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Man In Pain

Why Does it Hurt? 

The Science Behind Pain
By Dr. Shannon Connolly

 

Why does it hurt? I am asked this question on a daily basis. In the treatment room, I try to simplify it as much as possible, but the real answer is quite a bit more complex. To really get an understanding of why, it would be best to start with understanding how essentially our brain and nervous system works. The complexity of pain makes it a very difficult thing to treat and work with. On a positive note, it also means that some factors are more treatable or manageable than others, but only if you have a true understanding of how pain really works.

 

Here are the basics:  We have sensors called nociceptors that respond to stimulus. When activated, these sensors send warning signals from the body to the spinal cord via nerves. The signals from the nerves within tissues alert that there is a potential for tissue damage. The nociceptors then send that signal to the spinal cord for further processing. Your spinal cord is like a middle man who can decide to send the signal up to the brain or to leave that nociceptive alert at the spinal cord. This means there could potentially be something “dangerous” going on, and you might not have a clue!

 

So with that basic understanding of how the pain response system works, now it is time to change our mindset – when we first think of “pain” or when we even feel “pain.”  We really need to stop thinking of pain in terms of causes or cures. We’re all guilty of saying to ourselves “It’s all coming from the ____, I know it!” I’ve done this myself, but sadly, we’re almost always wrong.

 

We have many non-specific sensitivities to pain. Pain is purely an alarm. It is a very unreliable sign of what’s really happening. Is it a fire? Is it the carbon monoxide detector? Is it the neighbor’s alarm? We have no idea!

 

We have assumed for a very long time that the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain, such as a “structural” or biomechanical problem – a slipped disc, a short leg, etc. – is the root cause and only explanation for that pain. For decades we’ve been told that the structural problem is causing the pain, but that explanation is also evidence that there is a lot more to pain than just screwed up tissue.

 

Patients are often given the alarming idea that the slightest crookedness/out-of-place joint is “serious.”  As humans, we are designed to compensate, designed to figure out how to go about our days with no concept or feeling of pain so we can survive. Did you know the world record holder for the deadlift has idiopathic scoliosis! (Lamar Gant in 1974!) If humans weren’t designed to compensate and not be “perfectly” aligned, would a 123 lb human with scoliosis be able to deadlift 524.5 lbs?

 

Here are a few more statistics that make this “structuralism as the answer to our pain” more questionable:

  • 96% of athletes younger than 22 will show changes on an MRI that some people call “abnormal.” But since everyone has them, how “abnormal” can they be? (Rajaswaran 2014)
  • 37% of 20 year olds with no pain have disc degeneration in their spine (Brinjikji 2015)
  • 57% of 20-50 year olds with no hip pain will have cartilage and ligament tears (Tresch 2016)

 

Structural problems aren’t the only pain-related theories I hear from patients.  Many come in talking about “inflammation” or “tissue damage.” This can certainly be a contributing factor in pain, but it is generally not the only factor. And you don’t need to have damage to have chronic pain. Your nervous system can become sensitized. This sensitivity can come from a number of areas in your life. Depression, anxiety, fear of movement, a low sense of self control, the loss of meaningful activities…all are factors that might influence your sensitivity and chronic pain.

To understand injuries and pain problems and to recover from them more effectively, we need to stop thinking about the body as a machine that is inevitably going to break down and start thinking about the body as one big crazy system of neurology and biochemistry, and even crazier psychology and lifestyle factors. Throw in curve balls like poor dietary habits, medication side effects, exhaustion, emotional distress, smoking/pollutants, and being really out-of-shape or having inefficient biomechanics. These are more important indicators for pain than any “structural” issue. The body is strong and truly adaptable. You just need to give it the right stuff! Sleep, water, good nutritious food, movement, etc. All the things you know it really needs.

The bottom line is, pain is much more about sensitivity rather than injury. Any information that convinces your brain that you might need protection or that increases your danger alarm can contribute to your pain. We need to teach ourselves how to be more resilient to the external factors that are most of the time beyond our control.

Cupcakes

Your Child and a Substance More Addictive than Cocaine: Should You Be Concerned?

by Dr. Marc Funderlich

One of the most confusing statements I hear from parents is “I don’t want my child to be deprived if I keep them from eating substances more addictive than cocaine.”  Now they don’t actually say “more addictive than cocaine.” They usually replace that phrase with “cake” or “cookies.”

