It's amazing how easy it is to get off your routine. Every week, I sit down to write one of these and then I skip one week and it's tough to get back into the routine. Nevertheless, it's a new year, I'm re-dedicating myself to making sure I uphold the weekly part of the well-being title. I want to start by wishing everyone a happy new year. I hope 2011 is a great year for you.

One thing that I had an opportunity to do in the latter part of 2010 is start seeing more kids in the office. It's very rewarding to see kids make their usually pretty quick turnarounds, or even to notice little differences (like being able to wink for the first time). So, that's why I want to start today by briefly talking about ear infections and the antibiotics typically prescribed to combat them.

Ear Infections and Anti-Biotics = An Unnecessary Combo

Did you know that the American Academy for Pediatrics clearly states that a child should be observed up to three days after diagnosis of an ear infection to see if it will go away on its own? Most of the time, it will. So, why do so many docs immediately recommend an aggressive course of anti-biotics for something clinically proven to go away on its own? The consequences of taking anti-biotics can often be (quietly) worse than the ear infection itself. Look at the words anti and bio. Anti means the opposite of and bio means life. Is it a good idea to feed your kids pills or give them shots of the opposite of life?

There are numerous common childhood conditions that have somewhat puzzling traditional treatment protocols. Or, in some cases, there's no protocol when there are proven "alternative" methods. Take Scoliosis, for instance...

Scoliosis

The term scoliosis comes from the Greek word meaning "crooked" and it is a spinal disorder that affects nearly 20 million people. Often screened for in schools, it is a condition in which the spine curves from side to side forming a "C" or an "S" shape instead of the normal straight line. Continuing from the above, the protocol for its treatment is often just observing it over a period of time to make sure it doesn't get any worse. There's also a physical therapy regimen and a surgical procedure that often involves the insertion of steel rods into the body.

The problem with the above protocols is that they don't address an issue of the utmost importance: the cause of scoliosis. While the popular opinion is that scoliosis has no known cause (in most cases), the reality is that it has (for most) a very simple cause: trauma. The spine sits a certain way until something causes that position to change. There are numerous traumas that occur in early childhood or prior to that can prompt that change. The birthing process, the thousands of falls over the first few years, learning to walk, playing with friends, learning to play sports, climbing then falling out of trees, falling off your bike, etc.

The foundation of the spine is the top of the neck. Wherever it goes, the rest of the spine follows. When the aforementioned traumas occur, the top of the neck is the most susceptible to injury or misalignment because it lacks any interlocking joint to hold it securely in place. Thus, the top of the spine is where the initial misalignment occurs and - because it is the foundation - its shift causes the rest of the spine to shift. If that foundational misalignment is not addressed, the rest of the spine will continue to shift and a curve that should not be there develops.
Ideally, then, scoliosis is a condition that can usually be prevented. Prevention (i.e. not having it at all) is the best route. That is not to say, however, that the condition cannot be reversed. Once that foundational issue at the top of the neck that causes the rest of the spine to shift is corrected, then the rest of the body will slowly but surely shift back toward normal. Keep in mind, though, that the longer the scoliotic curve is present, the longer it will take to make a significant improvement and the less likely it will be that it can ever get back to 100% normal.

Thinking good things for you, as always,

Dr. Chad