Why Should Children Have Chiropractic Care?
More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children. Many spinal problems seen in adults began as early as birth. Even so called “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 be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system stress.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right away. As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sit, crawl and walk are all activities that affect spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.
As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nerve system will adversely affect the body’s ability to function at its best.
One of the most common reasons parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.
Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help.
It is important to understand that the Doctor of Chiropractic does not treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function and then correcting the misalignment to restore normal function.
What Will The Chiropractor Do When I Bring My Children In?
The Doctor of Chiropractic will take a case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal subluxations exist. After the examination the chiropractor will then determine what chiropractic adjusting methods are best suited to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal condition. Chiropractic adjustments are both gentle and very specific to the child’s developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy having their chiropractic adjustments and that they look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.
What Does the Research Tell Us About Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Children?
A 2007 study involving 389 parents and their children revealed some interesting results. The parents in the study tended to be parents with higher education which would seem to indicate that the higher the level of education the more apt parents are to take their children to chiropractors regularly. The parents in this study brought in their children to the chiropractor for a variety of health challenges. The most frequent health challenges were musculoskeletal pain, ear, nose and throat conditions, respiratory problems, and behavioral challenges. Over 50% of the parents brought in their children for “wellness visits”.
In the study no child reported any adverse reactions to chiropractic adjustments. Those children who had symptoms of pain reported decreased or diminished pain. Parents of the children in the study reported improvements in their child’s immune system, improved sleeping habits and an improved emotional state.1
1. J Alcantara, et al, Treatment-related aggravations, complications and improvements attributed to chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy of pediatric patients: a practice-based survey of practitioners. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Volume 12, December 2007