Dr. Jenny Brocker is a Board Certified Pediatric Chiropractor with Portland Chiropractic Group. In this episode she chats with Dr. Stafford to touch on several topics:
The benefits of chiropractic care for kids
How techniques are modified for a younger population
Specifics about crawling as it relates to overall development
Common issues where chiropractic care make a big difference
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Dr. Stafford: Hi, I'm Dr. Michelle Stafford here at World of Smiles, with our Mixed Dentition Podcast. Today, my special guest is Dr. Jenny Brocker. Welcome.
Dr. Jenny: Thank you.
Dr. Stafford: She is with the Portland Chiropractic Group.
Dr. Jenny: That's true.
Dr. Stafford: You are a pediatric chiropractor. We actually met, would've been a little more than seven years ago, now, because my oldest son just turned seven. Well actually met earlier than that, yeah.
Dr. Jenny: Well, actually, even more than that, yeah, because I brought my kids. My kids have seen you since my oldest was two years old and she's 12 now so it's been even more than that. Yeah, it's crazy.
Dr. Stafford: So you brought your kids to me and then I brought myself to you. So my first son was breech, and we were trying everything we could to flip him over so that he was head down and that was one of the reasons why I started seeing you. But then after he was born, he was actually severely tongue tied, which took me on this amazing journey into Frenectomy land. So my son was tongue tied, long story short, my son was tongue tied and I felt very passionate about nursing home so we had him clipped and then I decided go do the research myself and start performing Frenectomies on infants and taking courses and using the laser and doing all that.
Dr. Stafford: But after having him treated, I brought my newborn baby to you in order to do some craniosacral work for him and that's what I wanted to talk about a little bit today. So tell our audience about the benefits of bringing newborns and how that can help with breastfeeding.
Dr. Jenny: Well certainly any newborn could benefit from having at least a check up chiropractically and craniosacrally because birth is hard. It's hard on everybody and you never know what's going to start to impact the way that a baby's body is functioning and so we can definitely check on those things as early as possible and get them out of the way so that their bodies can develop and they can grow and develop the way that they're designed to.
Dr. Jenny: But especially when it comes to any sort of nursing dysfunction or the other one that I'm really passionate about with babies is colic. There's not a lot of treatments available out there for colicky babies. You know, there's a lot of advice of just you know, find a support system and get through it and maybe try these drops or maybe try this you know, other thing. But there's not a lot that really you can offer parents for their really sad crying babies, and chiropractic is definitely something that has really shown to benefit colicky babies. And so I love treating babies that are crying all the time so that I can help make them feel better and by helping making the baby feel better, you can help make everybody feel better. Parents, siblings, caregivers, everyone whose touching that baby.
Dr. Jenny: But aside from colic, the nursing piece is a big one and even when they do have an oral restriction, there's a lot of compensations that develop in their bodies quickly because nursing is life. They have to nurse to live. You know, they have to be able to eat and so their bodies will really quickly develop a way around that restriction and sometimes those will fall by the wayside as soon as those restrictions are released but not always and that's where the chiropractic care, and the craniosacral care can help release those restrictions so that they can continue to successfully nurse, aside from having the restrictions released and improve their nursing relationship so that mom is comfortable and baby's comfortable, and they can nurse for however long they choose.
Dr. Stafford: Yes, so for our audience, describe how chiropractic treatment works on a newborn or on a small child.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, so I get a lot of questions about this because it is a really, really different application. The idea behind what we're doing is the same as it would be for treating anybody. We want to make sure that there's no restrictions in the spinal joints and additionally performing craniosacral therapy in the cranial joints that impacts the way the body grows and functions and develops and the application is just vastly different because their bodies are so small and their joints are so small, we really use a very light touch. It's very gentle, especially the cranial work is very gentle.
Dr. Jenny: Babies often lay on the table and fall asleep during the treatment because it is so calming and relaxing. The adjustments are very, very tiny. I just use a tiny contact on my thumb with almost no force at all in order to just lift the joints open, so all aspects of the care, actually quite gentle. If anyone's ever been to a chiropractor, as an adult, sometimes there is quite a bit more force involved in those adjustments and that's just because you're bigger and you have to use more force to get through all the muscles and the tissue.
Dr. Jenny: But babies are tiny and they're so brand new, that they don't need that much input into their bodies for their bodies to want to work the way it's supposed to. You don't have to deal too much around their stress and their emotions and their work and their posture the way you do with adults or even older children. So it's a quite gentle treatment and usually very effective. It's usually just a few visits that we can really make some big changes for their bodies.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah, it's wonderful. I've seen some major improvements with my own children and their ability just to be able to open their mouth wider and positioning for nursing or even with bottle feeding, just being able to open their mouth a little bigger in order to be able to take in either the breasts or the bottle nipple in order to get a better feeding.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah and it's interesting too because you know, a lot of times we think about nursing being related just to the oral side of things and not being able to nurse being related to oral function. But even just being comfortable in a nursing position, sometimes is all it takes. You know, if baby has a favorite head position, or a side that they don't want to turn their head to, that alone can affect a nursing position and nursing comfort. And so being able to just quickly take that out of the way is an easy way to make it so that breastfeeding is comfortable for everybody and works for as long as people want to.
