How to Prevent Postural Decline Among Children – ChiroSecure w/ Drs. Buerger and Burns

Hello everybody and welcome to another amazing ChiroSecure’s Look To The Children’s Show. And again, I am beyond ecstatic about introducing you to our guest today. It’s Dr. Krista Burns. Hello there.

Hi. Thank you so much for the opportunity of being here. I’m excited to connect today.

Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to have you here for many reasons, but we’ll get to that. You guys just hang on. We have some really exciting stuff to talk about. But Dr. Krista has two doctorate degrees, Doctor of Chiropractic and Doctor of Health Administration. She is the founder of the American Posture Institute. So you can find her at the She is the author of the textbook, The Posture Principles. She has been on Fox News, on Global Woman. She’s a TEDx speaker. She’s certified in postural neurology and ergonomics and and posture correction. She is amazing, and she’s here with us today. And today just happens to be, we couldn’t time this any better. We did not plan this, but as divine universal intelligence would have it, she has an exciting announcement today. So what do you have for us, Doc?

Well, thank you so much for this opportunity. I mean, we’re talking about looking to the children, we’re talking about pediatric care. And with this divine intervention, we actually just launched today the Chiropractic Pediatrics Virtual Summit, and Dr. Monika is one of our top speakers on this summit. So we would love it if you guys would join us over there as well. We’re going to have a great conversation today, talking all about pediatrics. If you want to follow up and learn more, please join us on the Virtual Summit. It’s completely free, so you can grab your free e-ticket.

And it is… You guys don’t want to miss this. I mean, she put together, talk about an amazing cast and crew, and the quality and, I mean, you guys really need to take advantage of this. And I think you’re going to put maybe in the comments a link where they can go?

Yeah, that’d be great. And if you just follow us on Facebook,, then we’ll have the link right there on the Facebook page as well.

Oh perfect, perfect. So you guys don’t miss out. Like at 20 plus speakers?

Yes. 20 incredible, top pediatric chiropractic experts. Again, like Dr. Monika, our leader for today’s discussion, and everybody’s talking about how to help you increase your certainty when it comes to pediatric case management assessment and, of course, treatment protocols. So it’s a can’t miss, free. E-tickets available right now. We’d love to have you join us.

Yeah, guys, do it, do it. So we’re going to talk about posture, and I have to tell you, when you get around Dr. Krista… I got to meet her last year in Atlanta, right? We were in Atlanta?


Sometimes we go so many places, we’re trying to figure out where we actually got to meet in person. But you can’t help but stand up straight when you’re around Dr. Krista. So I’m sure you get that a lot. But I was sharing a little bit with you before we went on air, and I think sometimes the universe hits you with things so you can kind of experience things that you talk about, or lecture on, or whatever, but you really, until you experience it, you might not have that same ability to communicate it. But I was sharing with you that I’ve been working a lot. I’ve been off the road for about six weeks. So I’ve been home, and I’ve been working on my new Developing Minds Program. And I love to do research, and you know how that is. The research, the writing, you’re on your computer all the time. My husband drives when we’re commuting into the office because he runs the office. So I’m on my phone, reading extra research. I’m like, oh, that’s a great article, and I’m like this all the time and everything.

And I really started to feel crappy. I mean, I started to feel really crappy. My mood, but not only, my neck pain. And as a chiropractor, I’m like, come on Monika. You know better. But I love this. It’s my passion and I was so entrenched in it. But my mood. I started to not like myself. So we’re going to dive into, and I think it was a good ta-da moment. So I’ve made a commitment that I’m not doing that anymore. And the last few days commuting into the office, I’m looking at the mountains, and the snow on the mountains, and the beauty, and it really is enlightening. So I’m glad I had that experience.

Yeah. Just a quick comment on that. They’ve actually done a research study recently. I think it was in 2017. And they had two groups of people. And the only difference between these two groups, the control group and the variable group, was one group was sitting in upright posture, the other group was in stooped, slumped forward posture, as if looking at our device. And 86% of the group that was in poor posture, had negative recall of memories of themselves. So when they were asked to recall something about themselves, 86% in the poor posture group said something negative about themselves. Whereas the group in good posture, 87% said something positive.

So exactly what you’re saying right there is what we’re seeing in the research. I mean, it’s exactly what’s happening. And so when we talk about children… I mean, you’re educated so you know that you can have better posture and it’s going to help you have a better mood and feel better, and you can look to the mountains for a great view and reconnect with nature. But what really worries me is all the children and the adolescents growing up in the digital age, who don’t have that information yet. And they really need everybody who’s listening to our conversation today to really guide them and lead them in the right direction, because proper posture impacts not only their physiology, not only their function, but also how they perceive their body image of themself and their self-perceived leadership. So we’ll dive into all of that today.

