Posted tagged ‘children’

Kids’ Fitness: Stronger Muscles Now Signal Better Health Later

December 14, 2015

Preteens are often not the most “forward looking” of individuals. This is why they tend to focus on “here and now” goals—the ones with an immediate payoff—rather than on longer-term ones. When preteens participate in sports or other forms of exercise, the activity itself is usually the reward. For most of them, it’s about having fun and building skills. For some, it may also be about being more attractive, more popular, and more involved with their peers. But it’s NOT typically about their health.

But here’s the interesting thing: The fact that they’re involved in physical activities that help (even incidentally) to build strength now actually increases the likelihood that they will be healthier adults later. That is the essential finding of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Working with over 1,400 sixth-graders, the researchers found that those with the strongest muscles had healthier blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body-fat levels than those who were weaker.

The preteens’ strength was tested using a standardized hand-grip exercise. Blood tests were then performed to detect the kids’ risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Greater strength was associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar. In addition, the preteens with greater strength had lower levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and higher levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol.


These results were directly tied to muscle strength. They remained consistent even when the researchers factored in whether the kids were slimmer, or more physically active. As researcher Paul Gordon says in the study, “Even when you factor in these other things, that association with strength is still there.”
Gordon was quick to point out that their results don’t prove that stronger muscles lead directly to better health, just that they “shed light on the fact that strength may be just as important a predictor of kids’ [health] as aerobic fitness.” The students in the study were divided on the basis of their hand-grip strength into groups of low, moderate, and high strength. Kids in the high strength group had LDL levels that were 10 points lower, and triglyceride levels that were 20-30 points lower than those in the low strength group.

Although kids’ cholesterol levels and blood pressure may not be an immediate health issue for them, Gordon points out that “Kids with risk factors tend to become young adults with risk factors.” Thus, if preteens can be encouraged to participate in more strength-building sports and exercises, they can possibly develop health patterns that will continue into adulthood. This doesn’t mean that kids should be encouraged to “pump iron,” merely that they should engage in more strength training activities.

Many studies have indicated that the combination of strength training and aerobic exercise work better than either of the two alone in reducing weight and blood-sugar levels. This study seems to show that strength training in the young can reduce their adult risk of heart disease and diabetes as well.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Teens, Back Pain and Chiropractic Care

December 10, 2015

Looking at the big picture, low back pain is a big problem. The condition affects more than 600 million people worldwide, including over one-third of all Americans—more than the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. The financial burden (medical care plus lost productivity) caused by chronic lower back pain in America exceeds $550 billion annually.

That said, one of the saddest aspects of chronic lower back pain is that it doesn’t discriminate between adults and children. And in an era when teens’ musculoskeletal systems are particularly at risk because of reduced physical activity and poor posture (thanks to heavy school backpacks, improper sitting ergonomics and lots of time spent on mobile devices), this problem is only growing larger. In addition, a number of studies have already indicated that lower back pain in adolescents is strongly associated with the development of chronic lower back pain later in life. That’s the bad news for teens. However, the good news is that those adolescents who have been successfully treated to eliminate lower back pain in their youth have a lower risk of developing chronic lower back pain as they grow older.


So it’s natural that the medical community is keenly interested in learning which treatments are most successful in terms of eliminating the lower back pain itself and in preventing it from recurring later in life. This interest led to a recent study. The aim of the study was to determine which of the commonly-available treatment methodologies were most effective. To determine this, researchers performed a meta-analysis of existing studies published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese to measure which of the treatments used in these studies produced the most consistently positive outcomes in terms of pain, disability, flexibility, endurance, and mental health. The researchers found studies that produced data for 11 treatment groups and 5 control groups involving a total of 334 children and adolescents, and then compared the data.

Their findings were both strong and definitive. Of all the treatment methodologies used in the individual studies, the ones most effective in producing short-term and long-term positive outcomes in the five areas studied were those that involved therapeutic physical conditioning and manual therapy. That is, treatments provided by “hands on” practitioners such as chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists.

These therapies, commonly involving joint and spinal manipulation and ultrasound treatment to reduce pain, were subjectively found to be more effective by the patients than other treatments. The patients’ subjective analysis was confirmed in most of the studies by clinician assessments. Naturally, these “manual therapy” treatment options were preferable in many other ways as well, because they avoided reliance on potentially addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, epidural steroid injections, and surgery.


These findings confirm what Doctors of Chiropractic have observed in their own clinics. Over the years, we have seen many patients (of all ages) benefit from the manual therapies we use to provide relief for their lower back pain. So if you (or your children) experience lower back pain—whether occasional or chronic—contact your chiropractor and ask him or her to explain to you the treatment options available, and what they can do to relieve your symptoms and allow you to enjoy life free from pain once again.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

A Note to Parents About Physical Rehabilitation and Young Athletes

May 16, 2014

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article noting that “More than 3.5 million children a year receive treatment for a sports injury.” Given this statistic, it’s important for parents to understand that young athletes require a different approach to rehabilitation than adults do.

