Chiropractors have been caring for children for more than a 100 years. Many common childhood ailments will 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 encounters many physical stresses during their growing years. The resulting problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth.
The earliest challenge a growing spine faces is the position it is forced to adopt in utero. Many women will have heard of fetal positions that can cause problems with labour (brow, breech, transverse, posterior, ascynclitic, etc). What is less well known is that these fetal positions can also cause problems in the baby’s spine as well. Spinal segments can be pushed out of place or jammed by the position of the baby in the womb. If this position is less than optimal, it can result in a longer and more difficult trip through the birth canal, which can compound the spinal problems. In this way, even natural birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system—not to mention interventions such as induction, forceps, vonteuse suction, or ceasarean section.
The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nervous system irritation caused by spinal and cranial misalignments.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at, or prior to birth, many parents elect to have their newborn’s spine checked right after birth. Many developmental milestones such as learning to hold up the head, sitting upright, crawling, and walking are all activities that are affected by spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a chiropractor. Additionally, falls, sports injuries, playground bumps, heavy school bags and sitting all day in the classroom are all physical stresses to the growing child’s spine and nervous system.
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 which can indicate spinal problems. These include:
- 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 can also be linked with spinal dysfunction, these include:
- recurrent ear infections
- persistent sore throats and colds
- bedwetting and/or constipation
- growing pains
Chiropractic for children is incredibly safe! A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the United States, Canada, and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. These preliminary data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available.