Wow, that’s huge. So spinning off that on research, that’s a huge one right there. Any other key research that you want to communicate in regards to sedentary posture and the overstimulation with technology, and [inaudible 00:06:52] regards to pediatrics?

Yeah, specifically. so one of the things that we talk about at the American Posture Institute all the time, is that in the digital age, posture’s declining at the speed of technology. We’ve never seen such a rampant decline in human posture until the onset of the digital age. Now, here’s the thing that we cannot do. We can’t just blame technology. What we need to realize is that it’s the opportunity cost. So it’s not just technology’s fault. It’s what we’re not doing while we’re on our technology. So while I’m on a computer, while I’m looking down at my device, and I’m a hunched forward posture, now what’s happening is I’m not outside playing. I’m not moving, I’m not stimulating my brain in a meaningful way.

And what they’re showing now in the research, this is from 2019, the National Institute of Health, shows, they’re doing a ten year study, and they’ve released the initial research on this study following these nine and 10-year-olds. And what’s great is, after the decade, we’ll have the full research. But initially what they’re showing is that children who use devices more than seven hours per day, in a seated, sedentary posture, are showing thinning of the brain cortex. The brain is literally shrinking because of the over use of technology in sedentary posture.

And then we look at other research studies, and we’re showing that lower academic achievement and a decrease in grade point average is associated with increased screen use. That’s from 2018. Like this research is so new because it’s happening right now. And what worries me is, if we don’t take action, we have no idea just how bad this will continue to be. Another research study, again, 2018, 15 and 16-year-old kids who have a higher frequency of engagement with digital media activities, so devices, have significantly higher odds of having symptoms of ADHD. I’ll give you two more. Mobile phone use, even for five minutes, has a significant impact on memory performance. You guys, five minutes of device use can impact my brain. That’s from 2017. And then this last one, this one like hurts my soul. It shows that more hours of screen time are associated with a lower level of well-being for children and adolescents, age two to 17. Again, this research study is from 2018.

And so we look at this, and we go, oh my gosh, it’s frightening what’s happening. But at the same time, it’s this golden age opportunity that we’ve never been presented with in the past. As chiropractors, we’ve always wanted to help pediatric patients that were non-symptomatic. Like we wanted to have a reason to educate parents about bringing in their children, even if they didn’t express symptoms. Now, with the onset of the digital age, we can’t not educate parents about bringing in their children, because of the digital age and how it’s impacting their brain function, their physiology, their body function, their structure, and their mental well-being as well.

Wow. That is a load right there. If you guys missed that, you got to replay, replay, replay, because those are amazing studies. And I believe that last one, that this came out a few weeks ago, a few months ago, on the 2019. They were talking about thinning the prefrontal cortex, correct?


Our executive functioning mode. So we know when that executive functioning isn’t in play, we’re stuck in this limbic drive, and there’s a neuro-physiological cascade that happens then. And so it’s much more than just the bad posture, like you said. We’ve got hormones that go off. We got neuro-transmitters. We’ve got a whole domino effect. So that is huge.

So I love the thing you said, perceived, the way their body perceived themselves. So I’ve been in that sensory realm for 25 plus years now, and talk about sensory modulation disorders. So we know that the way the body perceives its environment, external and its internal environment, proprioception, vestibular function, that information comes from our spinal joints and surrounding muscles. So this is huge.

So I brought a little puppet right here. I want to give you a little puppet show. So one of the things I talk about with my little fiddle farts is I talked about… because I work with a lot of kids with learning… and I’m going to get your take on this… learning and attention, and like we all see these days. I talk about the brain needs to talk to the body and the body needs to talk to the brain, so that way you can sit still. Because they don’t like to not be performing well, or behaving well. So I use sometimes a little puppet, and I put on my. I said, “The messages for your body should come straight up to your brain, and then your brain sends them straight down to your body, and then your muscles know what to do, and your brain knows what to do. But when it’s like this, where are the messages going? They’re not going to your brain. They’re going off the track.” So puppet shows can be very good. How do you talk to little fiddle farts, or parents, about this?

