Chiropractic Care for Kids

Wait… You adjust kids?

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This is one of the questions I get most often in practice. People are more and more accepting of chiropractic for adults and conditions like headaches and low back pain. In fact, statistically, chiropractic is a top treatment for these things. However, it seems that people are taken aback at the idea of children getting adjusted.

Let me tell you a little bit about pediatric chiropractic.

Why would a child or infant need an adjustment?

Birth is a traumatic process. When you think about it, the last days and weeks of pregnancy the baby does not grow very much, most of what is occurring at this point is development of the lungs and other organs. This means that the baby is tucked into a little ball inside of mom. Then, when labor happens, they are pushed out through a small hole and someone grabs their head and pulls them out. If you have questions, try watching a video of a C-Section.  Often times the birth process causes the upper neck or the tailbone to be subluxated, causing nerve interference. Some more extreme cases result in shoulder dystocia or torticollis.

Subluxations from birth can cause issues with many things such as the latch in breast feeding. The baby’s face may appear asymmetrical or their head always tipped to one side. Others are very subtle and may result in colic, difficulty sleeping, etc. Pediatricians are not trained to evaluate the spine for the subluxation, so it is recommended that parents take their children to a chiropractor to be checked.

As children learn to crawl and walk, they fall upwards of 25 times per day. It is important for them to be checked regularly at this time to ensure that they do not develop subluxations from these falls. The trips and tumbles of childhood often result in muscle tension and imbalance in the spine. Many parents bring their children to be checked on a regular basis during the toddler years. Then child and adolescent sports throw yet another variable into the mix!

How does a Chiropractor check a child?

When I evaluate an infant or child for subluxation, I take a history of the child from pregnancy through present to learn as much as I can about their live- down to food preferences and developmental milestones. In my exam, I check all of the little one’s reflexes and evaluate ranges of motion and balance in the body. The amount of pressure that is used both in evaluation and adjustment is less than you would be comfortable with on your own eyelid. Many babies sleep through the whole process!

What is a pediatric adjustment like?

Pediatric and infant adjustments are very gentle and, like the evaluation, many infants sleep through them. Using gentle pressures and muscle stretches, I restore normal motion to the bones and restore balance to the muscles. Sometimes, I will ask the parents to assist by laying their child on their stomach or holding them while they are adjusted.

Toddler adjustments are always fun to watch. Many children enjoy laying on the table to be adjusted and relax for the whole thing, while others play on the floor and get checked on the move. I always feel that it is important to make sure that kids are comfortable and engaged in their adjustment, so I meet them on their level.

Adjusting little ones is vastly different from adjusting adults. The pace is much slower and it often looks like playing to onlookers.

How do I know if my child needs to be checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic?

Many parents bring their children in to be checked when they exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Spinal or facial asymmetry
  • Difficult latch in breast feeding
  • Colic
  • Reflux
  • Delayed or absent milestones
  • Ear pulling
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Sleep issues
  • Bedwetting
  • Trips and falls

It is important to understand that chiropractors do not treat colic, reflux, ear infections, or other medical conditions. However, interference in the nervous system from subluxations can present in these ways. By restoring motion in the spine and removing the interference, the body has the opportunity to heal on its own.

Looking for more information? Check out ICPA4kids.org or contact our office at SeedOfLifeChiro.com

 

 

Chiropractic as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Chiropractic as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

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I often hear from patients that they are feeling good, so they don’t need to be checked. While I am happy to hear that they are not having pain, I always stress that it is important to have someone assess your movement and your spine a couple of times a year (minimum) to ensure that there is nothing just over the horizon.

Many people associate chiropractic care with low back pain, headaches, or neck pain. What they fail to realize is that many of these things (if not all) are preventable not inevitable. Many times the way that we move in daily life is not biomechanical.

What the heck does that mean? The curves in the spine begin to develop as soon as a baby starts to gain muscular control over their head and lift it up. Crawling and other developmental stages help to build your spine into the shape that it is as an adult. Basically, we are born with a C-shaped spine that develops into 3 distinct curves in the neck, mid back, and low back. Throughout this same process, we also build patterns into our brains that help our muscles support the skeleton in different motions.

Over time through minor and major falls, injuries, too much sitting, text neck, and so much more, our body builds compensation patterns to make up for what we cannot do perfectly. You can live for many years with a compensation pattern before another straw lands on the camel’s back and you have a major issue. This is why you will often hear, “I picked up a pencil and threw out my back!” Odds are it was not the pencil, but the lifting and bending pattern that had been present for many years.

As chiropractors, we are trained to analyze the body and pick out these patterns for correction. I am lucky to combine my chiropractic training with the training in biomechanics and rehabilitation learned in my Masters of Sport Science and Rehabilitation to help you to be as stable and balanced as possible.

This does, however, mean HOMEWORK. I was really happy to think I left homework behind me when I walked across that last stage to get my diploma… but then I learned that the most important homework is not what is on your desk or computer. It is the corrective exercises that are assigned to retrain your brain and your posture. Chiropractically, I can perform an adjustment to the spine or to a joint and normalize its motion; however, if you return to doing things exactly the way that you have always done them it will just go back out of balance.

My main goal is to have my patients not need me for pain relief but to get checked periodically to ensure that their home exercises are still appropriate, that their body is holding its balance, and that they are making progress.

Is there something you would like me to write about? Drop a comment on this page or on Facebook to suggest a future blog topic!