Is it safe for my children to see a chiropractor? This is the number one question patients ask us about pediatric chiropractic care. There are no contraindications for an infant or toddler to see a chiropractor. In this week’s blog, we are going to discuss the importance of pediatric chiropractic care, identify common childhood conditions chiropractors treat, and discuss what we can do to help.
Why Should Your Child See a Chiropractor?
Parents may be skeptical about bringing their infant or child to see a chiropractor because they see them as fragile, underdeveloped humans. In reality, the first trauma every human experiences is childbirth. When a fetus develops in the mother’s uterus, it eventually grows and takes up the entire space of the uterine canal. The most desirable fetal position during delivery is called the cephalic presentation. In this position, the baby’s head is down, the chin is tucked to the chest, and facing the mother’s back. Below is an image of a full-term fetus in the cephalic position. If you look, it’s a small, confined space, and looks uncomfortable on the baby’s neck and spine. In other fetal positions, such as the breech position, delivery is more complicated and stressful to both the fetus and mom’s body. In some circumstances, a fetus may need to be delivered by cesarean section.
Some parents choose to have their newborn checked by a chiropractor days after birth because they realize the trauma the baby experienced during development and birth. There is no harm in bringing a newborn to a chiropractor even if the baby is healthy. It’s difficult for parents to determine when a newborn is in pain because crying is its only means of communication. Babies cry when they’re hungry, their diaper needs changed, they’re tired, or they’re in pain.
As children get older, communication becomes easier because they can tell and show the parents the location of pain. Toddlers fall all the time. It would be abnormal for those events not to happen. Falls are learning curves that help children adapt and grow into the environment that surrounds them. As toddlers grow into young adolescents, their falls and bumps turn into sports injuries or the result of dumb decisions. We have all been there at some point in our lives.
Ultimately, the point is that every trauma, small or large, affects the child’s nervous system. Just like an adult, repetitious microtraumas can cause the child pain and other complications into the adult years if left unresolved. Studies show that adults who regularly visited a chiropractor as a child have better outcomes and pain management into their adult years.
Common Childhood Conditions Chiropractors’ Treat
Another great reason why you should take your child to see a chiropractor is because chiropractors help treat childhood conditions that aren’t as commonly found in adults. Some childhood conditions chiropractors treat are colic, torticollis, scoliosis, vertebral subluxations, constipation, diarrhea, asthma, urinary incontinence, ear infections, common cold, and ADHD.
These conditions seem odd for a chiropractor to manage, right? Not really. Think about all the previous blogs. In several of those blogs, we mentioned the term nerve interference. Nerve interference affects a child the same way it affects an adult. Organs that innervate with a particular nerve can be affected when nerve interference occurs. Studies show that children affected with some of the childhood conditions listed above were completely resolved with a series of spinal manipulation treatments. In the future, we will discuss some of the different childhood conditions separately.
Is it Safe for a Child to See a Chiropractor?
Absolutely! There is no harm in adjusting a child. Chiropractic technique modifications are performed based on the size of the patient. Toddlers and infants require a low velocity-low amplitude adjustment. Teenagers should be able to handle the same high velocity-low amplitude adjustment that the average adult can. A trained chiropractor recognizes bone size and structural differences in a small human versus a grown adult. Bones are easier to move in a child than they are in an adult because of underdeveloped structures. Infants and small children may only need a small amount pressure using the thumb where an adult may need more force. Before adjusting a child, the chiropractor will sit down with you and show you exactly how treatment will be performed.
What Can We Do to Help?
At our facility, we accept patients from start to finish. Both doctors are trained to successfully treat pediatric patients. Those who are familiar with our facility know that we utilize a drop piece technique. For adolescents and bigger children, this would be appropriate; however, small children and infants require a lighter adjustment. Slight pressure to the affected area or instrument adjusting would be more appropriate in this case.
A great question patients ask is, do their children need to have a detailed treatment plan that includes spinal manipulation 2-3 times a week? It all depends on the clinical presentation of the child and the response to treatment. Children tend to hold their adjustments better than adults because the spine is limber and flexible.
When you consult with the doctors and review examination results, they will identify what they will do and how long it will take to treat your child. Once your child is fully recovered, the doctors will recommend routine maintenance care so that your child’s nervous system runs at optimal levels.
For more information or questions about pediatric care, please call us at (724) 547-3377 and checkout our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more content.
Yours In Health,
Larry E. Wilkins, DC
Brian M. Steinert, DC