ADHD and SLEEP #ARant
I rarely preach about what you should or should not do, but one thing I'd like to implore you to do is this... if you have a child who is exhibiting odd symptoms health-wise or is experiencing issues in school, will you please take them to a Chiropractor?
I know, I know. Chiropractors are scary! But... get over it.
I have used Chiropractors through various times in my life when my lower back was intolerable. I also have a tendency to hold a lot of stress in my shoulders and neck, and much to my husbands dismay, no amount of massage can make me feel better. (Though he tries.) While pregnant with my son Xman, I visited the Chiropractor twice a week for 5 months. I had Sciatica and was in so much pain--- pair that with carrying a baby and looking after a toddler and I was useless. The Chiropractor was my saviour (and yes, you can go see a Chiropractor when you are preggo).
The thing is, knowing how much better Chiropractors had always made me feel, I never even gave it a thought of something to do after my daughters traumatic labour and birth. She seemed healthy and normal... it was me who was a little messed up! Then, we started having breastfeeding woes and being a new first-time Mommy, I thought we just hadn't got the hang of it, that my letdown on one side was too slow for her liking, or that even, I didn't have enough milk supply. I pumped myself silly, hoping to spur on the side that my daughter went completely crazy screaming at... finally throwing in the proverbial towel 7 months in when neither of us could handle the stress of feeding times any longer. Beebo switched to formula and I felt a teensy bit like a failure, but the baby had to eat!
Fast forward seven years later...
Beebo was having some issues in school. Okay, let's not totally candy coat this-- Beebo was making life very difficult for everyone at school -- to the point we may want to say a-typical 'ADHD'. Though a smart cookie, she's a little hyper and a little excitable and after Kindergarten and half of Grade 1, I was at a complete loss of HOW she was struggling and what to do. I altered her diet and I put her to bed earlier, but the issues continued and we still had no reasons behind the actions.
When the kids were off school over Easter Break, I stumbled into old territory. If you have read my bio, you know that I have come to be known as a bit of 'sleep expert' with babies and toddlers. You tell me your issues and I can tell you how to fix it. Done and done. But whoa, what to do with a 7 years old?? Yeah, um...hmm. That morning, standing in the kitchen making tea, listening to my daughter freak out grouchily at her brother after she had barely been up and at 'em for fifteen minutes I thought, "Wow-- how can someone who slept a 12 hours night be so grouchy?" In my gut I knew... the answer to our issues was somewhere in her sleep. A twelve hours night is plenty of sleep, but only if all those hours contain QUALITY, restorative sleep (better known as 'Delta' sleep). Something had to be going on that was not allowing her to have a good nights sleep?
Really, while I had a starting point, I was sort of at a loss of where to begin? What took place next I'll attribute to a bit of luck and a never ending need to keep asking questions. While on a field trip with Xmans preschool class, one of the other Mothers and I began to chat. Her son had similar issues in school as well. I asked her questions and lots of them. She had some very interesting answers that kept firing off new questions in my head and then finally, she suggested I go see her husband, a Dentist, for a CT Scan. She said we had nothing to lose and only everything to gain--- the CT Scan would be of Beebo's head, neck, and teeth. If there were any issues with breathing and sleeping, we would have a good starting point and some referrals.
The office got us in quickly (I apparently seemed so desperate it warranted immediate action) for the scan and the answers obtained were beyond what I ever thought we'd get in one shot. Beebo was certainly having issues: her airways were inflamed from an apparent allergy (dairy/environmental), she is sleeping with her mouth open (movement of teeth, recession of jaw), her adenoids and tonsils were swollen on a 3 out of 4 scale, and both her #1 and #2 vertebrates were misaligned (likely since birth).
My mouth dropped open. How could she be living like this and we didn't even know?
But we did, right?
Seriously, it took a CT Scan to catch all that was up! I had just taken Beebo to the dentist in January (a different dentist) and no one said boo about her adenoids or tonsils. They should catch that, right? I had also taken her to our family doctor in only December for the same suspicions to be ruled out. He looked in her ears, her nose, her throat... all the same places and nope, she's good. If her tonsils were registering 3 out of 4, WHY didn't anyone notice before this scan? I am glad I continued to ask questions. I am glad that I pushed on, even when those I should trust weren't giving me the answers I needed.
Resolution: Since the CT Scan we have dropped dairy out of Beebo's diet entirely (while we wait for formal allergy testing) to see if the inflammation in her airways can calm down, we are booked for a sleep test next week (to rule out sleep apnea or oxygen deficiencies), we have started treatment with an Upper Cervical Chiropractor to realign the #1 and #2 vertebrates (they further pinch off her airway when sleeping) and we have an appointment upcoming with an E.N.T (Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist) at the Children's Hospital.
We are on the road to recovery and most importantly, a feeling better Beebo.
WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS??
Well, back to my original point. Don't disregard Chiropractic care. Birth is one of the most traumatic things a 'body' will ever go through and a trip to the Chiropractor after birth just makes sense. I especially should have taken her to be checked out when she started crying at my left breast, every single time I tried to feed her from that side. (Or, if your baby is colicky.) She was screaming at me because she was hungry and darn it, that #1 and #2 vertebrate misalignment just would not allow her into the correct position. Two interesting facts I learned recently are:
"1 in 3 children will have an upper spinal misalignment by Grade 1. The top three causes are 1) birth, 2) learning to walk and 3) learning to ride a bike."and,
"Bed-wetting may also indicate a spinal misalignment."
Somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder, if she hadn't lived 7 years of her life misaligned... would she be sleeping with her mouth open at night (loss of productive sleep) and have swollen adenoids and tonsils? And, the grand old question--- would we be having issues with school behaviours at all??
Things I will never know the answer to unfortunately, but definitely something others can benefit from knowing. That CT Scan cost us $110 out of pocket -- that's it --- and what it showed us was all the ways our little girl was suffering in silence. To look at her, you likely wouldn't have noticed that her one shoulder was lower than the other or that one of her legs slightly longer (all signs of misalignment) or that her airways were so compromised it was affecting her sleep. Aside from some bags under her eyes, she appeared totally healthy (she has never been on antibiotics or been majorly ill).
Another point I should touch on is that I am not discounting if Beebo will still have issues with her behaviour at school once we have sorted all these medical issues. Our thoughts are that once she is on the road to having a well working body, her quality of sleep will improve and the little outbursts of overtiredness will subside. ONLY then will we be able to get at the 'school issues'.
My little rant may be a bit of 'YES, go see a Chiropractor! They're good for you!' and also a, 'Don't be trapped in by the term ADHD'. As far as I am concerned, the term 'ADHD' only serves to gloss over other issues, whether they be medical or 'actual' behavioural issues. Poor SLEEP, in adults or children, can cause a world of woes on the body and we shouldn't be living our lives like we'll sleep when we're dead. We need to sleep properly NOW and always. Our body and brain function depend on it.
*I am not a doctor. If you believe any of this stuff is happening to you or your child, please seek REAL medical advice.*