Magical Mornings Challenge if you need help getting started.  In it I share the 5 tools I use daily to take care of myself.  This can literally all be done in 15 minutes. Click here for all the info!
  2. Ask for help: This is honestly still a work in progress for me and at the same time it’s so very important.  It truly takes a village and we NEED to lean on others to help. We aren’t meant to be able to juggle it all and when we try to it impacts our physical AND mental health. Work on RECEIVING by saying “Thank you” when someone compliments you or offers to hold the door, or help you in any way.  This will help strengthen your “receiving” and your “ask for help” muscle :p 
  3. Prioritize sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.  I cannot stress this one enough! Aim to be in bed, lights out by 10pm.  Need help with your sleep hygiene? Check out a recent blog I wrote on the subject here 
  4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on the here and now.  This is so simple as it literally is the act of doing NOTHING but 100% focusing on what you are doing.  Yet for many (including myself) it’s not always easy and takes some practice.  I flex this muscle while doing the dishes.  Try it. Focus only on what you are doing… “I’m soaping the plate, scrubbing the plate, making circles etc” and anytime you catch your mind drifting away from the present moment, bring it back.  Notice how often throughout the day our mind wanders from what we are actually PRESENTLY engaged in.  Paying attention to and focusing on your breathing is another great way to get you into the PRESENT moment.  

Self-care is essential for EVERYONE.  Neglecting ourselves can have negative impacts not just on us, but all those around us.

Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish—it’s necessary for being the best mama you can be.

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s the ONE thing you will do for yourself today? 

Email and connect with Dr. Melissa!

“The Secret to Health & Longevity — The Blue Zone Perspective”
by Dr. Sonia Marques

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” – Leo Tolstoy

As the seasons shift, the springtime rebirth inspires and motivates us to become the best and healthiest versions of ourselves.  Long sunny days and warmer weather encourage us to emerge into the outdoors and come out of our hibernating states.  When I envision what an ideal life looks like, in the simplest terms, I imagine a long life filled with robust physical, mental and emotional health.  This has led me to revisit the phenomena known as ‘The Blue Zones’. 

Blue zones are regions in the world where people live, or have recently lived, longer than average. The 5 blue zones are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. Although genetics cannot be discounted, lifestyle choices are far more important when determining health and longevity.  A 2018 article published in the journal Genetics cites that heritability of human genetics may be as low as 10%.  Despite the genetic, geographical and cultural differences between the different zones, there are common threads that run throughout them:

  • Move naturally — Whether it’s walking to the local grocery store or walking to a friend’s house, movement is key. Many Blue Zone centenarians maintain high levels of physical activity and frequently engage in manual labor.  An example is Sardinia’s community of shepherds, who are known to walk more than 5 miles a day.
  • Know your purpose — Individuals who express a clear goal in life live longer than those who do not.  This sense of purpose is deemed to be the source of life satisfaction, which leads to a longer and happier life.
  • Sleep/DownShift — Chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major age-related disease.  Taking naps, reflecting through prayer or a day of rest are all examples of routines Blue Zoners use to mitigate stress in their lives.
  • 80% Rule — This strategy focuses on not overeating.  Whether it’s repeating a mantra before meals as a reminder to eat until 80% full like the Okinawans or eating the last and smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, moderation and awareness are key.
  • Plant-based diet — The diet of Blue Zone Centenarians is based largely on plants. The cornerstone of most centenarian diets is beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils. Small amounts of lean, high quality meats are consumed on occasion.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption — Thanks to healthy antioxidants, wine consumed in moderation (1 glass daily) and ideally with friends at mealtime can reduce the risk of heart disease and slow the progression of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. (Although there are many studies that promote the health benefits of wine polyphenols, it has not been conclusively determined that they contribute to longevity as per Molecule 2020). 
  • Sense of Community — All but 5 of the 263 centenarians interviewed in the original Blue Zones areas studies (2004) belonged to some faith-based community.  Being a member of a civic or faith-based organization can provide a sense of belonging and create strong social relationships and add years to life. 
  • Loved ones first — The cornerstone of all Blue Zone communities are strong family ties. 
  • Right Tribe — The world’s longest-lived people are either born into or choose to create social circles that support and promote healthy behaviors. 

