Are you the parent of a child older than age 5 who is consistently wetting the bed? There may be a problem with your child’s neurological reflex control. Often this same reflex problem creates extremely deep sleep, where the child almost seems comatose and is very difficult to wake up.
Bedwetting can have impact on a child’s social life and self-esteem. Parents are often anxious to solve this problem. Several approaches may help, such as restricting fluids, using special nighttime undergarments, even moisture-triggered bed alarms to wake the child. If these measures have limited effect, it is time to evaluate the neurological system.
The phrenic reflex controls movement of the diaphragm muscle, which is located beneath the lungs. This reflex is unconscious, which is why you are continually breathing while reading this article. However, the phrenic reflex can malfunction and lead to bedwetting. If breathing slows down, carbon dioxide can build up in the blood. This abnormal blood chemistry can lead to two troublesome outcomes. First, the child sleeps very deeply and is challenging to wake up. Second, smooth muscles will relax in response to high levels of carbon dioxide. Smooth muscle is what makes up the valve-like sphincter muscle that retains fluid inside the bladder. When this sphincter relaxes, due to abnormal reflex activity, the child wets the bed.
How can you evaluate and correct problems with the phrenic reflex? It is easiest to assess the function of the neurospinal system as a whole. Structural problems with the spine can compromise the function of nerves that arise from the brain and spinal cord. For example, the phrenic nerve is made of a combination of nerves exiting the spine at the neck level. Physical stresses can create neurospinal dysfunction and impair the phrenic nerve reflex activity. Head traumas and whiplash-type injuries can be major factors, or the repeated minor bumps and scrapes of a normal childhood can contribute to neurospinal dysfunction. Just like some children are susceptible to cavities, some children develop neurospinal dysfunction. Fortunately, this dysfunction does not have to be a permanent part of a child’s picture of health. Neurospinal dysfunction can be corrected.
In short, the root cause of bedwetting is often impairment of the neurological reflex that controls breathing. A doctor of chiropractic specializes in identifying and correcting neurospinal dysfunction. Many families have seen massive relief after using chiropractic to restore neurological control and help with their child’s bedwetting issues. Call our Eagan chiropractic office at 651-757-5096 for a complimentary consultation.