The third entry of our blog series describes why it is important for kids to be evaluated and adjusted.
Some adults may wonder why more and more children are starting to see chiropractors. That’s a good question and the answer is simple: whether we have a large spine or a tiny little spine, we need to maintain proper alignment for proper nervous system communication.
Many of my parents ask me
> “Why do kids need chiropractic care?”
There are periods of time when skeletal growth is accelerated commonly known as Growth Spurts) during which balance in the muscles and joints is especially important. Just like the bones of the skeleton, your child’s nervous system is also developing at a rapid rate. The nervous system includes the brain, the spinal cord, and all the millions of nerves that serve every inch of your body and controls most of its functions. Just like the bones need proper joint motion for optimal development, so do the nerves in order to develop optimal communication (or innervation).
> “How do little kids get nerve irritation?”
Nerve irritations (or vertebral subluxations) occur as a part of normal daily life. They may result from physical, chemical and emotional stressors or ‘insults’ to our health, such as bad posture, prolonged postures, bad sleeping posture, knocks and falls, poor food choices, dehydration, exposure to chemicals and toxins, and stress and anxiety. Some research suggests that even before these lifestyle stressors have an impact, nerve irritation may occur in the uterus from awkward positioning, restriction of movement, and exposure to toxins. Subluxations or nerve irritation may also occur from birth complications such as long labors, very fast labors, or forceps or caesarean delivery.
> Is chiropractic care for kids the same as it is for adults?
Although the basic premise for chiropractic care is the same whether the patient is 80 years old or 8 months old, the ever-growing and changing active little bodies of children have distinct needs depending on their stage of development. Generally, children respond much faster and more profoundly to chiropractic care than adults do. They have not subjected their bodies to the same years of abuse that we have. Another major difference is that pain is not a primary system. This can make it more difficult for parents to know when kids need to visit their chiropractor. There are certain “clues” that we can watch for to gain more understanding in this area, such as postural changes, only wanting to breast feed from one side, being off-balance, and running with a limp. As mentioned before, the amount of force used and the specific techniques utilized vary depending on the unique needs of individual children and what stage of development they are currently in.
Chiropractic for little people has been shown to be gentle, safe and effective. Babies can be checked by chiropractors very soon after birth and special techniques have been developed to carefully correct any subluxated areas. When we appreciate how the nervous system may be hindered and impaired it makes sense why more parents are having their child’s spine and nervous system assessed.
10 reasons parents take their children to see a chiropractor:
1. To encourage good neural plasticity (brain and nerve development).
2. To support their child’s overall health and wellbeing.
3. To help strengthen their child’s immunity and potentially reduce the
incidence of colds, ear-aches and general illness.
4. To assist with colic and Irritable Baby Syndrome.
5. To help with asthma, breathing difficulties and allergies.
6. To encourage good spinal posture.
7. To help improve their child’s ability to concentrate.
8. To assist with behavioral disorders.
9. To help alleviate digestive problems.
10. To assist with bed-wetting and sleep issues.
> When should I bring in my kids and how often?
It is never too early to bring your child to the chiropractor. Infants are checked when they are just minutes old by the loving hands or the family chiropractor and it is not uncommon to stop by the chiropractor’s office on the way home from the hospital. The birthing process is physically strenuous for both mom and baby, so it is best to get them both cared for as soon as possible afterwards. That being said, it is never too late either! Children may enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care at any age or stage of development.
Chiropractic for kids will vary as much as chiropractic for adults. As mentioned above, it is often difficult to know when your kids need to see the chiropractor because they do not generally present with pain. To help with this issue, we recommend setting regular Well-Child visits, the same way you would with your dentist and pediatrician. These help catch minor issues before they turn in to major problems and allow kids to truly maximize their healthy potential.
Here is an example of our recommended Well-Child schedule:
* First month of life (ASAP!)
* Every 3 months for the first year
* Every 6-12 months for every year thereafter
Other times to consider bring kids in for an appointment include:
* Major milestones (such as starting to sit up, crawl, walk, etc.)
* Any trauma or falls
* If you notice any signs of imbalance (limping, head tilting, etc.)
> What are some common childhood conditions that Chiropractic can help?
Here is a list of common childhood conditions that families have seen great impact from chiropractic care that you may not have thought of as chiropractic issues. Chiropractors do not necessarily treat or cure these conditions, but they have been shown to help in profound ways by treating the children suffering from them and enhancing their general health.
* ADHD & Autism Spectrum Disorders*
* Ear infections
* Common Cold
* Growing pains & sports injuries
* Bed wetting
* Breastfeeding difficulties
* Birthing Trauma
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!