While our own journeys to good health, longevity and happiness are unique, there is no denying that many, if not all, Blue Zone tenets can lead to a life of satisfaction, fulfillment and wellness. 


Benefits of Chiropractic for Kids: Babies to Young Athletes

Benefits of Chiropractic for Kids: Babies to Young Athletes
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Children are some of our most frequent visitors at Core Therapies, however we are often asked by adults “why would a child need to be adjusted?” 

It is often thought that Chiropractic care is used solely to help relieve pain or injury.  It can certainly help with that, however getting adjusted helps restore and improve the balance of the many intricate systems within the body.  The human body, whether big or small, is intricately designed with communication highways, check and balance systems, reflexes and in the presence of stress learned compensation patterns.  

A Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in treating children can identify a child’s stress or imbalance when they cannot verbalize how they are feeling.  Let’s go through a couple of examples!

Babies – A baby may present irritable, unsettled, or seemingly uncomfortable in a given position, either on their back or stomach.  A baby may even, innately, writhe their head back and forth.  When this presents to us in the office, oftentimes the baby has tension or a fixation in the neck (cervical spine), preventing them from settling in comfortably in certain postures. Now a baby cannot tell you they have a sore or stiff neck, so they may settle into a position with a head tilt away from discomfort (most noticeable when sleeping, or in carseat), they may have trouble latching on a specific side because of their restriction, they may present with poor digestion or motility in their belly, ear infections due to poor drainage within the ear canal, etc.  Causes are vast, some of which include, fixed posture in utero, interventions at birth, oral ties like upper lip or tongue ties or teething.  Chiropractic can help relieve the tension, restore movement to the restricted joints, all by applying very light manual vibration or soft tissue massage.  

Toddlers & Young Children – Many times toddlers present in the office because parents are concerned about how they’re moving, why they aren’t sleeping, constipation, energy level (too high or too low), immune system stress, and the occasional bump or bruise.  However the child presents, we look at the whole child, meaning, a parent may provide a history with the focus on one of the above, but as mentioned, their little body is a network of systems. If one area is affected, other areas will show imbalance or measures of compensation.  Sometimes children this age can help explain how they feel, and deciphering or decoding the noises they use, to do so, can take a degree in itself!!…However, when they experience relief and they smile, settle, melt into your table, or pop up without a second thought, the body has restored its balance and all systems go!

The Active Child or Young Athlete – Kids are on the move and there is no shortage of opportunity or activity to sign up for.  Some kids need to decompress from their schedule alone!  Add in the demand of performance on their young body, whether they are subject to repetitive practice or physical stress from a contact sport, rest and recovery efforts are necessary.  Even though kids seem to bounce back faster, every little microtrauma leaves a mark on their body’s overall blueprint.  Repetitive stress at any age can lead to breakdown or injury.  Receiving regular manual therapy, whether that be adjustments or soft tissue work, not only identifies signs of overuse/disuse, but can aid in injury prevention long term.  Recommended active care exercises continue recovery outside of the treatment room, like foot drills for the sprained ankle, core exercises for the weak low back, or rotational exercises for the sports that favor a dominant side.

Chiropractic care for children goes far beyond the stereotype of back pain and supports development at every stage. Those who specialize in treating children understand the intricate check and balance systems of the body and the speed at which the body matures.  Identifying and treating small stressors in these growing bodies can help children grow with the most optimal health! 

To schedule an appointment with a provider who is certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) with extensive training and experience, please call our office at 973-240-7251

Dr. Meagan McGowan, Dr. Sonia Marques, and Dr. Katie Gleisner is certified through the ICPA.

Tendon Health

Tendon Health
By: Dr. Matt McGowan, D.C

As I reflect on my journey back from a ruptured bicep tendon over the last 4 months, I felt it imperative to pass along important information regarding tendon health. My injury was 100% due to overuse. “Overuse is often synonymous with terms like ‘Chronic Degeneration or  Repetitive Stress’.” Over time if we continually use a joint in the same repeated patterns under any load, we can be causing a long term negative effect on our tendons integrity at that joint.  A person can be very active, and in relatively good health and have unknown problems brewing at their tendons. Statistically, males in their 40’s-50’s tend to be subject to tendon failures the most, but it can honestly happen to anyone who repeatedly loads their tendons.  