Dr. Stafford: Right and I found with my oldest who was breech, his head was locked here and the theory is kind of his head was kind of in one spot and turned in a certain position for most of the time where he was growing and developing and so bringing him to you early on, was very beneficial because you were able to make sure he had full range of motion-
Dr. Jenny: Absolutely.
Dr. Stafford: With his neck and head, so I appreciate that.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, awesome. It's been so fun to watch ... That's one of the you know, one of the things I really love about you know, treating babies and kids and I'm sure you see this too, is just watching them grow, you know, watching them grow and develop and seeing what their personalities become as they get bigger, so it's a really fun aspect of pediatric care that I really hold dear to my heart.
Dr. Stafford: I know me too. I love watching like your daughter that's now 12 and I'm like, oh gosh, she's 12, I just love it. It's like her own person, I love it.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, totally.
Dr. Stafford: Another thing that I wanted to talk to you about is the new toddler that's starting to crawl, because they're kind of past infancy once they're crawling. But there's a certain way of crawling if you wanted to describe that, and some things that you can look for as a parent.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, so crawling is a really, really important developmental milestone. It's not only important developmentally for motor skills, but it's really extremely important. They're finding more and more research is showing that it's very important for neurological development. So as babies continue to grow and their nervous system is developing, there's a really specific way that's supposed to happen and crawling plays a really major role in that.
Dr. Jenny: So the way that a baby's body is designed to crawl is with both hands and both knees on the floor and in a cross crawl pattern which means that your opposite hand and your opposite knee are moving forward at the same time and vice versa with your right and your left. And that creates some patterning in your brain that tells the right side of your brain and the left side of your brain how to communicate with each other, because your brain has different parts that function differently, so different areas that have different functions. And so it's really important that all of those pieces connect and crawling they're finding more and more research is showing that crawling is a huge part of that patterning and that development.
Dr. Jenny: So if a baby starts to crawl with an odd pattern either not with both knees on the ground or not with both hands on the ground, or even kind of one of the ways that is sort of the least productive crawling position is scooting on your bottom. There's absolutely no real cross patterning or neurological input that happens in that kind of pattern crawling and so it's really important that we get babies into those good crawling positions. We encourage their crawling to be for as long as possible because it's such a huge part of their brain development later on.
Dr. Jenny: So one of the things that you can look out for is a lot of times, babies who don't get into good crawling positions do have a restriction somewhere in their lower body. Either in their pelvis or in their lower back that's affecting their comfort being in that position and I think we all know that if you're not comfortable, you're not going to do it. So a lot of times, babies will find a way around that. You know like I said, babies are hugely adaptable and they will find a way to do what they want to do, whether it's beneficial for their body or not. Because at that point, they have no idea.
Dr. Jenny: And so looking for that kind of asymmetrical crawling pattern is really important to catch it early and to seek out treatments so that we can get that moving the way it's supposed to, and get their crawling pattern normalized so that their brain development happens the way it's supposed to.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that so fascinates me. I love learning about that kind of brain development and cross patterning as you were talking about so, it's so important to look for in our small children.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Dr. Stafford: Fix it as soon as possible.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, the sooner you can get to things, you know, the easier it is to fix, you know. There's ways to get around and your body develops patterns really easily that are sometimes really hard to talk your body out of.
Dr. Stafford: Right.
Dr. Jenny: So if we can keep those patterns from developing, it's just kind of an easier way to live.
Dr. Stafford: Yes, agreed. So what kind of advice do you offer parents or what kind of advice can you offer our audience?
Dr. Jenny: Well I would say that the things that we most commonly see in chiropractic pediatrics are things that are quality of life concerns and so you know, I'm not here to replace the pediatrician. We require all of our patients to have a pediatrician for those emergency situations where they need an antibiotic, or they've fallen and broken their arm. That's not my area of expertise and so you know, the two professions dovetail really well together and so chiropractic pediatrics is all about working on those quality of life things. Like I said, colic and nursing dysfunction.
Dr. Jenny: Sometime sleep can even be improved, attitudes overall and things like that where there's not a medicine you can take necessarily for that. And if we can treat it naturally without a medicine, that's kind of the way I'd like to do it.
Dr. Stafford: Me too.
Dr. Jenny: And so it can help stimulate the immune system and help keep babies healthier and like I said, help with development. Just making sure that growth and development happens as best as it can, so if they ever have a concern, if a parent ever has a concern about you know, anything that's affecting the quality of the life of the family or the child, that's certainly something that you could reach out about.
Dr. Stafford: Great. And where can our audience find you?
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, so I'm at Portland Chiropractic Group which is on 20th and East Burnside, 2031 East Burnside Street and I'm there four days a week and some Saturdays.
Dr. Stafford: And your website?
Dr. Jenny: It's www.portlandchiropracticgroup.com.
Dr. Stafford: Wonderful and we will link to that in our notes as well, so thank you Jenny, it was really great having you on the show.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, thank you.
Dr. Stafford: And great to see you and for all your work in treating all of our families, I really appreciate that.
Dr. Jenny: Yeah, of course, me too, same. All the same.
Dr. Stafford: And for all you listeners out there, thanks for tuning in and remember fill the world with smiles.