I know – and you know – that parents generally want “the best” for their children. The best schools, the best toys, the best life partner, etc.  What about the best nutrition? I think we can all agree that nutrition is important and we want our kids to grow up to reach their full potential.  And yet many parents tell me they are doing “Whole 30” or trying paleo or keto, but then they say “it’s just so hard to cook two meals every night.”. My question is always why cook two meals? Why should your children eat toxic, fake chemicals pretending to be food while you eat real food? You would never feed your child a yoga mat (although in some cases it may be more nutritious than what they are eating), so why feed them polyethylene glycol, carrageenan, partially hydrogenated oils, sucrose, yellow dye number 5 and other chemicals that are not food? The usual answer I get back: “Because they like it.”

Of course they like it.  They’ve been fed a steady diet of sugar and it’s incredibly addictive.

One thing to keep in mind is that sugar alters how the brain works. It is in fact more addictive than cocaine, and when you mix addictive, neurologically-altering substances with a child’s immature brain, you can expect non-optimal brain development. You can also expect addictive behaviors (i.e. “because they like it”). Typically, you should also expect bad behavior as you try to change a child’s diet. Often, withdrawal symptoms include tantrums, screaming, crying, etc.

The good news is that these behavior issues only last 1-2 weeks. After this time, the brain recovers and rewires. From this point on children’s taste preferences may open up, they may want to try all sorts of new foods they disliked before, and their development will significantly benefit from your tough, yet loving dietary directives. The food habits they learn as kids carve out a blueprint of their future health.

If you want to see how your child is responding to toxic chemicals, foods or additives, we can run specific and advanced laboratory testing to find out how these things may be impacting your child.  Call the office to learn more.

Woman rubbing neck pain area

What’s the Best Pillow for my Sleep Position?

by Matt McGowan D.C.

November 2019

 

I get asked often about the best type of pillow to use at night.  The answer can be complicated because it ultimately depends on how you spend the majority of your night’s sleep.  This can be a difficult thing for a patient to pinpoint as we often flip and flop around throughout the night. For a truly restless sleeper who moves a lot, sometimes the best answer is to have a combination of pillows that fit your various needs.  My advice to patients is to determine what position you wake up in since this is often the position of choice that you spend the majority of your night in.

Here are a few notes on pillow choice based on position:

Back Sleeper:  When lying on our backs we should be able to draw a straight line from out ear through our shoulder, through our hip joint, and through the malleolus (bone that sticks out on the side of your ankle).  Often times back sleepers use too high or thick of a pillow flexing their neck too far forward causing a misalignment in their body. There is certainly a benefit to filling the space in the curve of your neck, but the thickness of the pillow should not displace your head forward of that imaginary straight line.

Side Sleeper:  With side sleeping it is a different imaginary line we are concerned with.  This line starts at your nose and should continue straight and uninterrupted through your sternum (chest plate), belly button, and eventually pubic bone.  In order for this to occur, the thickness of the pillow must offset the distance measured between your ear and the tip of your shoulder. Often times side sleepers go wrong with having too thin a pillow that does not fill the necessary space from ear to shoulder.  In this case, the body often tries to compensate by placing their hand or wrist under the pillow or chin. Conversely you can have too thick a pillow which forces your head to be laterally flexed all night.

Stomach Sleeper:  My first recommendation is always to avoid this position if at all possible.  This position forces you to spend a portion of the night with your head turned all the way in one direction, placing a lot of strain on the muscles of the neck as well as a lot of lateral pressure on the jaw.  Furthermore, it is a bad position for your lower back as gravity will press your lower back further into extension causing a lot of lower back tightness in the morning. If you cannot give up this position, the next best scenario is to have a very thin pillow if one at all, and you can also place a pillow under your hip bones and pelvic area to keep your lower back from hyperextending.

If you find yourself waking up in the morning with more neck tightness or discomfort than you had when you went to bed, it is worth investigating if a more suitable pillow can be part of your solution.  The best way to go about it is to have a spouse or partner look at your sleeping position and check for the lines we discussed. If you fall into a complicated case due to multiple sleeping positions, there are some specialty pillows out there that offer a combination of options.  If you have any difficulty determining if this is an issue for you, any of the chiropractors here at Core Therapies would be happy to help you out.

