Posts for tag: children
You're at your 10-year-old's soccer game and he's just collided with a member of the opposing team while fighting for a ball in the air. Unfortunately, the two hit heads and both leave the field crying, but clearly conscious. It's a youth game on an elementary-school field, so barring the presence of parent who happens to be a doctor, there's no one around to evaluate either child for a possible concussion. What to do? In many cases, both children will return to the game a few minutes later. Big mistake.
Concussions are serious whenever they occur, but unlike professional sports, when children suffer a possible concussion, there's often no one around to evaluate it properly. Here's what you can do to help identify some of the often-subtle signs of a concussion and make the informed decision to get further evaluation from a health care professional.
First, let's start with the most severe case: If a child experiences any of the following symptoms, particularly immediately after a collision or fall in which they struck their head, they need to go to the ER immediately for evaluation, according to KidsHealth.org:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache / headache that worsens
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty walking
- Confusion / not making sense
- Slurred speech
- Unresponsiveness (unable to be awakened)
Of course, many children may not display any of those symptoms following a head impact, but still be at risk for concussion, so it's important to evaluate the child with some a simple battery of initial tests that, if nothing else, will alert you to the fact that the child should a) be removed from the game; and b) seek medical attention. Here are a few of the ways you can get a sense of what may be going on. These and other variables are all part of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, which is used by health care professionals to help assess concussion symptoms:
- What month is it?
- What is the date today?
- What is the day of the week?
- What year is it?
- What time is it right now? (within one hour)
You can also ask the child questions specific to the event in which they are participating, such as:
- At what venue (field, tournament, city, etc.) are we at today?
- Which half is it now?
- Who scored last in this game?
- What team did you play last week / game? Did your team win the last game?
Give Them a List
Say a short list of words (example: apple, bubble, elbow, carpet, saddle) to the child and then have them recite the list back to you in any order. Repeat several times and assess how accurately they are able to recall all five words. You can do the same thing with a short list of numbers; or by having them recite the months of the year in reverse order.
The most important variable when it comes to determining whether your child should continue to play, be removed from play and/or be seen by a medical provider in the absence of clear symptoms (loss of consciousness, severe headache, slurred speech, etc.) may be how the child is acting compared to before the contact occurred. You know your child. If they're acting "out of sorts," err on the side of caution.
Keep in mind that the above should not be relied upon in lieu of proper evaluation by a health care provider, but if you suspect a concussion has occurred, these symptoms / signs and tests are an important first option to help determine the next step you should take. Talk to your doctor for additional information about concussions and how you can help keep your child safe on and off the field.
In the U.S., there are a minimum of 300,000 sport-related concussions per year. If your child is in contact sports, there’s a risk of the contact ending up in a concussion. In fact, research suggests that the number of documented cases of concussions among children is on the rise, and is a source of growing concern among soccer and football players.
Chiropractors may not be the first medical professional you imagine when it comes to concussion management, but many chiropractors are trained to spot the signs of a mild traumatic brain injury and support the patient in a successful recovery. Two recent literature reviews outlined how chiropractors can effectively manage athletes with concussions.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Valid for Concussion?
Chiropractors are often the first healthcare provider to care for patients who are suffering from a head injury, such as those incurred in sports or car accidents. Chiropractors, especially ones who are certified additionally by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians, regularly manage athletes who suffer from concussions.
Chiropractors use a specific assessment tool called the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) to evaluate, assess, and manage concussions in athletes 10 years and older with the end goal of safely returning the athlete back to the sport. This assessment tool is used to evaluate symptoms, physical signs, Glasgow Coma Scale, sideline assessment using Maddocks score, cognitive assessment, balance, and coordination. Vomiting Blurred Vision Stumbling Increased Confusion Unconsciousness Dilated Pupils Weakness in on arm/leg Worsening Headaches
They understand that if certain symptoms are indicators that the neurological symptoms are worsening:
- Vomiting Blurred
- Vision Stumbling
- Increased Confusion
- Dilated Pupils
- Weakness in on arm/leg
- Worsening Headaches
Because a concussion is a brain injury caused by a direct blow to the head, neck or face, there’s a good chance that the blow has caused a misalignment of the cervical spine. This is similar to whiplash causing a misalignment of the cervical spine. A chiropractor can evaluate whether you demonstrate signs of neck injuries commonly associated with concussions, and provide you with relief from neck pain and cervicogenic headaches.
According to the literature reviews, one of the most important recommendations that a chiropractor will tell you what to do for concussion is this: If your child is in sports and suffers a blow to the head, and/or experiences signs of a concussion, do not let him continue playing the sport. He or she needs to rest until totally healed from the concussion. Only after symptoms subside is it time to get back into the game. Ease into the sports play again. Don’t expect to jump back in, full force. This will prevent the return of symptoms.
Additional guidelines your chiropractor will give you for concussion include no alcohol, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, and sleep agents should be taken. Use Tylenol for pain if necessary. Do not drive until you can return to the sport.
In the meantime, your chiropractor will care for your child’s cervical spine and condition. If your child needs to be referred out to another health professional, your chiropractor will let you know.
Now let’s ask the question again. Chiropractic care for concussion? Absolutely?
Chiropractors can help with a range of other sports injuries, and one study even found that it was the most effective conservative method for reducing sports-related back pain.