So what does it mean to cause repetitive stress on a joint?  It can be a multitude of scenarios; an example can be someone who works with their hands often, a mason lifting and cutting stones over and over again. It can be the pickleball newbie that is so excited about the game that they play 4 times a week for several hours at a clip. It can be the person who has been doing the same exercise routine in the gym for the last 30 years with little to no variation. Any of these scenarios can demonstrate how simple activities that we take for granted can be causing a long term overload on the tendon.  

The hardest part about these injuries is that there are often no warning signs. I never had any pain in my bicep, it never felt tight. In fact most people who rupture their Achilles tendon, never have any warning sign until it pops. The good news is that there are ways we can alter our training to help avoid these tendon issues and ruptures. The most challenging part is staying self aware of our activities and loading patterns and being self accountable to make ourselves do the preventative work. This is where I failed myself. I did not respect the amount of load I was putting on my biceps on a daily basis. If I had taken certain steps in how I train, this may have been avoided.

What I feel are the most three most effective ways to avoid major tendon failure are:

  1. Proper nutrition. Avoid any foods that have an inflammatory effect on your body. Try to limit cheat meals and highly processed foods.
  2. Vary your activity as much as you can control it. Obviously if your job is working on a factory line, you cannot change this, but if you are a runner who loves to jog on a treadmill 5-6 times a week and you never change from that, then adding in other forms of exercises in replacement on 1-2 days can go a long way. 
  3. The most important thing you can do is include eccentric loaded exercises to your routine. The eccentric phase of the exercise is commonly known as the negative phase. The most simple way to explain a negative phase is the phase in which you return the weight back to its starting point. It is when the muscle is elongating. For example with my bicep, normally when people lift weights for biceps there is a smooth cadence of 1-2 seconds pulling up, and often 1 second going down. The key for tendon health is loading the muscle on the way down in a slow and controlled manner.  

A great start for anyone who feels that they may find themselves undergoing repetitive load or stress should take the following steps:

  1. Figure out what joint/tendons may be under repeated stress.
  2. Figure out what exercise can be done to load that tendon directly.
  3. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of that exercise with following cadence:

2 second concentric phase (shortening phase)/ 5-7 second eccentric

(lengthening phase)

Not every exercise of every workout has to be done in this manner, but adding this in every few weeks is very important to preventing tendon breakdown. If you feel like you may be exposing yourself to tendon overload but do not know where to start or what exercises to do, come in and get it evaluated and we can certainly help you out. 

Aspen Class IV Laser Therapy
By: Dr. Sebastian Poma

Are you looking for a safe and effective way to treat pain points around your body? Laser therapy might just provide you with the solution you need. This medical treatment is FDA-cleared and provides everyone with a non-pharmacological and non-invasive method for pain relief.
Laser therapy is a common, non-surgical, and non-invasive way of treating various conditions. It can be used safely on almost every area of the body and can help with both acute and chronic injuries, pain, stiff joints, sore muscles and more.
Through this procedure there are various benefits to be gained:
– A boost in cellular metabolism
– Reduction in muscle spasms
– A decrease in pain
– Improved healing to damaged tissues

By applying stimulation to the specific wavelengths that affect the cell receptors inside our body, laser therapy can modify the effects of injured tissues. As such, it can reduce the overall duration of inflammation, while enhancing the body’s healing and repair capabilities. Here are just a few results that have been observed in various clinical studies as a result of laser therapy:
– Better vasodilation
– Better collagen production
– Better cell membrane
– Better cell metabolism
– Better lymphatic response
– Better microcirculation
– Better nerve regeneration
– Better pain threshold
– Better bone and tissue repair
– Better enzyme response
– Reduced edema magnitude
– Reduced duration in inflammation

Laser therapy can be used to treat chronic and acute conditions, along with post-activity recovery. It can also be used as an alternative to prescription drugs, a pre- and post-surgery treatment for swelling and pain.
Laser therapy has proved to be effective in improving recovery times after workouts or activities such as sports. It is also capable of reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.

Laser therapy provides the body with a series of healing responses, where patients will feel a wave of soothing warmth which signals the beginning of the process. The modulated cellular activity leads to an improvement in local circulation and decreased pain in the areas being treated. As a result, laser therapy can significantly enhance and accelerate our body’s natural repair and defense mechanisms.