BIRTHFIT in NJ

BIRTHFIT

BIRTHFIT Isn’t Just For Pregnant Women

 

My Personal Recovery Journey
By Dr. Meagan McGowan

Core Therapies recently had the pleasure of hosting the BIRTHFIT Professionals Seminar, individuals from across the country gathered to hold space together. Chiropractic doctors and students, Midwives and Doulas, Physical Therapists and PT Assistants, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists, Yoga Instructors, and Functional Medicine practitioners were among the professionals represented. We share a common love of supporting women throughout their motherhood journey. Despite the resources and care available today, there are still many shortcomings in support, education, community and beliefs. BIRTHFIT recognizes all stages of motherhood, creating integral values stated as the Four Pillars: fitness, nutrition, connection and mindset. Encompassing all of these values, BIRTHFIT seeks to create a standard of care that far surpasses the current state, especially when it comes to postpartum care.

How I Discovered BIRTHFIT

 

I was first introduced to BIRTHFIT through a podcast featuring its founder Dr.BirthFit NJ Lindsey Mathews. I related immediately to the passion I heard in her voice and dove a little deeper into BIRTHFIT’s message. Coincidentally, one of my patients had someone she wanted me to meet…someone who was equally passionate about working with women. This woman happened to be the BIRTHFIT Regional Director for NJ and co-owner of Crossfit SOAR. We met, we talked, we laughed, we shared our frustrations surrounding the state of readiness specific to motherhood. I signed up for my first BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar immediately. I thought this would be a great addition to my practice at Core, but it was so much more than that!

My Journey With BIRTHFIT

My husband and I have had two welcomed pregnancies, both boys birthed with the support of Midwives. I felt prepared, heard and supported beginning pre-conception through delivery. My postpartum care consisted of a pelvic exam at 6 weeks postpartum and was told everything looked good. I was happy and went on my way. Admittedly, my second pregnancy was a bit different and slightly more difficult than my first. I felt pressure and heaviness much earlier on, and Matt was kinesio taping my belly for extra support. By 8 weeks, I experienced pressure equivalent to eating a Thanksgiving dinner every night. What I did not know then – and was not discovered until 10 months after my second birth – is that I had Diastasis Recti which was palpated and measured during the BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar. Diastasis Recti is a separation of the abdominal fascia. This happens to every pregnant woman at some point during her pregnancy. Some women are left with minimal separation postpartum, others – like myself – have a much larger gap. When this happens the core muscles are not equipped to counter the abdominal pressures created with movement. This is a sign of core and pelvic instability. Most women have no idea when this occurs during their pregnancy, but I distinctly remember the moment I bent down to put a piece of paper in our shredder and felt a surface level burning discomfort go up the middle of my belly. That was with my first pregnancy. Recalling that occurrence, then the peaking or tenting I saw in my belly after delivery with our first son, and then the exceptional pressure I felt while pregnant the second time, it became apparent that I went into my second pregnancy severely separated and with an unstable core and pelvis. I had no idea.

My “Why”

BirthFit NJ

The BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar was the first time in almost 10 years I felt like all of my worlds were coming together. My love for treating and holding space for pregnant woman, learning movements that aren’t modified for the pregnant woman but rather adapted to their changing body, the importance of mindset and strength of connection…all while learning how to help myself recover. It was as inspiring as it was emotional. I knew I could become part of this community that was striving to better care and awareness, but at the same time I was suffering with the current standard of postpartum care. The planks and pushups I was doing to better myself were actually reinforcing and exacerbating my diastasis. I had no idea I should have been working on foundational movements to create stability in my core before taking on load and gross movements. Note: Every baby is born with a diastasis and the movements we observe them doing while on their backs, rolling over, and crawling are all innately done to help them close their diastasis. BIRTHFIT teaches a functional progression of movements adapted from the workings of DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization), all created by studying the movement patterns of babies and children.

