Why should children have chiropractic care? More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children because many spinal problems seen in adults begin as early as birth. Even natural birthing methods can stress an infant's spine and developing nerve system. The resulting irritation to the nerve system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can cause many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, developmental delay, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system stress (vertebral subluxation). Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for it. As the infant grows, learning to hold up his or her head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment. These milestones are important times to have a child evaluated by a chiropractor.
As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities, such as skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. Childhood injury is one of the most common reasons a parent seeks care for their child. If neglected, spinal traumas during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine, leading to impaired nerve system function. Any interference to the vital nerve system will adversely affect the body's ability to function and grow at its best. Regular chiropractic checkups throughout childhood can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, allowing corrections to be made early in life, to help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults.
Another reason for seeking out care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents often seek care for common childhood conditions-colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies, learning disorders, and headaches (to name a few) -because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care may help. It is important to understand that the doctor of chiropractic does not diagnose or treat these conditions or diseases. The nervous system controls and coordinates the function of all the systems in the body: the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, hormonal, eliminative, and immune systems. This is why nerve interference can impair any aspect of health. The chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function, allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being.
Your chiropractor will take a case history and perform an exam to determine if spinal subluxations are present. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child's size, weight, and unique spinal developmental stage. Given that some chiropractors do not work with children, it is always best to call the office first. Some practitioners tailor their practice around children and focus on preventative health, while others focus on other specialties. All chiropractors on the ICPA website (www.icpa4kids.org) focus their practices towards the care of children. Adjustments can be performed with hands, instruments, or pillow-like blocks. They are both gentle and specific to the child's developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.
Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.
How safe is chiropractic for a child?
Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of children's health care. A chiropractor does not adjust a baby or a child the same way as he or she adjusts an adult. A baby's spine is very supple during the first few months of life, so the doctor of chiropractic applies only a slight pressure to make an adjustment. For older children whose spine is still made of mainly cartilage, slight pressure followed by a gentle push is all that is required to put the vertebra back in place.
When should I take my child to a chiropractor?
When you want to give your child a head start in good health and all the benefits of a conservative, drugless approach to health care, you should take your child to a chiropractor. It is important to have a chiropractic exam during the first year of a child's life as spinal trauma can occur during birth, as well as from tumbles while learning to sit up or walk. Improper lifting and carrying can also contribute to spinal stress.Your child's spine grows almost 50% in length during the first year. This is equivalent to a six-footer growing to nine feet in just 12 months! It's this kind of tremendous growth and developmental changes which make a complete chiropractic examination so important in the early stages of a child's life. If there is a problem, the earlier it is corrected the less likelihood there is of it becoming a chronic or more serious problem later in life. Doctors of chiropractic believe it's much more important to prevent diseases than wait till some disease occurs.
How effective is chiropractic care for children?
Chiropractors have been providing safe and effective care for children for more than 103 years. Without efficacy, parents would have long ceased to seek out a doctor of chiropractic for their children. A 1992 survey showed that the most common conditions for which children visit a chiropractor are: earaches, neck pain, check-up, headache, upper respiratory, low back pain, allergies, asthma, enuresis, and thoracic pain. Other reasons are ADD and ADHD, colic, torticollis, insomnia, growing pains, and persistent crying in infants.
How can chiropractic care help an older child who is not 'sick'?
Chiropractors help to correct spinal misalignments that can cause health problems. Through regular adjustments, counseling on proper nutrition, exercise, and posture, the chiropractor can help you raise a child who is structurally and functionally sound.The number one "illness" in children is accidents. You may not realize it, but youngsters take numerous tumbles -- learning to ride a bike, or even just jumping and running around. If your child takes part in athletic activities, the "sack" of a quarterback could twist a young spine, pitching a ball can throw a vertebra out of alignment. These underlying injuries, if left uncorrected, can cause serious problems as the child grows into adulthood. Doctors of chiropractic can do more than correct these problems. They can also help improve performance on and off the field by helping the body to function at its optimum level, naturally, and without drugs.