Because of this, laser therapy is particularly useful for inflammation, workout and sports injuries, and some disease processes. For a successful treatment program, it’s best to undergo multiple treatments, where the number of weeks will depend on the severity of symptoms and your condition. Laser therapy is clinically used for the following conditions:

– Neck Pain
– Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) (Jaw Pain)
– Elbow & Joint Pain
– Shoulder Pain
– Low Back Pain
– Fibromyalgia
– Arthritis
– Sciatica
– Soft Tissue Damage
– Sports Injuries
– Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve never had laser treatments done before, it’s only natural to be nervous about your first time. However, many patients report it to be a pleasurable experience, where you will feel warm, soothing and relaxing sensations during your sessions. These feelings are a reflection that your cells are getting the stimulation they need to promote healing.

Because laser treatment is non-surgical and non-invasive, you’ll be able to go home on the same day as the treatment and quickly go back to your routine. Although, it’s best to avoid strenuous and direct exercise to help speed up your recovery process.

There are key factors that will play a role in determining how many treatments are needed, which are:
1. The patient’s response to the treatments
2. The nature of their condition

Gift the gift of Laser Therapy this Holiday season. Purchase one laser session or a package of laser session at Core Therapies. To schedule an appointment, or for questions, reach out to us at 973-240-7251.

Revitalizing Benefits of Bone Broth
By: Dr. Katie Gleisner

Bone broth is deceptively easy to make and is a health boosting power house.  It contains essential nutrients, including  minerals,  collagen, and amino acids that function as the body’s building blocks.  Keep reading to learn about the ancient wisdom and health benefits of bone broth, and I will share one of our favorite recipes to brew this season.  So grab your stock pot and get ready to simmer some bones to create a nutritious and delicious bone broth.

Ancestral wisdom and indigionous cultures around the world have valued consuming animal bones for health benefits.  Bones store calcium, an essential mineral to build and repair our skeletal system.  Our ancestors recognized that consuming bones built strong bones.  Eskimos ate fermented fish bones, Native Americans crushed up small bird bones into an edible paste, African tribes fermented goat bones, and in Asia they slow cooked bones into broth.  Eating animal based protein and utilizing the whole animal, bones, connective tissue, and organ meat, provide essential nutrients to support our and the environment’s health.

When you simmer a combination of meat, bones, skin, tendons and ligaments on low heat for several hours, you are transferring the nutrients from these leftovers directly into the broth.  Slow cooking bones and connective tissue gently releases collagen, gelatin, as well as essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and amino acids.  You have made a hearty batch of bone broth when it thickens and takes on a gelatinous quality after it has been stored in the refrigerator.  If your broth does not thicken into a gel, you will want to add more collagen dense ingredients including chicken feet and joint bones. Store bought bone broth goes through a flash pasteurization process in its aluminum lined container, which impacts its nutrient profile.  It is best to make your own bone broth, which you can sip, use as the base for soups, and incorporate in other recipes. 

Bone broth is a gut healing superfood because of its role in maintaining normal intestinal barrier function.  Our intestinal membrane functions as a protective barrier from our “outside”  and “inside” environment.  When you catch a cold or get a tummy bug, it most likely enters through your digestive tract.  Fortunately, 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut to respond to microbial invaders.  However, many people struggle with leaky gut syndrome, which occurs when there is damage to the intestinal lining and it becomes permeable. This breakdown in gut lining integrity increases the risk of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and lowered immune function.  Bone broth contains amino acids glycine and glutamine, which improve digestive function and improve intestinal integrity.  Also, these amino acids produce the most potent antioxidant, glutathione.  If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other autoimmune  conditions, healing your gut  will help reduce your symptoms, improve nutrient absorption, reduce oxidative stress, and boost immune function.

Bone broth is rich in collagen, the most abundant protein in our body.  Collagen is the main structural component of our connective tissue, and is found in our bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments.  Consuming collagen supports your own collagen production, i.e. beautiful skin, hair, and nails.  Collagen is rich in glycine which is essential for detoxification and regulating dopamine levels.  Simply sipping on a mug of bone broth or eating chicken bone broth soup helps support cell function and a happy, balanced mood. 