One of the best examples that I love to give, is when I’m talking about posture and when I’m talking about productivity and the ability to pay attention, I love to give this example, because everybody can relate to it, because everybody, at one point or another, has fallen asleep in class, myself included. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been there. So what happens when you start to get tired in class? And so we’re talking to kids, maybe an adolescent, let’s say 12 years old. What happens when you start to get tired in class? Your posture starts to go in this position, don’t you? And you start to lean forward on your desk, and you feel really tired.

Now, if the teacher doesn’t want you to be sleeping in class, and they call your name, and you don’t want to get caught sleeping, what’s the first thing that you do? You instantly sit up straight. Why do we do this inherently? We naturally engage our posture system to wake up our brain. This is a natural response that we’ve always had, whether we were 12 years old falling asleep in class, or up through graduate chiropractic school. We instantly sit up straight. Why is this? The reason being is because we’ve all heard of the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system tells us what to pay attention to. So for example, if I say red car, you start noticing more red cars. If you want a red car for Christmas, you start noticing more red cars on the road. That’s the reticular activating system.

What people forget to tell us about the reticular activating system, is we also have a descending pathway. So reticular activating is ascending, up to the brain, for paying attention, but we also have the descending reticular spinal, reticular spinal, reticular spinal. It goes to the spine. And so when we engage our posture system, that’s the reticulospinal tract, when we engage the posture system, we sit up straight and now we feel more engaged. And so our ability to pay attention is directly impacted by the postural design and the physical structure of our body. It’s no wonder that when I’m hunched over my device in this hunched forward posture, that I go into a tech trance, a computer coma.

Research has shown that people, when they’re asked how much time they spend on devices, we naturally under-report ourself, our habits, by 50%. Meaning that you may have spent five hours on your device, but you are so zoned out, because you’re in this slumped forward posture and tuned into artificial stimulation coming from a device, that we under-report how much time we’re using devices by 50%. And not even because we’re trying to lie about it. Just because we go into a brain fog, a tech trance, a computer coma, and our brains are not paying attention to what’s going on. However, if we want to engage with the world, like we’re designed to do as human beings, we sit up straight, we look, we engage our visual system in the world around us, and now suddenly we have more productive posture.

Wow. Wow. That’s incredible information, Doc. You’re amazing. So we know that it also changes neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, and you can get that dopamine dysregulation. Give us a little tidbit about this digital dementia that we hear about these days. And particularly, do you have any association more with adolescents? Or what have we got there?

So what’s happening with digital dementia is when I’m seated in a sedentary posture and when I’m watching a video… for example, imagine a YouTube video… the back of my brain is being overstimulated. Why the back of the brain? Because incoming visual signals are interpreted by your occipital lobe in the back of your brain. So that’s bombarded with incoming visual stimulation from a video. Now, here’s what’s underactive. Your frontal lobe, because you’re not thinking, you’re not moving. Your parietal lobe is underactive because you’re not experiencing real sensation from the world, such as moving your joints, such as feeling natural sensations from nature. So that’s all inhibited. And then your cerebellum, you’re not doing precise movements. So your cerebellum is underactive. Your vestibular system, your flexor dominant, instead of being in upright extension, completely inhibited. Your visual system. You’re only looking right here instead of moving your eyes in orbit to scan the environment.

And so we see a sensory disassociation where the back part of the brain is overactive but the rest of your brain is underactive. And what this is resulting in is not only symptoms of brain fog but also poor memory recall. If you look on, if you look at the Alzheimer’s Association, how they define dementia is that dementia is not a disease. Dementia is a collection of symptoms associated with an inability of focusing, poor memory recall, and being forgetful in a way that impacts your quality of life. Well, I would say that when we put down our devices after five hours of being on them and we say, “Oh, I’ve been on my device for a couple hours.” What were you looking at? You’re like, “I don’t even remember.”

So we have outsourced our brain, we are demonstrating signs and symptoms associated with dementia, and it is impacting cognition. And here’s what’s really frightening, Dr. Monika, that we have to bring up. I just, last week, was in Malaysia speaking at the World Congress of Falls and Postural Stability, and they were all talking about this with dementia, how it’s impacting falls and lower cognition, when you have a stooped forward posture. What terrifies me is they were talking about that for geriatric patients. It is shown over and over again in the literature that if you have this posture, you have a decline in cognition. However, that was for geriatric patients in previous generations. Now we’re watching a whole new generation addicted to their devices in this posture, at an early age. We’re seeing an increase in ADHD, an increase in postural instability, an increase in falls, and an increase in what I call digital dementia. And of course, that’s impacting our cognition, our ability to pay attention, and have natural thought processes associated with better learning and development.

