Chiropractors have been caring for children's spines for more than 100 years. Many common childhood ailments may respond to this safe, natural form of health care. More and more parents – especially those who are already chiropractic patients themselves – are seeking chiropractic care for their children.
A child has many physical stresses to deal with during their growing years and problems in children's spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth. The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, torticollis (wry neck,) sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections may often be traced to irritation to the nervous system caused by spinal and cranial misalignments/subluxations.
What does treatment involve?
The first thing a chiropractor will do is to conduct a thorough history of your child's health and any complaints, which is followed by a complete physical examination of the child's spine. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate pediatric spinals, using gentle, specific skills to find and treat any problems in the spinal areas.
Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments/ subluxations. This amount of force is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints which have become seized and are causing interference to the normal function of the nervous system.
A child's spine will generally respond much faster than an adult to chiropractic care and will often require only a few adjustments to restore normal function. The actual number of adjustments, however, will vary depending on many factors such as the length of time the problem has been present.
How can I tell if my child has spinal problems?
Unless a child has an obvious problem it can be difficult for a parent to recognize when a child's spine is not working correctly. There are some signs, however, which can indicate spinal problems.
• Disturbed sleeping patterns
• Breastfeeding difficulties in the very young
• Restricted head or neck movement to one side
• One shoulder higher than the other
Common childhood disorders may also be linked with misalignments/subluxations, these include:
• Recurrent ear infections
• Persistent sore throats and colds
• Bedwetting and/or constipation
• Growing pains
Regular chiropractic check-ups can identify potential spinal dysfunction resulting from a specific trauma or daily activities of living and help to avoid many of the back and health complaints seen later as adults. It is important to remember that during the first 2 years of life, your child will have, on average, 1500 falls! Most parents' reaction is to dust off their child and send them on their way. Regular chiropractic care can ensure these traumas do not turn into future problems.
Children are born with their spine in the shape of a "C" or just one big curve. If nothing else, it is important to have your child checked at 5 important points in their development.
1. After the birth. Just getting born is one of the most traumatic experiences your bodies will ever go through. Many many times, the child's head and neck are twisted and manhandled in an effort to help them come into this world. Please do not think your child isn't affected by this if you had a C-section. C-sections can have many unwanted side effects for the child and the mother.
2. When he/she can hold their head up while on their belly. This is when the forward curve in the cervical spine (neck) begins to develop.
3. When he/she begins to crawl. This is when the child's integration between the right and left side of their brains is developing.
4. When he/she begins to sit up. This is when the forward curve in the lumbar spine (low back) begins to develop.
5. When he/she begins to stand and walk. An important time for continued neural integration and, did we mention the falls?
by Dr. Martin K Blankenship D.C