Why Does My Child Need
You'll probably never see your five or six-year-old bend over to pick up a toy and freeze in pain saying, "Oh, my back went out again." Spinal degenerations and vertebral subluxations that cause that kind of pain will generally not appear in children -- but it started there.
Natural childbirth has come to mean many different things, but for the purpose of this article let's keep it simple and say that it is a drug-free, vaginal delivery. Even with no pitocin, no epidural, the mother walking regularly to help the contractions, and no extraction methods being used, childbirth causes stress to a still developing spine.
Add to this the improper lifting of the child out of a car seat or during a diaper changing; and minor spinal traumas are occurring that affect the spine and nervous system causing common newborn health complaints:
• Unexplained crying
• Poor appetite
• Earaches or ear infections
• Allergic reactions
Even a minor spinal trauma will affect the nervous system and interfere with your child's normal healthy function.
Learning to Walk
When a child first learns to stand up they tend to use a coffee table, a couch, mom or dad's fingers, whatever is in reach to pull themselves to their feet. Once they're up there, how do they get down? That's right; they plop down onto their bottom and crawl away. When they're starting to take their first few venturous steps toward walking they stand next to the table or couch, wobble back and forth a little bit, take one or two hesitant steps toward the middle of the room and, once again, plop onto their bottom. In some instances, the child doesn't make it far enough away from the table or chair and hits their head on furniture. These constant and repeated jars to the spine will not in themselves cause a major spinal injury, but as they accumulate repetitive stress injuries do occur.
Exploring Their Surroundings
During the first few years of life, children will develop from helpless infants into fearless adventurers. Bumps and falls naturally come with your child's desire to learn everything about the world around them in the quickest amount of time possible, but these bumps and falls will cause trauma to the spine. When spinal bones lose their normal position or ability to move during this stage of tremendous physical growth, possible permanent deformities can occur. Left uncorrected, these small cumulative traumas can have far-reaching effects.
"Many common childhood disorders may be the result of nervous system interference…."
While a Doctor of Chiropractic doesn't treat or cure illnesses, many common childhood disorders may be the result of nervous system interference or malfunction caused by spine related problems, such as:
• Learning disorders
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but appropriate Chiropractic care can help locate and correct these problems and restore normal spinal and nervous system function.
The Vertebral Subluxation Complex
As you can see, our children bump and jar their spine constantly in the first five years of life, and after that their normal everyday activities can cause the vertebrae that protect the spine to lose their normal motion or position. Each of these spinal traumas cause lasting effects: delicate nerve tissue can be damaged resulting in interference with the brain's ability to send nerve impulses to organs, tissues and muscles; discs, blood vessels and other soft tissues can swell and become inflamed; the body may respond with bone spurs and other abnormal bone growth; and various systems through the body may malfunction.
In each of these examples; pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present at the time, yet optimum health and well-being have been compromised.
Your Child's Developing Spine
There are three windows of time in which your child's spine will go through major stages of development. The first of these is birth through age five. This is definitely the most critical time since it is during this period that the child also has the most minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries to the spine.
The second window of development is five years to ten years of age. During this time your child will begin school and spend recess climbing on monkey bars, sliding down slides, playing organized sports and generally themselves open to repeated falls and tumbles resulting in their own spinal injuries.
Finally, at age ten to fifteen-years-old, your child's spine will go through its last stage of development. During this final stage, your child's spinal growth will be greatly affected by most if not all of the following:
• Improper backpack loading and carrying
• Poor Posture
• An Inactive or sedentary lifestyle
• Repetitive sports movements
• Typical Sports Injuries:
o Being hit in the head with a ball
o Tackled on the field
o Falling off a skateboard or rollerblades
o Wrestling with Dad
It may be possible that you missed the first window of opportunity for care, but it's not too late; your child or teenager can benefit from chiropractic care.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Even as the public is becoming more aware of the benefit of early detection and care of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex, the odds are that you were looking for pain relief for yourself as an adult when you first went to see your Family Wellness Chiropractor. During your initial examination it's possible that a certain Phase of Degeneration was detected. If you were informed that you are at Phase 1 then the original damage to your spine was likely ten to twenty years ago. If you were at Phase 2, the original damage to your spine was probably about twenty to forty years ago.