So here’s the cool thing. There’s not a pill for digital dementia, right? There’s not a pill for better posture. We love this opportunity. That’s like the best news we’ve ever heard. So we recognize that it could be daunting, realizing what’s going on in the digital age, but at the same time, this is a golden opportunity because we can position ourselves as the first line of defense against it, and help these children have natural stimulation that they need to their bodies and their posture systems to prevent digital dementia, to prevent postural decline, to prevent how this is then showing up later as developmental disorders. So we’ve got to work together to be the first line of defense against this.

Absolutely. And with that said, there’s a label now, diagnosis, called Developmental Coordination Disorder. Essentially what it is, is these children literally are falling out of chairs at school. They can’t manage stairs, maneuver stairs. They don’t have good core, their vestibular and proprioceptive systems. And certainly, what causes what. But you are 1,000,000% correct. We need to be on the forefront of this disaster that’s about to hit. Do you have some signs, a few signs of technology fatigue? What would you look for, especially in the little fiddle farts or the adolescents?

This is what I’m always telling parents to watch for, is three signs of tech fatigue. So the three signs of tech fatigue, number one is tech neck posture. Everybody knows what that is, where you’re looking down at your device, your ears are in front of your shoulders. You have a C-shaped spinal curvature, so a postural hyperkyphosis. You have [inaudible 00:18:40] shoulders and into a chest drop. So if you see tech neck posture, that’s sign number one. Sign number two is spending more than two hours per day on devices for recreational use. I very much understand that children these days are on devices more so for doing reports, for doing their homework. When they’re using their brains on technology, I’m okay with that. But when it’s more than two hours per day for recreational use, just mindless scanning, that’s where it becomes a problem.

And then number three is behavioral changes directly associated with devices. Let me give you an example here. So if ourselves, like if I left my phone home tomorrow, how would I feel? Would I feel like an addict going through withdrawals because I don’t have my phone that day? If we do, that’s a behavioral change associated with device use. So if you ask a child to put down their device or their video game and come to the dinner table, do they act out? Do they act strange? Are they literally shaking physiologically because they don’t have their device with them for a short period of time? So if you see a behavioral change directly associated with device use, then this is alarming to us. Those three signs, again, are tech neck posture, more than two hours per day on devices for recreational use, and behavior changes associated with device use.

Oh, great pearls. Great pearls. Everybody write those down. Have those ready for your… Put it on a handout. Do something.

And parents get that. Like parents can take that as homework. And then what’s cool about that is you say, “You let me know what you find when you check for these signs of tech fatigue.” Guess what happens? Mom comes back and goes, “That’s my kid.” And then it’s a very natural referral at that point, because now mom goes, “I need to take action to prevent this.” And of course, we understand that working with pediatric patients is all about prevention. It’s all about helping them early on, so they can have these natural habits, that helps lead to better natural healthcare.

Absolutely. And it’s all about balance. When their brain is expecting X amount of stimulation, [inaudible 00:20:34] information coming in… So let’s take, on the devices, they’re getting X amount, a higher drive of visual, a lower drive of vestibular and proprioceptive. There’s this mismatch. There’s these gaps in this information. And that is what we see expressed as inability to pay attention or behavioral issues. And their neuro expression is telling you, okay, what gaps might be going on. So this is huge. This is critical. This is us. This is cutting-edge us, chiropractic. So as chiropractors, with that said, because you have amazing pearl bombs, we could be here for hours, but I know you’ve got a crazy schedule, I get everybody’s got a crazy schedule, but as chiropractors, what are some pearls that we can do to be on the cutting edge, to help prevent some of these postural distortions that we’re seeing?

So number one is talking to parents and pediatric patients, specifically about device use. We have to bring that to a minimum. Number two is stimulating, and you mentioned it, the vestibular system. So the vestibular system controls balance and equilibrium, but also upright postural extension. So what happens when I’m flexor dominant? When I go into a postural hyperkyphosis with tech neck, I go forward with gravity. Gravity is pressing me down and I can’t resist it. And so I go into flexor dominance. Flexor dominance is a more primitive posture. We need to spend our life in upright extension.

Now what happens with pediatric patients is you tell them to sit up straight, and they’re like, “No problem, Doc. I can do this.” And they sit up straight for 40 seconds. You turn and walk to the door and back, and you come back and they’re back in this posture. They don’t have bony abnormalities of their spine, preventing them from having upright posture. What they have is lack of stimulation, on a consistent basis, to their vestibular system that brings them into upright posture, upright postural extension.

