Pediatric Chiropractic – Start Early for Better Health
The early years are very important in determining how healthy our children will be in later years. It is for exactly this reason that chiropractic care is essential for your child’s health.
When Is the Right Time to Start?
Just as with anything, stopping a problem when it is small is always better than trying to stop it when it has grown. And, as with any health issue, preventing the issue in the first place is the best choice of all.
Think about a dentist and the care he gives to your child. You don’t wait until your child is complaining of a toothache before you go to the dentist the first time. Instead, you begin taking them to the dentist at the point that they get teeth and do so twice a year for the rest of their childhood. When there, the dentist will clean their teeth, add fluoride and fix any problems while they are still small. The dentist will also evaluate your child – her mouth and her dental habits – to help you with a plan of action for the right care in the future.
The same is true for chiropractic, only for chiropractic you are talking about your child’s spine. Since the vertebral column and central nervous system is the master controlling system of every organ, tissue and cell, maintaining a healthy spine is imperative.
You can begin taking your child to a doctor of chiropractic from birth and continue to do so for maintenance checks based upon your child’s specific needs.
Just as a dentist teaches a child to brush and floss, a chiropractor will teach your child how to care for their
spine. They will learn from a young age that spinal degeneration and spinal injury is often preventable.
What Parents Need to Know About Pediatric Chiropractic
Most people wonder, “What in the world could my young child have wrong with their spine that would need a visit to the chiropractor?” The answer is simple. Your child lives a traumatic life. Think about a small child learning to walk and the number of times she sits down hard. Think about the bicycle wrecks, the tree climbing or simply carrying around a school backpack. All of these things and more contribute to spinal problems called subluxations and the need for early adjustments.
Most children come into the world with perfectly formed spines. It is the world that causes the problems. From the birth process itself to bicycle riding, everyday life can cause vertebral subluxations.
So how can a parent recognize spinal problems in their children? Unless there is an obvious problem, you aren’t likely to know. It would be like asking you to know if your child had tooth decay. Unless there was a black spot you wouldn’t know. Only a dentist would find a tiny speck at the base of a tooth, for instance. That is why you need a highly trained chiropractor to evaluate your child’s spine.
There are, however, signs that you can be aware of:
. Child’s head being consistently tilted to one side
. Restricted head or neck movement on one side
. Poor sleep patterns
. Infant feeding problems
. Difficultly nursing as well on both breasts
. Constant earaches or sore throats
. Growing pains
Chiropractic Helps Relieve Colic in Infants
316 infants with colic received spinal evaluations and chiropractic care. Improvement was noted within a two-week period in 94 percent of the infants treated, on average, after only three treatments. 1
You may be wondering why a chiropractor would be called to treat ear infections instead of a pediatrician. If the problem is the spine, a pediatrician will not catch the problem because they are not trained to find vertebral subluxations.
I used to have trouble going potty. My mom took me to the doctor and he said I was constipated. Nothing the doctor did worked. Finally mommy took me to Dr. Rardin and after just one adjustment I was able to go potty without any trouble. I am so relieved mommy took me to Dr.Rardin.
Amy, age 2
My mom took me to see Dr.Rardin. I was not crying when he adjusted me. I used to have headaches and I used to cough a lot from asthma. And after he adjusted me I did
not have any more coughing and headaches. I skateboard better too. I can bike, throw, run faster, draw good, write good. I have terrific brain work. I do all these things well since I met Dr. Rardin. I wrote this note for all the kids to come and read this note so they could all come to this chiropractor and be healthy. I like my chiropractor.
When I was a baby I always got ear infections. I always had to take medicine given by my doctor. When the medicine didn’t work they put tubes in. The tubes came out and they put in some more. The second ones also came out. Then I started going to Dr.Patrick. He is helping me with my ears. I have not had any more infections.
How Can My Child Already Have Back Problems?
It is a common belief that “back problems” are for adults and kids simply don’t have them unless they are in some terrible accident. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many childhood spinal issues are the root cause of spinal issues as an adult because they were never taken care of. Let’s take a look at some of the problems your child might encounter.
