It often comes as a big surprise to people when they find out that I adjust children, and not only children – but BABIES!!?? The question that always follows is, “Why would a child need a chiropractic adjustment?”
Health is about balance, so the first question we’ll answer is: How does a child come out of balance? Physical traumas – they are a common part of growing up and there are a number of especially common times that they may occur. Trauma from birth and childhood experiences can cause subtle misalignment of the spinal bones that can interfere with the nervous system and contribute to a myriad of health issues. As a chiropractor, I assess how your child’s spine and nervous system is adapting to the lifestyle stressors placed upon it – and if needed – perform chiropractic adjustments that gently and effectively correct these misalignments so the body can function properly.
Studies have shown that the birth process can lead to strain of upper neck muscles (suboccipitals) in newborns, subluxating the spine and potentially effecting the brain stem. Conversely, this strain may not show up as visible clinical symptoms. One study found that out of 1250 infants examined, 95% had neck strain from the birth process. Poor handling of newborns and babies can also create spine and nerve distress as can over zealous siblings tumbling on infants etc. In addition, researcher Colin Macarthur lists a number of descriptive studies demonstrating that 60% to 80% of all medically-attended playground injuries are due to falls and that in the US alone, over 200,000 children are taken to hospital each year to have playground injuries assessed. Other likely times that our children will become misaligned include learning to walk, run, or ride a bike, sporting activities or hobbies, and minor or major car accidents.
This brings us to our second question: What are some of the reasons parent’s bring their child to a chiropractor? 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. 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.
Now, it is important to understand that the Doctor of Chiropractic does not treat these conditions. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. So by removing the interference to the nerves, many of these conditions can improve and/or resolve naturally – without drugs or surgery.
Many people are apprehensive to take their children to a chiropractor because they think of the “snap, crackle, pop” that most adults experience when they visit a Doctor of Chiropractic. Enter our third question: Does it hurt? No. The technique and approach that we have towards children and infants is very different than that of adults. Infant adjustments are very gentle, and typically a baby will be soothed by these techniques. It is not a manual adjustment comparable to what adults receive when they visit a chiropractor. Using simply the pressure of a fingertip hands and/or specialized instruments to gently and specifically correct those abnormal areas, the spine and cranium regain their intended state of balance and the nerve system is freed from stress.
Chiropractic offers a distinct, drug-free approach to health that promotes natural function and potential to free the body’s innate intelligence to help children learn and thrive.