And so in addition to the incredible adjustments that you guys are doing already to help transform the lives of children, what I want you to do is some vestibular activities as well. Number one is one leg balance. Every child should be able to stand on one leg and balance for 30 seconds in proper posture. Number two is a Superman extension. So the patient’s lying face down. And if your patients are lying face down, like waiting for you to walk into the room, this is a great time to have them go into extension. So they’re lying face down and they lift their upper body up into that Superman position and they hold, and they’re engaging those paraspinal musculature into extension. So we’re going into upright extension. So balance to stimulate that part of the vestibular system, and then upright extension.

And then number three is posture breaks. So for every hour that a child is sitting in class or on technology, they need to do a 30 second posture break. Let’s perform it together. You just bring your arms out to the side, you drop your head back and press your chest forward. What this is doing is this is reversing the press of gravity. So where gravity makes us flexor dominant, C-shaped spinal curvature, we resist that and go into [inaudible 00:23:28] postural extension. Two things will happen afterwards. The child feels stretched out. They’re like, “Oh, I feel better. I can sit up straight.” But also, in addition to that, they can concentrate better now too, because we’ve just engaged that posture system. So when they go back to their school work, they’re more engaged.

And then also sitting on an instable surface. This, I cannot recommend enough. I know that children most likely cannot bring exercise balls with them to the classroom, because it could be considered disruptive. But if you give them a posture cushion to bring and put on their seat, this is such a good vestibular activation because it’s instable. So because it’s instable, anytime I move my body in relation to gravity, it activates my vestibular system to bring me back to center. So now I’m moving more, which is more proprioception. I’m actually engaging my core musculature, which is good strength and stability. But in addition to that, I’m stimulating the vestibular system every time my body position changes in relation to gravity. So now I’m activating my brain to balance my body upright. Whereas if not, I’m just sitting in a chair, in like the worst posture ever, sitting in class. So those are some activities that are super easy to implement with what you’re already doing, which is going to help transform the lives of these children.

Wow. Wow. Wow. Those are pearl, pearl bombs. And I cannot stress this enough to our audience. I’ve been accused of having a love affair with the [inaudible 00:24:45] and the vestibular systems. But the vestibular system is so profound. It has a direct correlation with anxiety, with depression, with scoliosis. I mean, with all these [inaudible 00:24:55] it really is. So those are absolutely must-haves. And a couple of things I’ve done, I know you said about the yoga physio balls. I get them on Amazon, and I adopt classrooms around my community, and I go [inaudible 00:25:12], because teachers [inaudible 00:25:14]. So these are great ways for us to get this information out there, be a part of a community, contribute to our community, and also let them know where we are and to find us if they want to come consult or whatever.

So Dr. Krista, I swear, we could be here for hours. We’ve got to do a round two one day.

I’d love to.

But from the bottom of my heart, that is such profound information, and I can’t thank you enough for being here. And I hope you have the happiest of holidays.

Thank you so much for the opportunity.

And again, you’re going to put the link in the comments, or they can just follow you at the American Posture Institute on Facebook.

Yeah, The link will be there. Plus, I’m very happy to post it in the comments, because we’re just getting started with this information. I really want you to hear Dr. Monika’s presentation on the Virtual Summit as well.

We talked a little bit about neuroplastic development, and that was a blast. Thank you for having me on that.

Of course.

It is a summit that you guys don’t want to miss, because it has got incredible amount of information, so make sure you jump on it. Today’s the first day launch, right?

Yes, exactly.

Today’s the first [inaudible 00:26:26]. And you can also find that link on the Intersect4Life. You’ll find it out there. Listen, get in there and let’s change some lives together. So again, Doc, have a incredible holiday season. Thank you for joining us from Puerto Rico. We will be meeting again soon.

And from all of us at Look To The Children’s Show and ChiroSecure, we want to wish you the happiest of holidays and all the most success in 2020. I’ll be back. You’ll have your regular host the first Thursday, Erik Kowalke. And as a little twist of a tidbit, I will be interviewing him on my show the third Thursday of January. So again, happiest of holidays, and thank you for sharing your information, again, Dr. Krista, and for all of you out there, make sure you share this information to your colleagues and your communities.

Yes, to the whole ChiroSecure.

Today’s pediatric show. Look To The Children, was brought to you by ChiroSecure, and the award-winning book series, I AM a Lovable ME. Make sure you join us next week, right here at the same time. See you next week.

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