Today

BirthFit NJI am very pleased to report that through my own recovery journey I have reestablished a stable core and have closed my diastasis to one measurable finger width. Although there is always more room to strengthen and stabilize ,I am well within normal limits. I have used my education and my own recovery to relate to women and their stories. I willingly field (and ask) questions about sensitive topics such as pain, discomfort, incontinence, painful sex, urgency, etc. because although these feelings may be typical, they are not normal. Having a practitioner who knows how to support a woman through the full motherhood journey is so empowering for her because the support doesn’t stop 6 weeks postpartum, nor should it. BIRTHFIT supports functionality within your body and your life, connection within your own tribe and in your community, and a healthy mindset open to support especially when underlying causes of depression are present. At first I thought…“BIRTHFIT, great! I’m going to get back into shape.” Today it holds such a presence in my life because BIRTHFIT is much more than just strengthening movements. It is a mission, a community of likeminded individuals striving to reshape the thoughts and conversation surrounding childbirth.

“The pregnant should not be thought of as weak or diseased, it is a time of power! Postpartum is a time to recalibrate the system mentally and physically.” – E.B.

I’m the Healthiest I’ve Ever Been…and Here’s Why

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

September 2019

I have been using ketosis, fasting, and diet variation for the last four years and have loved my results.  My body has completely changed.  I have muscle tone in places that were always my weak spots and more importantly, I have never felt healthier in my life and I say this while still dealing with many of the effects of a neurological form of Lyme disease I got almost two years ago.

These ancient healing strategies are some of the best ways I know that allow our bodies to tap into their natural ability to heal.  You are designed to be healthy. I’ve been sharing my “secrets” through the Stemnomic Solution, a 7 week virtual program that will begin again on September 16th.  This will be our third group to go through the program and the results to date have been amazing.

During the program, I will be walking participants through how to use these systems in your lives, not just for the time you are with me, but going forward for as long as you choose. I have talked to patients about how to do this during their office visits and used social media to help guide people as well.  This program is way more than that. We’ll be using Zoom video meetings for workshops on our weekly goals while creating a community of support through an online group for weekly questions, sharing successes, etc.  You will be set up for success…and know exactly what you need to do to make this work!

If you’re ready to jump in, click here to get additional information and to register.  The program begins on September 16th.  I can’t wait to get started!

Holistic Doctors in NJ

Here’s What I Know To Be True

By Dr. Melissa Sonners
August 2019

Here is what I know to be true…

Cancer rates are rising, diabetes rates are rising, autism rates are rising and autoimmune conditions are more common than ever. Our genes have not changed and yet the graph of these conditions continues to go up. We cannot play victim to and blame all of these conditions on our genes. We can sit in our stories and wait for these devastating diagnoses or we can make the choice to make the time to take care of ourselves. We live in a society where we are taught to wait until something is a problem or health challenge before addressing it. In traditional medicine if your glucose and blood sugar is steadily raising you might be told to start making dietary changes but no drastic measures are introduced until these numbers hit such a level that you are diagnosed with diabetes. We are not victims. Our bodies are not designed to fail. They are designed to thrive. If our body is failing, there is something we are not giving it (deficiency) or there are things it doesn’t need that it is getting too much of (toxicity). After spending the weekend in a medical conference with experts from all over the world, and touring the world renowned Amen Clinics and the Cancer Center for Healing in Irvine, here is what I am reminded of: When faced with a diagnosis of these conditions, eat all organic, limit gluten, diary, sugar, corn and all GMO foods, be sure to restore gut health and support a healthy microbiome. Take time for yourself, create balance. Why, why, why do we have to wait for these conditions to occur before we make these common sense changes?

Functional medicine is a relatively new field in which practitioners do lab work that delves deep and can identify malfunctions as they start to happen and catch them before they get too advanced. I often hear feedback from patients – ours and others – that their recommended regimen from functional medicine doctors is difficult. Yes, it requires a lot of effort to clean out food, take the recommended supplements and make drastic changes. But my question to these patients is this: If you were diagnosed with cancer and you were told you had to do these things, then would you? Do you have to wait until things get that bad? Again, we have been raised in a society that doesn’t yet embrace prevention. Ideally, we shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to limit certain food or take supplements to get key nutrients. But we live in a society where our food is longer food. Where supplements have to be taken because we aren’t getting the nutrients that nature intended. If we can’t/won’t live the way our bodies are genetically designed to live, we have to make these choices and make major changes to get back to that life.

