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I saw kids, from infants to teens, in Dr. Stussy's waiting room. Some parents consider chiropractic on par with dental care and bring their kids in for regular adjustments to maintain their good health. Care can begin as early as infancy.
According to Dr. Stussy, serious spinal problems can result from birth trauma. "Kids fall at least 3,000 times before they walk," he added. These potential injuries to the spine can result in a wide range of childhood and adult ailments, including colds, rashes, flu, and "growing pains." In addition, colic, bedwetting, hyperactivity, asthma, and upset stomachs can be remedied by chiropractic care, according to Dr. Stussy and his colleagues.
The main reason parents should look into chiropractic care for their kids is to ensure that they "have the best possible nervous system for whatever life might bring about" says Stussy, who adds that there is a lot of research on the benefits of having a healthy nervous system. Like many chiropractors, he's an advocate of giving children fewer drugs. "For a long time, chiropractors have said we should not be using antibiotics so freely with children. Now we're seeing the incidence of superbugs, since the strains of some illnesses have become much stronger." He added that there is evidence in medical journals that ear tubes to alleviate ear infections in children are worthless.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Stussy has provided chiropractic care to his own children, daughters now ages twenty-two and fourteen. And his wife has benefited from his care as well. He attributes his daughters' health and wife's miraculous deliveries, 2.0 and 1.15 hours respectively, to regular chiropractic care. He treated his youngest daughter minutes after her birth. The oldest was a gymnast who never missed an event due to injury. "Others would miss meets, even kids of traditional doctors," he says a bit smugly.
Benefits of chiropractic
care for moms
A former aerobic trainer, who's appeared on videos with the well-known Cathy Smith, Dr. Heidi Olson's career as a chiropractor began with a sprained ankle. Such an injury is an inconvenience for anyone, but it threatened Olson's livelihood. A visit with Dr. Stussy had Olson back on her feet in a day. This and a trip to China, where alternative medicine is revered but chiropractic healing is unavailable, convinced Olson that she wanted to dedicate her own life to chiropractic healing. She obtained her degree from Northwestern College of Chiropractic, which is located in Bloomington and schools healers from all over the world. Olson practiced with Dr. Stussy for several years and is in the process of opening her own clinic in Excelsior, specializing in care for women and children.
She's convinced that chiropractic care can ease pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, the birth of her now 2 1/2-year-old daughter Lily, wasn't without complications. She had thirty hours of back labor, which she attributes to the physical demands of her profession. "Women chiropractors have challenging births due to the torsion required in performing treatments," she says. She suspects that the reason women who have difficult births have daughters who experience similar problems is that babies affected by such births have physical/structural complications from the way they were born. Chiropractic treatment over time can diminish these complications, she says.
Her training has led her to believe that children in the United States are generally over-medicated, and Olson is unconvinced of the need for vaccinations for children with strong immune systems. "Half of the chiropractors I know are for vaccinations, and half aren't," she says. Her daughter is not vaccinated at all, and Olson may look into homeschooling. "Lily gets sick when she's in a group setting," she says, adding that her daughter's immune system needs a chance to build without being exposed to super viruses that are spreading as a result of over dependence on antibiotics and vaccinations.
A remedy for stresses of modern life
Another chiropractor who believes in the advantages of chiropractic care prior to delivery is Dr. Christine Grams who operates a practice called Morning Star Healing Arts in South Minneapolis. She says treatment can shorten labor by doing pelvic release work and can help with the positioning of the baby before birth. She recently treated a mom who came to see her due to severe lower back pain. Dr. Grams "opened up more space for food, her bladder, and the baby." Later the mom called to report that labor and delivery lasted only four hours. Dr. Grams says she loves working with moms right after delivery to address maternal physical complications resulting from the birth process.
A former nurse at St. Mary's Rehabilitation Center, Grams was injured while lifting a patient who was having a seizure. She calls it "synchronicity" that she, too, was initially treated by Dr. Stussy. "The chiropractic care I received made such a change in my health," Grams says. "I didn't get sick any more." A nursing strike in the mid-'80s gave her pause to reevaluate her career options, and she decided to attend chiropractic college. Today, she operates a family practice across from Fuller Park. Her partner, Nancy Lindgren, is not a chiropractor; she offers spiritual guidance and energy balancing.