Bone broth is sacred and healing food of our ancestors. When you regularly incorporate bone broth into your diet, you are providing your body with the raw materials to build strong bones, resilient skin, healthy gut barrier and detox pathways, and support a balanced mood. Learning to make bone broth will improve your health, and is a step to becoming a great cook.  Bone broth is incredible to have on hand to create a hearty soup or nutrient dense ingredient for recipes.  Bone broth is a fantastic and delicious way to nourish yourself and your family.

Savory Chicken Bone Broth


  • 10 lbs of chicken bones (combination of necks, wings, and backs)
  • 1 lb chicken feet
  • 5 quarts cold water
  • 8 cups ice cubes
  • 2 cups 1-inch thick slices, peeled carrots
  • 3 cups 1 inch thick slices leeks (white and light green parts)
  • 8 ounces quartered yellow onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 rosemary sprigs


  • Rinse the bones and feet very well and be careful to remove all blood and impurities, place the bones, feet and water in a large stock pot. NOTE, If 5 quarts isn’t enough make sure there is enough water to cover the entire mixture, while leaving enough room for the ice.
  • Bring the pot to a simmering boil over medium high heat and maintain for 20 minutes. 
  • Skim off any impurities that may have risen.
  • Turn off the heat and add the ice. Once again, skim off any solidified fat and impurities that form on the top.
  • Add vegetables and herbs and bring the pot back to a gentle boil. After 30 minutes skim off any impurities that rose to the top.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 hours. If the water level drops below the top of the veggies and chicken add more water.
  • Gently ladle the stock, through a fine mesh strainer into a container of your choice.
  • Fill a sink with ice water and let the stock cool for an hour.
  • Stock lasts around 3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.



  • We collect most of the fat after the broth has completely cooled. My husband, Quinn, saves the chicken fat to make delicious biscuits. It’s pretty much chicken flavored butter.
  • This broth has a lot of bones, therefore the final product is collagen dense. It turns into a jelly when refrigerated, but easily melts into a liquid when cooking.
  • There is no salt or pepper in this recipe. Make sure to season liberally when using this in a recipe.
  • If you have no idea where to get chicken bones or feet, call Goffle Road Poultry in Wyckoff, NJ.
Part 2:  Getting the Ball Rolling.

Part 2: Getting the Ball Rolling.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Last month I introduced you to the journey we started with our 8 year old son Briggs and the connection we are making between his oral motor function and his allergies.  It would benefit you to read it if you haven’t already to understand why as a Chiropractor I am highlighting a specific focus of dentistry in this month’s blog. Read Last Month’s Blog Here

To recap, we left off with Briggs being diagnosed with a couple of cavities.  To many this may seem ridiculous that a cavity or two could send a Mother (me) into such a spiral but the report of him having a couple of cavities was just another check in the box of underlying dysfunction.  As Chiropractors, our main goal is to identify underlying dysfunction in the body, not chase symptoms, as they are only the clues.  What Briggs was dealing with was outside of my field of expertise and I needed to develop a plan that would look beyond his symptoms and get to the root of it all.  

As a person outside of the dental profession, I always understood a cavity to be the result of poor brushing, lack of flossing, and/or consuming too much sugar.  As I started digging into how to better Briggs’ oral health, I was quickly finding that those reasons listed weren’t the top cavity causing reasons at all.  In fact, the cavities were no longer the reason my analytical mind was spiraling.  The consistent mention of mouth breathing, restriction/tension within the mouth, improper movement of the tongue and lips due to these restrictions…everything I read mimicked Briggs’ innate way of being right now.  

I started a list: 

  • In order to improve his oral health he has to breathe better, 
  • His breathing won’t improve until he can close his mouth and breathe through his nose, 
  • He can’t close his mouth until the inflammation decreases, 
  • Despite our efforts the inflammation is not reducing, 
  • Allergy shiners (dark circles under eyes),
  • Congestion, 
  • Sleeping with his head in extension. 

My mind is darting 

… and then I finally have a moment of clarity.  

I came across the mention of an Airway Dentist.  

Having absolutely no clue such a provider exists, I finally felt like all of my concerns for Briggs could actually be understood by one such provider.  My internet search took a sharp turn to better understand how an Airway Dentist could help Briggs.  

