Unlocking the body's ability to heal itself

By Dr Guy Ashburner | August 1, 2017

Unlocking the body's ability to heal itself

Every parent wants a healthy child, and a functioning immune system is one of the keys to a healthy child who will resist infections, allergies, and chronic illnesses. A healthy immune system is resilient to disease and infection.

Some children may be repetitively affected by infections, colds, flu, ear infections and respiratory infections. When the immune system is weakened or compromised, disease and infection are given a chance to manifest themselves. With a poor immune system, the body has difficulty clearing bacteria to which it is exposed through the oral and nasal passages. This congestion may lead to an increase in bacteria and viruses in the respiratory system, and the child is likely to be predisposed to a reoccurrence of colds, tonsillitis, sinusitis, ear infection, and bronchitis.

Spinal Mobility

The natural process of birth may leave a negative effect on babies. Considerable mechanical compressive forces and trauma at birth are exerted on an infant’s neck, spine and skull by uterine contractions and extraction. These pressurising forces may result in stress on the neck, spine, nerves, muscles and skull. When spinal joints lose mobility or are out of normal position, this may cause localised physiological changes such as poor lymphatic drainage and inflammation that can create pressure on adjacent nerves. This may affect the health and function of virtually every other tissue, organ and system of the body. However, trauma and structural change may not cause immediate noticeable symptoms. When spinal problems are left untreated, the body begins to change and adapt, trying to compensate for the problem. This may affect for your child’s future health.

Changes in spinal mobility, bad posture and scoliosis, can develop at any age - even in babies, young children or adolescence - and especially during periods of rapid growth. Signs of spinal trouble may include prolonged crying and irritability, difficulty breastfeeding, trouble lying on back, tilting the head, neck sensitivity, signs of swelling or pain and in older children, complaints of headache, backache or pain in the arms or legs. During growth, the spine may receive varying degrees of trauma through falls as we learn to walk, being thrown up and down in the air by an unwitting parent, falls off a bike, trampolining  and sports injuries, or through poor posture. Be watchful for signs of spinal problems. A lifetime of good, or ill, health begins at birth and is established in our childhood.

The immune system

The immune system consists of the tonsils, adenoids, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, appendix, Peyer’s patches, lymph nodes, and circulating white blood cells,all of which are reliant on a good communication between the nervous system and the immune system. Interruption to these neural messages may influence the physiology of the immune system. If our nervous system is not functioning properly then the immune system cannot function properly, making our bodies susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and other illnesses that it can normally fight off.

The common cold helps put the developing immune system through its paces. However, complications of colds - sinus infections, bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia -  are the problem. It is in the prevention of these complications that osteopathic treatment can be so beneficial.

Addressing structural disturbances

The common cold may cause enlargement of lymph glands and congestion in muscles and greater compromise of the lymphatic and venous drainage is more likely to occur if there is preexisting muscular tension, fascial restrictions and spinal immobility.  Even needed white blood cells are less able to get to the infected areas when muscles are too tense. This level of compromise in the muscles can lead to spinal joint immobility and rib head misalignment further compromising the respiratory health. Osteopathic treatment addresses these structural disturbances by allowing the body to mount a much more effective response to illness and a quicker recovery.

When a cold tends to develop in to more serious breathing issues, such as asthma, osteopathic treatment can be aimed at restoring rib and diaphragm mobility and improving the lymphatic and venous drainage that allows the cold to resolve without asthma. Individuals who have used medications heavily to address asthmatic symptoms often find that osteopathic treatment addresses the underlying structural disturbances so effectively that their medication use reduces dramatically.

Ensuring rib and diaphragm motion enhances lymphatic drainage, circulation and immune function, which in turn aids in the prevention and recovery from all respiratory illnesses. If the nervous system is functioning well, the likelihood of your child getting an infection is reduced. Natural prevention is always better than the cure.

A study published in June of 2015 illustrates the link between the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) and the lymphatic system*. These connections between the musculoskeletal system, central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) and lymphatic system help to explain how osteopathic treatment may improve the function of the immune system.

The body’s ability to heal itself

The body has the inherent ability to heal itself. An osteopath’s role is to unlock the doors and ensure that the fluid channels and nerve pathways are open to potentiate the body’s ability to heal. The health of the nervous system is a major component in maintaining the physiological balance (homeostasis) within the body. Long-term stress can cause the nervous system to become hypersensitive and over react, causing damage to our bodies and compromising our immune systems. Osteopathic treatment can help calm or defacilitate the nervous system.

The guiding principle of Osteopathy is that within each one of us are inherent self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms. Osteopaths evaluate and treat spinal dysfunction using detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology. The goal of osteopathy is to find and correct interferences to the body’s own natural state of good health, not just to treat symptoms.

Osteopathic treatment can improve the function of the diaphragm, ribs and lung motion to increase the opportunity for oxygenated blood to move through the infection and promote lymphatic drainage. This will help the body overcome the imbalance of the infection which can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, pain and shortness of breath.

Source: Baby’s and beyond.


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