Jun 24 2016
When we think of chiropractic care, rarely does the thought of adjustments for children come to mind, but chiropractic is a vital way to ensure health, growth, function, and optimal growth for children of all ages – including toddlers, babies and even newborns. In fact, infancy and the first years of life are the most effective time for a person to receive chiropractic adjustments, alleviating jammed or misaligned vertebrae segments that cause spinal problems or subluxations. That’s why more than 30 million children benefit from chiropractic adjustments every year, with a stellar safety record and a patient satisfaction rating of approximately 84% – compared with one incredibly lower for traditional medicine.
Why chiropractic care is important for children
The basis of chiropractic focuses on the essential relationship between the spine and a person’s nervous system. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the body’s important systems, organs, and cells, misalignments and dysfunction in the spine can cause interference in the nervous system, leading to a host of health issues. But chiropractors are trained to restore true alignment, allowing the body to heal, develop, and function naturally. Of course that’s true for children and infants just as much as grown adults – if not more, as we’ll see.
Children not only benefit from chiropractic care, they often desperately need it, as trauma to their spines and subsequent disruptions to their nervous systems are common in the early years.
There are several major reasons for nervous system disruption in children, toddlers, and newborns:
In utero position
Even before they are born, a fetus’ developing spine is placed in a stressful position in utero. The same positions that cause problem with labor – like brow, breech, transverse, posterior, ascynclitic, etc. – can result in problems for the baby’s spine and stress on the nervous system.
One of the most physically traumatic experiences a child suffers can be the birth process, itself. During the birth, the fragile spine can become twisted, torqued or compressed, and a doctor’s use of forceps, vacuums, or even their hands can cause misalignments and distortions that manifest in the nervous system.
Anyone who’s watched a toddler or young child for more than 5 minutes is shocked by the nonstop parade of falls, spills, jolts, bumps, and acrobatics they endure. We always remark how tough kids are, but these falls and accidents can build up, creating trauma to the spine that will cause more serious developmental and health problems as they get older.
There are a litany of stressors that can lead to spinal trauma and interference in the nervous system for developing youth, including physical, chemical and emotional stressors, as well as environmental factors from home, school, or at school with other children. Even carrying backpacks and schoolbooks that are too heavy could do damage.
Athletics and play
Children play hard, and bumps, bruises, falls, and injuries on the playground, recess, or while playing athletics can all have an impact on a young person’s still-developing spine and nervous system.
Sometimes, a parent can spot the symptoms of a child’s spinal misalignment or nervous system disruption. They may notice that the child’s head usually tilts to one side, their head or neck movement is restricted to one side, the child sleeps only a couple hours at a time, and the tendency to nurse on one predominant side for infants.
As children develop through their first years, they may exhibit other symptoms that are harder to spot or attribute to a spinal problem, or just deemed normal for kids.
They could include:
Prolonged or recurring illness
Visual and auditory disturbances
Furthermore, difficulty with developmental milestones like sitting up, crawling or walking are a sign that the spine is a good reason to bring a child to the chiropractor.
So how can a chiropractor help children and babies?
When you bring your children in for a consultation, the first thing we’ll do is a very thorough evaluation, followed by an examination of your child’s spine that is totally comfortable for them. If we identify issues, adjustments will be made gently and with specific techniques that are safe and appropriate for children and even infants. With babies, sometimes it only takes a light fingertip’s pressure to gently correct a spinal misalignment, restoring proper nervous system function.
Is it safe?
Yes. Chiropractic care for children and infants has been practiced for more than 100 years with an exemplary track record of safety for both adults and young ones. In fact, a check of some of the largest insurance carriers that provide malpractice insurance coverage for chiropractors in the United States reveals not even one claim resulting from an injury to a child in the past five years. The vast majority of children won’t suffer any discomfort, and even if there is a notable sensation it is just because an area is already misaligned or interrupted, and a feeling of relief follows after realignment.
When should you bring your child to the chiropractor?
Due to the traumas and stresses from time in-utero and birth, it’s best to bring a baby to see us as soon as possible, even checking their spine right after birth. The earlier we find and clear any misalignments and nervous system interference, the more benefits they’ll see with development, growth, and future health.
Chiropractors like Dr. Casazza who specialize in performing adjustments on children and infants use gentle, proven, non-invasive methods that are tailored to each patient, so please feel free to contact us any time so we can discuss it more.