Infant and toddler issues (symptoms seen include poor eating and sleeping habits):
. Birth Process
. Falls/Trauma – Rolling off the bed, learning to walk, motor vehicle accidents
. Spina bifida - a developmental congenital condition caused by the incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube. Some vertebrae are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. If the opening is large enough, this allows a portion of the spinal cord to stick out through the opening in the bones.
. Klippel-Feil Syndrome - a rare disease where there is a fusion of any two of the seven cervical vertebrae
. Meningitis - inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord due to infection
. Discitis - an inflammation of the vertebral disc space often related to infection
. Vertebral osteomyelitis - infection in the vertebral body itself caused by either a bacteria or a fungus; it is different than a disc space infection and shows up as an infection elsewhere in the body.
Children ages 3 to 10 (children are able to communicate and locate pain if pain exists):
. Trauma - from falls, motor vehicle accidents or child abuse
. Acquired torticollis - an abnormal position of the head and neck, where the head is laterally tilted,
with the chin rotated to the opposite side caused by subluxations
. Spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis - a stress fracture in one of the vertebra; it usually affects the fifth lumbar vertebra in the lower back, although it can affect the fourth lumbar vertebra
. Meningitis, Vertebral osteomyelitis, Discitis
. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis - a common type of chronic arthritis in children causing joint pain and swelling
Adolescent (Any of the 3 to 10 year old issues, plus the following):
. Facet tropism - due to overuse associated with certain sports that require hyperextension causing a variation between the left and right sides of the same vertebral segment
Chiropractic Care Helps Adolescent Scoliosis
Children with mild scoliosis treated with chiropractic adjustments have shown a reduction in their spinal curvature and provides a distinct advantage in the management and monitoring of early stage scoliosis over the typical medical treatments. 2
. Adolescent Scoliosis - sideways, curvature, and a rotation of the vertebrae, giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side
. Ankylosing spondylitis - a chronic, inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease that mainly affects joints in the spine and in the pelvis, causing eventual fusion of the spine
. Scheuermann's disease - a condition where the normal roundback of the spine is increased, creating a hunch back but no pain
Let’s Talk Treatment
When you take your child to see a doctor of chiropractic, he will conduct a careful evaluation of your child’s spine. A child’s spinal evaluation involves examining the entire spine, from the upper cervical region down to the pelvis. The examination includes motion palpation of the spine to detect subluxations areas of muscle spasm. Due to the intensive training that chiropractors get, most are trained in pediatric evaluations and know the gentle skills needed to do so.
Once a problem is identified, a doctor of chiropractic will adjust the spine. For infants and children, adjustments are done through the use of light fingertips. Such an adjustment uses no more than two pounds of pressure.
Words Defined: Motion Palpation
Method of locating subluxations and loss of mobility in the spine by feeling the motion of specific spinal segments while putting the patient through specific ranges of motion.
Unlike adult spines, children’s spines are more mobile and usually require only a few adjustments to restore normal functioning. However, there is no “set in stone” number of adjustments that your child will need for any particular problem. This will depend not only on the problem, but on the length of time the problem has existed.
Chiropractic Is Safe for Young Children
Since vertebral subluxations affect individuals at any age, chiropractic care from birth is often needed. As with any age group, however, care must be taken to select adjustment methods most appropriate to the patient’s stage of development. Pediatric chiropractic is highly specialized and those who provide this care ensure that all adjusting procedures are modified in order to cater to each child’s size, weight and unique spinal condition.
According to the American Chiropractic Association,
“Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints….Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.” 3
A survey study was done in 1998 in the Boston area to determine the safety of chiropractic.4 That year, there were 420,000 pediatric chiropractic visits made. Of the 420,000,
there was no evidence of harm to children from chiropractic.
No matter whether a child is experiencing neck pain, earaches, headaches, growing pains or any other symptom, as a parent you can feel confident that your child will receive relief safely and effectively.
1. Klougart N, Nilsson N, and Jacobsen J. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. “Infantile colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases.” August 1989.
2. Lantz, Charles. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. “Effects of chiropractic intervention on small scoliotic curves in younger subjects: a time-series cohort design.” 2001.
3. American Chiropractic Association website, http://www.acatoday.org.
4. Lee AC, Li DH, Kemper KJ. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. “Chiropractic care for children.” 2000.