Think of it this way: You aren’t cutting out things and depriving yourself. You are depriving yourself by keeping them in. Depriving yourself of energy, of health, of vitality, of a clear mind, of positive emotions and neurotransmitters, of being the best version of yourself. Of being that miracle and living the miracle that you are meant to be. We can no longer use the excuse of not having the time, not having the resources. We choose how to spend our time. We make time for the things we value. I’m often surprised to hear people say they just don’t have the time, right before they tell me about the Netflix show they just binge watched. And I’m not knocking binge watching! We also need to take time for ourselves and self-care, and if that includes binge watching then go for it. But please, don’t tell me you don’t have time for your health. Because the reality is, you are either going to make time for it now or be forced to create time for it later.

Holistic Allergy Doctor NJ

Tips for Surviving Allergies

Tips for Surviving Allergies
by Dr. Noémie Long
July 2019

 

Living in New Jersey, it can feel like allergy season is year-round. Ragweed season for example can last
from March to October. Other allergies can be year-long, even in the winter. And then to make matters
more complicated, people can have sensitivities on top of all that. Where do you begin?
Definition: First, we have to understand what exactly an allergy is and how it’s different than a
sensitivity:

 

Allergy

Sensitivity

Reaction time

Happens immediately

Happens gradually: hours after exposure, up to 9 days later

 

Symptoms

Life Threatening: Sinus congestion, hives, difficulty breathing, face or hand swelling, itching, wheezing

Not Life Threatening: bloating, joint pain, headache, weight gain, diarrhea, fatigue, constipation

 

Mechanism

The immune system releases histamine in response to trigger

Typically, due to a leaky gut, the body becomes sensitive to a trigger which causes inflammation

 

What the results mean

Once an allergy is established, it is forever. However, the goal should be to manage the severity of symptoms

 

Sensitivities may be reversible through proper care and support.

What to look for on blood test

 

IGE marker. Ex: “Corn IGE”

IGG or IGA. Ex: “Corn IGG”

Reliable tests

Quest, labcorp, most major lab companies. An allergist may also run a scratch test.

Microchip testing (ex: Vibrant) or Cyrex testing.

 

*Cyrex is the only test to offer sensitivity to raw AND cooked foods.

 

Unreliable tests

 

ALCAT, MRT, LRA

What should you do for an allergy?

First, you need to find out what the trigger is. If you already know,
try to avoid that trigger 100% of the time. There are traditional medical options, such as an epi-pen if
the reaction is severe. For less severe allergies, natural antihistamines like AllerDHQ or D-Hist JR (a
chewable for kids) can be used. If your allergies are derived from oral allergies, HistDAO can be your
best friend. HistDAO supplements diamine oxidase, an enzyme you make to get rid of histamine in your
gut. Some people have genetic changes that lower this enzyme.
Environmental modifications can include dust mite covers for bedding, HEPA filters for your home/work,
and weekly washing of drapery or bedding using hot water.

What are your triggers?

If you don’t know what your trigger is, or are unsure if you have an allergy or
sensitivity, Core Therapies has providers to help you. My post-doctoral training includes focusing on
blood work interpretation and balancing blood chemistry. Often, our natural body’s chemistry can hold
clues and hints about primary shifts starting to occur. Think of your car, we would never ignore a
rumbling noise coming from the engine; we would look into it early and not wait for smoke to appear.
Secondary conditions like allergy symptoms or sensitivity symptoms may relate to an underlying
physiological shift. We want to identify and optimize those changes before they cause issue or progress.

 

 

 

NeuroKinetic Therapy NJ

My Journey to Becoming an NKT Practitioner

My Journey to Becoming an NKT Practitioner
by Dr. Shannon Connolly
June 2019

During the past 8 months, I have been learning a specific technique called NKT or NeuroKinetic Therapy. I had seen it demonstrated briefly back in chiropractic school and was somewhat skeptical, but an introductory course this past fall has made me a believer! As a practitioner, I think it is important to evaluate new techniques or modalities critically, but to also keep an open mind, as we never have all the answers. The only thing a closed mind will do is limit us to possibilities or modalities that may benefit our practice and our patients. I’m thrilled to be adding NKT to the treatment options available to Core Therapies patients.

What is NeuroKinetic Therapy?

