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Alleviating Fight or Flight Stress in Kids

February 06, 20243 min read

As parents and dedicated pediatric chiropractors at Perfect by Design chiropractic, we have seen a heartbreaking and alarming amount of children suffering with anxiety, poor sleep, frequent illness, inflammation, frequent meltdowns, and difficulty regulating emotions. These challenges can be frustrating for families, leaving you as parents feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and concerned.

The fact of the matter is, over 77% of todays youth are suffering with chronic health issues and mental health disorders. We find that the latest research points to dysfunctional nervous system being a main driver to these conditions.

In this article, we aim to empower you with information about the nervous system's role in children's health, offering hope and potential solutions.

The Stress Response and the "Perfect Storm"

When children experience prolonged stress, they get stuck in a "fight or flight" mode. The overwhelming amounts of stress hormones disrupts key processes like digestion, immunity, and development, creating a cycle of stress and poor health known as the "Perfect Storm." If you are familiar with these symptoms, you are not alone! Developing an understanding that these challenges go hand in hand with the health of the nervous system is SO important! This will help you navigate this journey towards better health with your children!!

The Vagus Nerve: Rest and Digest Hero

The vagus nerve plays a crucial role in calming the body and promoting relaxation. The Vagus Nerve controls the body's "rest and digest" function, called the parasympathetic nervous system. This nerve is crucial to regulate digestion, breathing, heart rate, and inflammation. When its function is impaired, children can get trapped in fight or flight, leading to dysautonomia and various health challenges.

Signs Your Child Might Be Stuck in Fight or Flight:

fight or flight

  • Increased anxiety, worry, and panic

  • Frequent meltdowns and emotional outbursts

  • Sleep disruptions and nightmares

  • Eating concerns (loss of appetite, overeating)

  • Increased sensitivities and allergies

  • New headaches or body aches

  • Overreactions to minor frustrations

  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating

  • Frequent illnesses and weakened immunity

  • Persistent fatigue or hyperactivity

Supporting Your Child's Well-being:

While professional help is always recommended, several strategies can support your child even at home:

  • Practice calming activities: Deep breathing exercises, gentle yoga, and mindfulness practices can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Ensure optimal nutrition: Balanced meals and healthy snacks provide essential nutrients for growth and development.

  • Prioritize sleep: Consistent sleep routines contribute to nervous system regulation and overall health.

  • Natural Supplements

  • Neurologically- Focused Chiropractic care: Stimulate the vagus nerve and release built up stress within the nervous system.

Considering Chiropractic Care:

Neurologically-focused chiropractic care is a wonderful addition to caring for your child's nervous system and vagus nerve, particularly those with suspected nervous system dysregulation. Adjustments will start to restore better sleep patterns and build up neurological health.

If your child is showing symptoms of being stuck in "fight or flight" mode, give us a call or visit our website to schedule a consultation!

Remember, you are not alone! Many children face similar challenges, and there are resources and support available to help your child reach their full potential. We will see you through every step of the way!

Watch this video with Dr. Paola to learn more!

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