Johnson, C.D., et al. Chiropractic and concussion in sport: a narrative review of the literature.Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12):216-229.
Shane, E.R., et al. Sports Chiropractic management of concussions using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 symptom scoring, serial examinations, and graded return to play protocol: a retrospective case series. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12): 252-9.
Parents in my clinic are always asking about how to keep their children healthy. I am a fundamentalist by nature in the sense that I think the day to day little things affect their health the most.
In my opinion, the top three main aspects that I think may impact a child's health are the following:
- Nutrition: food is the foundation of health and cellular function. Rates of childhood obesity are high. Healthy non-processed foods should be a top priority for parents. Nowadays, there are so many pre-prepared food options that are made from whole natural unprocessed foods that even if you have no time to cook, try checking out the grocery stores around you...you just might be surprised.
- Exercise and activities: instilling exercise and movement into a child's daily repertoire is essential to their long term health. Children who do not grow up thinking that they should be active daily, may have a harder time being active later on. So, encourage your kids to go out and run around with friends or be active at school or even doing exercise DVDs at home with you. The point is that children need to learn that being active on most days of the week should be a norm and not a rarity.
- Chemical exposures: cleaning supplies and toxins in the home and in our foods can significantly impact our children. I would strongly recommend using organic cleaning supplies in areas where your children regularly occupy. I would also suggest organic foods if it's financially possible. Chemicals in vaccines and any concerns about that need to be addressed with your pediatrician but typically, the concerns can be reasonably addressed once you get the dialogue going with your doctor.
When it comes down to it, these factors can significantly impact your children's health. But ultimately, your relationship with your children are equally, if not, more importantly a factor of their health.
So, in regards to these 3 factors, maybe using them as ways to spend time with your children is even a better idea. Having them help you shop for healthy foods and cooking with them or going biking with them or exercising with them or doing house chores with them with organic cleaning supplies would be a good way to spend quality time with your children.
Because no matter what they eat or are exposed to, what healthy children all have in common are parents who are able to spend time with them and guide them and help them learn the limitations of what's right and wrong.
So, since you are reading this article, my guess is that you are already one of those great parents who care about their children and spending time with them daily to help guide them is something you are already doing. In that case, I think your children are lucky to have you and your children will be fine as long as you keep on doing what you're doing.
Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit www.makinghealthyez.com.
By Editorial Staff
While it's not healthy for a child to be underweight at birth and during the first few years of life, being overweight is rarely a good thing, particularly since research suggests it plants the seeds for weight problems. That's why a recent study that links antibiotic use during infancy to excess weight is so compelling.
The study, results of which were published in the International Journal of Obesity, suggests infants who receive antibiotics during the earliest time window (first six months of life) are more likely to have increased body mass index (BMI) from 10-38 months of age compared to infants who receive no antibiotic exposure.
What's interesting about this issue is that antibiotic use remains widespread, even in infants and young children, despite ongoing evidence that a) the most common infant / childhood infection, the common cold, is viral in nature and thus does not require antibiotics, which are intended to treat bacterial infections; and b) many doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics for viral conditions despite their ineffectiveness – apparently to placate the concerned parent.
For example, according to one study, "acute sinusitis is diagnosed in over 3 million visits annually among adults and children in the United States. Of these, more than 80% result in an antibiotic prescription; however, many of these prescriptions may be unnecessary, since sinusitis is most often of viral origin and benefits of antibiotics may be limited."
Weight gain isn't the only negative consequence of early antibiotic use. Another study examined the relationship between when children first took antibiotics and the likelihood they would develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study found that the earlier a child first took antibiotics, the greater their chance of developing IBD. Children who took two or more courses of antibiotics increased their chances of IBD almost 150% over those who took a single course of antibiotics.
The message is simple: When it comes to antibiotics, don't just take your doctor's word for it, particularly when it involves your child. What seems like a simple prescription may have health consequences that far outweigh (no pun intended) the potential benefits.
It's all parents can do these days to keep their overstimulated, technology-crazed children from spending all day on their smartphones, laptops, tablets and video game consoles. While technology continues to improve our lives in many ways, not the least of which is our ability to access information – a good thing when raising our children, if appropriately managed – a major drawback of the same technology is repetitive-stress injuries. Hour after endless hour typing, texting and scrolling can put the arms and wrists in particular at risk for injury; not to mention how poor posture caused by hunching over a keyboard or peering into a tiny screen can impact the back, neck and shoulders.
Case in point: A recent study of teens (12-16 years old) found that "compared with those using the computer less than 3.6 hours / week, computer use of ≥ 14 hours / week was associated with moderate/severe increase in computer-associated musculoskeletal pain at all anatomic sites, and moderate / severe inconvenience to everyday life due to low back and head pain."
You might think that 14 hours a week or more of computer use is a little extreme, but not if you consider that's only two hours a day. Teens in particular likely spend that much, if not much more, on a computer every day, whether doing homework or browsing the Internet.
Solving the problem involves several strategies:
- Limit screen time whenever possible, or at least limit the amount of time your teen spends on the computer at any given stretch.
- Speaking of stretching, teach them to take breaks every 1/2 hour or so to stretch and ensure they haven't been sitting in one position for too long.
- Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the best ways to minimize injury risk. Your chiropractor can give you and your teen advice on proper posture and other tips for avoiding pain in the Age of Technology.