NeuroKinetic Therapy was developed by David Weinstock, an expert Bodyworker who has been practicing Bodywork for over 35 years. He developed NKT while attempting to solve the age old question that many of us as patients (and wellness professionals) may eventually end up asking ourselves at some point: “Why do I come in with pain, go through a treatment session, leave pain-free or with significant improvement, and then return the next week with the same symptoms (often times over and over again)?” In a nutshell, NKT is a technique that primarily looks at compensation/dysfunctional movement patterns from a motor control perspective. The Motor Control Center (MCC) of the brain is located in the cerebellum. This part of the brain stores our movement patterns. The motor control center stores these patterns and directs their completion through the spinal cord and the muscles. Our brains learn movement from the day we are born. Most of these primary patterns are learned within our first year of life. Here’s an example of the MCC in action. Picture a baby learning to stand. Each time the baby tries to stand and falls (i.e. “fails”) the motor control center learns the successful aspects of the attempt. When that program contains enough “correct” information, the baby is finally able to stand. As we go through life, we collect events or experiences leading to the creation or learning of a faulty movement pattern. Think about all those sprains, broken bones, cuts that scar, a car accident or even repetitive habits and activities (i.e. sitting a work!). You probably don’t even know you have developed these patterns. Most of us don’t become conscious of these accumulating issues until there is pain involved. Movement occurs when multiple muscles work together. But what happens when one or more muscles do not have solid connections to your brain? Compensation! Dysfunction! This usually presents itself as pain and tightness. What if you thought your lower back muscles were tight, but actually they were “weak”? You might want to stretch and release them for short-term relief, but I’ll bet the pain or tightness keeps coming back! NKT utilizes manual muscle testing to identify and address compensation patterns in which muscles may test weak (or inhibited) and as a result of that “weakness,” other muscles are forced to work harder and become overactive (or facilitated). These muscle tests are not really testing “strength.” They are testing the ability to react as a neurologic response. It is testing how well you connect to your brain. Think about using your cell phone in a remote area where you get poor reception. Obviously, the solution isn’t to throw away your phone! You would just move to another area for better reception. NKT is testing the “reception” aspect of your nervous system. The manual muscle testing in NKT can be looked at as the key to “retrain” the MCC in order to elicit lasting change in movement patterns. The MCC is open to learning most effectively by failure. This happens when we discover a muscle test that results as “weak.” This “weak” muscle may or may not be where your pain is located. It may not hurt at all. NKT practitioners live by these words: “Don’t chase pain!” The result of the NKT protocol is to “turn off” the muscle that is overworking by a stretch or soft tissue release and to “turn on” the muscle that is underworking through an exercise. If we have discovered the right relationship, you should immediately notice a difference in a reduction of pain, less tightness, more range of motion, etc. However, part of this process does require some extra “homework.” With any new movement, it needs to be repeated in order to become fully ingrained.

NeuroKinetic Therapy has been a game changer for me as a practitioner. I have found tremendous success with this new technique in a very short period of time. However, there is still much to learn and practice with this protocol. It takes time to master the intuitive skill of muscle palpation and manual muscle testing. Finally, it should be stated that NKT does not solve everything. It does have its limits. At the same time, NKT can be extremely useful in solving many lingering issues that may keep you returning time and time again. Come see me and find out what NKT can do for you!

Neck Doctor NJ

The “Text Neck” Epidemic

The “Text Neck” Epidemic
By Dr. Sonia Marques

We have all been guilty of looking down at our phones or tablets for long periods of time and feeling a stiffness and discomfort in our necks as a result of it. Most of the time we aren’t even aware of how much time is passing by, but our bodies are certainly feeling the impact of our actions. Our technology-driven society has led to a common and ubiquitous condition coined “text neck,” or chronic flexion malposition of the head and neck. For some, this means limited range of motion and stiffness, but for many others the restriction is painful. Patients may also present with symptoms in the upper back and shoulders, as well as reporting headaches, altered vision and fatigue.

Long term consequences of progressive text neck syndrome include rounding of the shoulders, a rounded hump-like upper and mid back and eventually reduced respiratory volume. These postural changes include anterior head carriage, which is when the chin juts forward. Anterior head carriage increases the weight and stress to our necks and upper backs. A normal neutral head posture of 0 degrees correlates to 10-12 lbs of weight on our necks, whereas 45 degrees of forward head posture correlates to 49 lbs of weight to our necks! Essentially, a forward head posture of 3-5 inches adds hundreds of pounds of stress to the neck throughout the day. Years of this added stress greatly increases the potential for cervical disc herniations, as well as degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease of the neck and upper spine. Of particular concern is the long-term effects of text neck on children and adolescents who have grown up with this technology since infancy and oftentimes exceed the recommended daily amounts of screen time.