The Initial Visit.

We initiated Briggs’ treatment at Great Smiles of NJ in March.  We had a very thorough conversation with their Dental Sleep Medicine Coordinator, Jenn, who consulted with me about Briggs and whether or not their practice would be a good fit for him.  It was decided that he should be seen by the Doctor to best determine a treatment plan.  Everything I reported was exactly what they have seen countless times in their office; so much so that Jenn’s questions about Briggs made our last several years of him struggling come full circle.  Briggs was very curious, as was I.  We were told it would be an extensive first visit, and IT WAS, in the most thorough way.

Dr. Michelle Weddle has extensive training in Pediatric Dentistry and amongst many other specialties I was most intrigued by her knowledge of Airway Dentistry.Upon our arrival Briggs’ posture was evaluated and pictures documented.  We were escorted to a treatment room where Briggs was examined thoroughly, pictures were taken to further understand the structure and soft tissues in his mouth.  Dr. Weddle would stop and explain her structural findings of his teeth, tongue, and fascial restrictions.  She noted the alignment of the lower teeth compared to the upper, pointing out compensatory growth patterns.  She explained how the movement of the teeth is dependent on how the tongue and lips move.  His present, long standing, upper lip and tongue tie has most likely contributed to his high narrow palate.  With his palate aligned the way it is, she predicts that his airway will be narrowed contributing to his overall breathing and inflammatory struggles.  As the visit progressed the unraveling of cause and effect continued, from the resting position of his tongue to the movement of his jaw.  I of course asked what could be done and she said without hesitation in order for his breathing to improve (the most pivotal of all her concerns) his palate needed to widen.  Once there is room, his motor function can improve by removing his ties and performing myofunctional therapy.  It all must happen in a specific order because without the space his oral function will not improve.  I was understanding how the mouth silently absorbs all of our stress and compensates much like that of our joints and soft tissues throughout the body as a whole.  I felt encouraged as Dr. Weddle’s approach to practice seemed to parallel much of our own at Core.

Dr. Weddle discussed her course of action which would be to further her understanding of Briggs’ anatomy through a maxillofacial CBCT scan provided in office as well as dental impressions created through digital images taken with a probe like camera.  All non-invasive diagnostic tools that took only minutes.  She also wanted Briggs to wear a device, a ring, for two nights measuring his sleep patterns and breathing.  This would provide data that could indicate Briggs’ need for a sleep study, ruling in or out Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Briggs was up for it all and I was thrilled at the possibility that all of this could be our jumping off point in improving Briggs’ overall health. 

Part 3 of our journey will include Briggs’ test results, our action steps, and why we decided to do things a bit different for our newborn daughter Navy.  Stay tuned!

Bug Off!
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

There’s no better time of year than now to be having fun outside from sun-up to sun down!  Unfortunately treating the pesky bug bites can become a necessary addition to the daily routine as bugs are most prevalent at dawn and dusk.  Bug sprays, like many other conventional products used on our skin contain less than favorable ingredients.  Thankfully essential oils can be used as a natural plant derived alternative.  

Conventional repellents are made of a mix of active and inert ingredients.  The active ingredients are listed on the label and most often the inert ingredients are not.  DEET, Permethrin, and Cyfluthrin are most commonly read on these labels, all of which are considered neurotoxic. Neurotoxicity, meaning harmful to the nervous system and altering its overall function, is an ever growing concern due to the amount of chemical exposure we are subject to daily.  Bug repellent is heavily absorbed by the skin, especially when used in combination with sunscreen.  In animal studies, DEET has even been found to cross the placenta.  This is very concerning!

For a more comprehensive look at these ingredients, visit

An easy DIY alternative.

Many essential oils have repellent properties and used in combination together can be a safe, beautifully smelling alternative!  


  • 2 oz spray bottle
  • Citronella EO – 10 drops
  • Peppermint EO – 10 drops
  • Lavender EO – 10 drops
  • Lemongrass EO – 10 drops
  • Fill remainder of bottle with witch hazel

If you are new to essential oils or need to restock some of your favorites, call the office. We are happy to help!