Why is this? Primarily because children are still growing and their bones, cartilage and connective tissues are not fully developed. Youngsters whose bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still changing can be more prone to suffer musculoskeletal injuries from overuse or acute trauma. When it comes to treating sports injuries in young athletes, physical therapy needs to take these facts into account.


Injuries from overuse continue to rise. Baseball and softball injuries to the shoulder and elbow have jumped by 500% since the year 2000. Very young baseball and softball pitchers (ages 9–14) have greater risk of overuse damage because their elbow joint is not fully developed. Ignoring pitch count limits and incorrect biomechanics can increase the risk.

Middle School vs. High School Athletes
As you example above suggests, children in different age groups have differing risks. This applies to all physical activities. This is why middle school children should restrict their repetitive activities to prevent any overuse injuries. Their age alone puts these younger children at greater risk from such harm.

The Short Story on Rehabilitation
The objective of all therapy is to return the young athlete to health as soon as possible and to determine when it will be safe to resume athletic activities. Because of the differences between middle school and high school children, rehabilitation for younger athletes should de-emphasize certain repetitive aspects of physical therapy to prevent additional injuries from overuse. In addition, the focus for these children should not be on returning the young athlete to their sport, but on thorough healing.

Whatever the sport, the role of a well-trained physical therapist or sports chiropractor can go beyond simply helping with recovery. He or she can also help prevent future injuries and improve a young athlete’s performance. The rehabilitation process itself can teach the young athlete some very important lessons about how to care for his or her body and develop training habits that will improve performance and reduce risk. A well-rounded therapeutic approach will expose a patient to concepts in several areas, including the following:
• Good nutrition and hydration
• Good sleep habits
• Strength
• Endurance
• Balance
• Flexibility and range of motion
• Speed
• Coordination
• Correct biomechanics

Of course, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. It’s a good idea for parents, coaches and healthcare professionals to expose young athletes to these concepts BEFORE they’re injured. That said, no amount of teaching and preparation can guarantee that a child won’t suffer some type of sports-related injury. If and when this happens, it’s important to work closely with your physical therapist or sports chiropractor so that your child gets the maximum benefit from his or her time in rehab

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Spinal Screenings for Infants and Children

January 24, 2014


Tips for Raising More Active Kids

July 16, 2013

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With rates of childhood obesity at epidemic levels, there has been a greater push to get children to eat healthier and be more active. Diet is an important part of raising healthy children, but so is exercise. Unfortunately, many areas of the country have had their educational budgets cut to the point where physical education programs are being sharply reduced or even eliminated. Many schools are also shortening recess periods in an effort to increase instruction time. Combine these developments with the fact that many kids get little or no physical activity at home, and it’s easy to see why exercise has become a focus in the effort to curb childhood obesity rates.
Frances Berg, an expert in childhood obesity, says “Because young children naturally move around a lot, many people assume they are getting all the physical activity they need. But today TV and videos often keep them still for longer periods than parents realize.” And any parent knows how difficult it can be to tear kids away from the TV or computer. The trick is to make the alternatives interesting for them. Berg says, “Physical activity should be a fun part of daily life and never forced. If children begin to associate being active with having fun, they’re more likely to stay active as they grow up.” Following are a few tips for raising more active kids.
• Limit electronics– Time sitting in front of the TV or computer should be limited. Children should spend no more than an hour or two of each day with these devices. One way of keeping them active while playing a video game is to invest in a Wii, which at least gets them up and moving.
• Start a garden – Gardening is very active work, and kids love to watch the seeds they planted grow.
• Walk or bike to school – It’s a great way of getting exercise at least twice a day, and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic! It’s also a good time to hear about your child’s concerns or talk about how their day went.
• Wash the car together ¬– Kids love playing around with water and suds, and in the end you’ll have a clean car too.
• Take a hike – Pack a healthy picnic lunch and go for a hike with your kids. You can make it more interesting for them by having them be on the lookout for certain birds or animals as you hike.
• Dance around the house ¬– Put some music on while preparing dinner and dance around the kitchen with your kids.
• Throw a ball or Frisbee – Not only will it provide fun exercise, it will build eye-hand coordination as well.
• Set a good example – Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far from the entrance to a store, etc. This will get your kids in the habit of being more active.
Encouraging your children to be more active will help to burn off the excess energy they have, making them happier and more able to focus during quiet times. It will also help them build healthier lifestyle habits for the future!

Contact Dr. Carlisle if you need help getting your kids adjusted to a healthy lifestyle at (404) 264-9553 (Buckhead) and (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta).

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