Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Physiologist

Ellie has had problems with low muscle tone and delayed milestones her entire life. When she started GAPS we discovered much of it was due to malnourishment and saw great improvement. Coming off the elemental formula she said oodles of new words just within 24 hours. Lower body muscle tone and walking has been a different issue.

Ellie had trouble getting on her feet and even sitting upright in a traditional infant manner. Ever notice how infants seem to have a rod stuck in their spine? Ellie was always slunched over. An experienced pediatric physical therapist friend took a look and told me it was due to low muscle tone. We made adjustments, tried to help Ellie work on those muscles in different ways, but her feet and legs continued to get worse.

Her right leg turned inwards dramatically, and her left only a little. She began to walk on the side and toes of her right foot. She fell often, hopped instead of ran, and her center of gravity was off. When she began to grab her leg and say 'owie' it caught my attention. I took her to the pediatrician who watched her walk and then said the equivalent of 'naw- lots of kids are pigeon toed and it straightens out'. So off we went with me wondering that fine balance between something-is-wrong and mommy-making-something-out-of-nothing. I decided to watch it, pray, and investigate who should look at her to be sure. Podiatrist? Chiropractor? Physical therapist?

About three weeks ago I began to notice that climbing onto the couch she looked as if she had cerebral palsy. Her toes were curled under and her foot had become a small ball. And she climbed by scooting, throwing her butt up onto the couch with her left leg, sticking her right leg straight out, and then pivoting on her hip. What was up with her right leg? I was getting worried. To make matters worse she began saying 'owie' a lot, and crying. She would grab her feet or her knees and come looking for comfort. This child has been in pain since birth and never complains. Her pain threshold is extremely high, and when she began to complain it told me I had put it off long enough.

Enter strange (divine) connection. I am a teacher with a public charter school here in CA, and have the privilege of working with many homeschooling families who allow me to also become their friend. One family lives about 10 minutes away, and has a child who is seen weekly in their home by a Physiologist. I have seen the amazing help he has given her, but been reluctant to cross the professional barrier and say yes to her offers of bringing Ellie for an appointment in their home. If I said yes, I would not have to travel to see him and navigate his busy office. But what IS a Physiologist, and do we have the money, and and and and.....

Three weeks ago I took Ellie for her first appointment. The doctor took her history and watched her play, all in the comfort of a home rather than an office. He then began her initial treatment on a massage table, which required her to lay still and comply. I figured - yeah right, this squirrely two year old? He began with her hips, explaining and allowing me to feel the changes as he went. The reason she walked that way? Her femur was out, for starters. Her hips were an inch different in height, and therefore her legs almost an inch different in length. As he did soft manipulation of her joints and bones which was similar to that of a gentle chiropractor, Ellie fell asleep on the table. What in the WORLD?

What are you DOING to her? I asked in slight mommy panic. His reply: She is without pain for the first time in an undetermined amount of time. The amount of pressure I am putting on her legs is equal to about 30 pounds, and she is still relaxed and comfortable. (I cried. - I seem to do that a lot lately.)

He then worked on her knees, saying that both were out, and looked at her feet. I could hardly believe my eyes - she let him work on her little body for 45 minutes without complaint. When he said lets take a look at her now and put her on the floor, I was eager to see the results. For the first time in her life, she walked away on flat feet. She ran, she jumped, and her body difference was amazing. I could hardly believe what I saw.

This older, grandpa-like doctor seemed equally moved by the change, and said: Kids like this are used to being in pain. They don't know what it is like to NOT. See the change? Film it, take pictures, and watch. You will know as the mama. The proof will be there.

Did we need to be careful? He laughed. Good luck holding her down. The body will heal and the ligaments will hold the bones in, it is just a matter of how long because each body is different. (what? more hope for healing and proof the body has the ability??)

Do we bring her back? Yes. He would like to see her next week to finish the upper part of her spine, because realignment of the bottom put strain on the top. And then that would most likely be all she needs unless we notice her having problems again.

With great thankfulness I brought her home, baffled at the change in just that one treatment. And I had resisted so long!

The next night Ellie had rough sleep. She woke a lot and cried like she had not in a long time, and I was worried. It was her body adjusting, and after that she slept more soundly and we saw more change for the better.

The best part? The day after her first treatment she had the easiest, and LARGEST poo I think she has ever had, without a hitch. And this is what we continue to see, her emptying herself easier. It even helped her intestines! Makes sense. Sort of. :)


  1. Had she previously had any type of manipulation - like with a chiro, or with the osteopath? Just curious!

  2. ahhhhh....ND suggested a chiro to us about 2 mos. ago for her body awareness issues...we resisted...that's it...I'm making an appt!!!

  3. I was reluctant to go chiro because it was more bone focus than soft tissue like this guy. Check out PAN's latest post- we are headed for cranial sacral facia whatever treatment next. And nope, she received one prior manipulation by the osteopath but it lasted a short amount of time and was not as dramatic of an adjustment-more like massage.

  4. I'm THRILLED and yet not at all surprised! I'd say getting her in for craniosacral therapy would be AMAZING for her! I'm going to work on getting certified next year and can't wait! Hugs


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