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Is Your or Your Child's Gas Pedal Stuck on?

Have you ever wondered why your colicky baby can’t seem to calm down no matter what you try, whether singing, swaying, or swaddling? Or why your toddler or young child has tantrums that are tough to tame or meltdowns challenging to redirect? If your child has autism, ADHD, and anxiety, they may struggle to regulate their emotions in certain situations.

And as a parent, do you ever feel like your stress levels are in the stratosphere, making it hard to relax and fall asleep?

If this sounds familiar, you or your child may be stuck in fight or flight mode. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS), responsible for activating the body’s fight or flight stress response, controls essential functions such as our adrenal glands, cortisol levels, and inflammation.

Our Body’s Protective Response

The fight or flight response is a natural reaction designed to help us survive in the face of potential threats or danger. Think of it as a biological alarm system that prepares us to respond quickly when needed, such as if we were being chased. However, it’s equally important for this response to be switched “off” once the threat has passed.

Striking a balance between readiness and relaxation ensures that we don’t remain in a constant state of heightened alertness, which can put unnecessary stress on our nervous system. When this balance is disrupted, especially in kids, it can lead to various challenges.

The Sympathetic Nervous System and Kids

Children are meant to spend most of their time in the parasympathetic “growth and development” mode, not in constant fight or flight. In the parasympathetic mode, their bodies can grow, learn, and thrive. It’s the ideal setting for healthy development.

However, when the sympathetic nervous system becomes persistently activated, kids can experience various issues, such as colic in infants, making it difficult to settle and sleep. As children grow, the signs of an overactive SNS become more apparent, including constipation, frequent meltdowns, behavioral issues, sensory challenges, and more.

Developmental Delays and Neurological Challenges

The continuous activation of the sympathetic nervous system is one of the significant factors contributing to developmental delays and neurological disorders in children. It’s like having a car with a jammed accelerator that’s constantly revving in overdrive.

This overactivity can worsen conditions like autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and anxiety. When a little one’s nervous system struggles to switch back to the calm and restorative parasympathetic mode, it burdens their physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

“As chiropractors, we use the term ‘subluxation’ to describe a situation where the body’s stress response gets stuck in the ‘on’ position. It’s as if the alarm is continuously ringing, and the body remains in a perpetual state of readiness,” said Eden Prairie chiropractor Dr. ShaRhae Matousek.

Dysautonomia and Finding Balance

Dysautonomia refers to an imbalance within the autonomic and central nervous system. It’s a condition where the body struggles to maintain equilibrium, often with excessive sympathetic overdrive. This can lead to a wide range of physical and emotional health challenges, especially in developing children.

To identify and measure the extent of a dysregulated nervous system, we use cutting-edge technology called INSiGHT scans, which pinpoint the presence of sympathetic overactivity and provide precise locations of major subluxations that may be contributing to the issue.

Knowing the areas affected, Dr. Matousek can create a custom care plan to help the body regain its natural balance. This personalized approach is a game-changer for children and their families who have struggled with the consequences of a continuously activated SNS.

If your child seems stuck in fight or flight mode, we’re here to provide hope and help. Contact us today to book a pediatric chiropractic appointment with Dr. Matousek! We can also help busy parents dial down the stress response in their lives with chiropractic care.


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