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Over the next several months our family will share our experience as we take a deep dive into improving some of our most tedious health challenges.  In a multi-part series, we will share our journey as we heavily focus on our oldest son Briggs and how his struggle with allergies has become a catalyst for all of us to take a deep look into the connection between our oral motor function and overall health.  

A quick step back in time so you understand our ‘Why’.

Briggs’ was a very healthy 9.8oz baby, born in the comforts of our home, now 8 years ago!  As a first time Mom I read everything, exposed myself to all versions of prenatal support, happily learned and swapped out personal care and household products, ate well, moved well, and mentally prepared myself for my invitation into parenthood.  I was determined (and still am!) to give this child the greatest foundation of health, all that I can influence anyhow.  Briggs thrived as a baby which seemed only appropriate for the efforts invested while I was pregnant.

….Then I was introduced to the feelings housed in my Mommy gut.  I kept hearing that term referenced as those instincts you don’t know you have until you sign up to care for a small human!

Feeding was going well by measurement of numbers.  He was gaining weight, eating the appropriate amount for his stage of development, however his latch was exceedingly uncomfortable.  He spit up with every burp which at times took a minimum of 15 minutes.  He wouldn’t successfully latch again until he burped.  Again as a new Mom I thought we were in the early stages of young mechanics and his mouth just needed to mature.  After a few weeks we would be in the clear.  That wasn’t the case and at 3 months I inquired for the first time about his mouth recognizing how thick his upper lip frenulum was.  The two qualified providers inspected, however did not feel it was severe or contributory enough to put him through unnecessary intervention and discomfort.  On our way we went.  Eventually he must have compensated well enough because his latch no longer hurt, he took on solids like a champ, and seemed like all was well. 

At around 12 months I inquired again about the frenulum beneath his upper lip.  The space between his two front teeth was considerable and the tissue was connecting to the underside of his upper gum.  This time I was told the same, it wasn’t severe enough to put him through such discomfort.  Wait and see if it becomes an orthodontic issue,   they’ll take care of it then. 

As Chiropractors we are aware of some of the negative effects of sustained oral ties in children, affecting their ability to eat, speak, and swallow, as well as possibly contributing to focus and coordination issues.  Briggs displayed none of these.  We were not aware or told of the longstanding issues that sustained oral ties could be contributing to: his poor breathing, poor sleep, inflammation and allergies, and now crowded teeth and narrowed jaw.  

Now looking back at pictures of his swollen eyes starting at the age of 3, listening to videos of his nasal sounding voice, his then little body was expending so much more energy to function because of the inflammation he couldn’t get rid of.  We were very frustrated because no matter our effort nothing seemed to help him.  

Like most, we initially pigeonholed his symptoms to seasonal inflammation.  Then we expanded our reasoning to allergies in general, because his symptoms were outside the seasonal time frame.  We thought he must intermittently be exposed to something he’s sensitive to because his swelling and inflammation would come and go.  Year after year our plan would shift–  supplements for preventative measures, then maybe we threw off the ratios of the immune system trying too many preventative measures, so then we’d back off, food elimination, washing hands after petting an animal, testing for mold sensitivity, etc. etc.  

As health conscious as Briggs has become through his own fruition, his suffering remains the same.  Congestion, productive sneezes causing him to run for tissues, dark circles under his eyes, head and neck extended while sleeping, breathing heavy and labored while sleeping, nightmares and wakeful sleep, and now cavities.  CAVITIES!  In the boy who brushes, flosses, drinks only water, eats whole organic foods and could care less about carbs and sweets, he was defeated, I was defeated.  How do you explain to your kid who willingly contributes to his health, consciously everyday on his own, that it seemingly isn’t good enough, you still have cavities.  Then to listen to the mainstream Dentist tell him he just has to do more of the same plus maybe this treatment (this toxic treatment) to protect his teeth was infuriating.  It was then I decided to take matters into my own hands.  After an incredible conversation with a friend who was sharing similar frustrations with her son, and a whole lot of research, we have started down a path that has our family excited to invest our time and efforts into true measures that will help Briggs, and now maybe my husband Matt, and our newborn daughter Navy!

Stay tuned for details of Briggs’ treatment plan, including where and with who, as well as what we have done for Navy.  As a bonus, see what Matt is looking into for his long standing struggles!