A study published in the May 2017 issue of Surgical Neurology International Journal concluded that “Musculoskeletal neck pain is a common multifactorial disease in children and adolescents, implying that there are numerous risk factors contributing to its development. Bending the head, neck, and shoulders over cell phones and handheld devices, along with distorted neck positioning when sitting, studying, and watching television, can lead to incrementally increased stresses in the cervical spine area. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries. Other developmental, medical, psychological, and social complications are also of concern.

While it is nearly impossible to avoid the habits and technologies that cause these issues, young individuals should make an effort to perform activities with a neutral spine and to avoid neck flexion for hours each day. Most times, children and adolescents do not know they could be doing serious long-term damage to their bodies because the short-term effects are not as noticeable. It is only later in life that the effects can seriously affect the quality of life. This increases fears that younger people, who are society’s biggest users of smartphones and tablets, could be facing a future of pain and disability, or even taking years off of their life expectancy.

Assessment of postural anomalies and evaluation of spinal and muscle dysfunction allows the chiropractor to determine the best course for corrective action. Corrections may include active release therapy of dysfunctional muscles, soft tissue release, joint mobilizations, manual traction, as well as rehabilitative stretching and strengthening exercises and ergonomic and supportive care. Raising awareness on the consequences of musculoskeletal neck pain and providing methods of prevention of treatment is the key to managing “text neck” in both kids and adults. Although smart phones, tablets and laptops will always be necessary parts of our lives, we can certainly minimize their negative effects to ourselves and to our families.

Children's Neurologists in NJ

What is Functional Neurology for Children?

What is Functional Neurology for Children?
by Dr. Marc Funderlich
April 1, 2019

Functional Neurologists who work with children take a different approach to brain-based conditions than standard Medical Pediatric Neurologists. Medical Neurology specializes in detecting tissue damage on imaging, deals with the acute care phase of traumatic brain injuries for infants and prescribes medications to change brain chemistry. In general, this approach is designed to cover up any weakness in your children brain. As Functional Neurologists, we look at the brain from a completely different perspective.

Our job is to find the things interfering with your child’s natural brain development and remove them. While this sounds easy, it is a complex process that takes time and dedication! The best way to start is by examining your child’s brain using developmental reflexes, physical tests, computer tests, and eye movements. After this exam we are able to determine if your child’s brain is immature for their age. A mismatch between brain development and actual age can lead to a disconnection in your child’s school, social, or sports performance! Once we have object evidence of your child’s disconnection, we need to figure out why that disconnection exists. Normally we do comprehensive blood work in conjunction with specialized immune testing. This allows us to see any underlying reasons why your child’s brain is not on track. Common reasons for developmental delay include in utero stress, pathogens, chemical exposure, autoimmunity, iron deficiency and inflammation. The brain needs several things for optimal development. The three things that are a must for your brain are energy, oxygen and stimulation and we deal with all of them here at Core Therapies. We use Laser Therapy and Nutrition for energy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for oxygen, and Directed Neurologic Rehabilitation for brain stimulation.

We believe that even if your child has not been diagnosed with something such as ADHD, Genetic Disorder, Seizure, Stroke, Autism, or a Developmental Delay it is still worth having your child checked. All too often parents are told that an infant missing or lagging on milestones is acceptable, that there is nothing to do to help this along. This is not true. We hear stories every day of parents being told to just wait and watch when in fact there are things that can be done. If you’d like more information about our Functional Neurology work with children, please reach out to me at drmarc@coretherapies.net.

Some FAQs about Functional Neurology at Core Therapies

Q: What age ranges do you work with?
A: Our youngest patient is 2 weeks old and we do see some teens. For intervention to work best, pre-
puberty is recommended and the earlier the better.

Q: Is there anything invasive while you work with my child?
A: No, there is nothing invasive during regular Functional Neurology sessions. Any blood draw we
request would be the most invasive part. Sometimes we can use a saliva test instead.

Q: Do you do screens on “healthy children”?
A: Yes, it is best to screen early and often for both brain development and blood chemistry!