Basically, if you first saw your Chiropractor when you were in your late twenties and you're a Phase 1 of degeneration, then the damage to your spine originated when you were a child. So, the most obvious answer to the question of why your child may need Chiropractic care is: avoid having your child suffer the same pain that first brought you in to see a Chiropractor. Spinal problems that go undetected or neglected in children become more serious problems as adults.
As a Chiropractic patient you're already aware of the benefits of Chiropractic care. You've experienced for yourself the relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. Give your child the opportunity that you weren't given: to benefit from the body's innate ability to heal itself and grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system.
Frequently Asked Questions We Should Be Able to Answer in a Family Wellness Practice
By Claudia Anrig, DC
Those doctors in family wellness practices often have to answer different questions in the adjusting rooms than those practices that have a different focus such as sports, rehabilitative, relief or injury care.
Often, when an adult patient enters the practice, they may not know that: Chiropractors adjust children-chiropractic care can include a wellness component; chiropractic care can help pregnant women to experience a higher quality labor and delivery or that many women report back to their chiropractor that their labor was easier and their pregnancy practically pain-free after seeking pre-natal chiropractic care.
Now, more than ever, there is a trend of young progressive parents seeking non-invasive ways to care for their children and themselves. Pregnant women also are adding a prenatal family chiropractor to their health team. In a family wellness practice, you are asked questions that should have concise answers which direct parents to make a well-informed decision when it comes to their families.
Some of the questions in this article may appear to be simplistic, but if your staff or your most ideal patients were asked these questions, would you be pleased with their answers? The quality of your responses reflects upon the essential educational nature of your practice.
What is vertebral subluxation? Your spine is made up of small joints called vertebrae. When these small joints get slightly misaligned, due to repetitive stress injuries or sudden falls, it irritates the nerves. When the nerve isn't functioning correctly, it can result in symptoms related to organs, muscles and systems of the body.
How does a subluxation occur? Any major or even minor spinal trauma (a fall, a jolt, a sudden movement) can cause the vertebrae to become misaligned, resulting in a subluxation. This can happen in children due to birth trauma, as well as falls and tumbles in their first 10 years of life.
What is a chiropractic adjustment? Your doctor of chiropractic gently moves the vertebrae back into place; removing nerve interference and allowing the body to improve its function, resulting in a better expression of health.
Will my child be adjusted every time I bring them in to have their spine checked? Your family wellness chiropractor wants your child to have regular check ups due to the many falls and tumbles that are part of their everyday life. There is a very small window of time when your child's spine is developing (from birth to age 18) in which to prevent adult problems. However, if your child doesn't need to be adjusted, then it's a checkup visit only. The fact is that checkups with a chiropractor will be much more frequent than with any other health care provider because the spine is more sensitive to outside stress, strains and small repetitive injuries than any other part of the body.
Why should I bring my child to a chiropractor? Like dentistry, early care prevents adulthood spinal problems.
Why should children be under chiropractic care? The spine is developing rapidly in the first 10 years of life. It is highly affected by the falls and injuries common in those years and the repetitive movements that occur the following eight years (backpacks, increased computer usage and poor posture). Like dentistry, many parents see the benefits of providing preventative care for their children and see this as an important role in their child's:overall health and wellness.
Should I be worried that my child could be hurt by a chiropractic adjustment? Absolutely not! Your family wellness chiropractor uses safe and gentle techniques adapted for babies or children.
Can chiropractic care cure common childhood illnesses? No, however, parents report back that after receiving regular chiropractic adjustments, there is a marked improvement in their children's quality of life. Basically, chiropractic care facilitates one's natural function, which typically leads to an expression of better health.
Can children get addicted to chiropractic adjustments? Absolutely not! The family wellness chiropractor examines the child and determines when they need to be adjusted. Parents participate in the decision-making process regarding frequency of care.
Do medical doctors refer to chiropractors? Yes, there is a growing trend of obstetricians, pediatricians and family doctors referring patients for chiropractic care as they see the benefits of spinal adjustments. They recognize that this is out of the scope of their practice.
Are chiropractors anti-medical doctors? No, your family wellness chiropractor recognizes the important role that a medical doctor plays in your family's health and believes in a team approach. When your son or daughter needs medical attention, that's where your chiropractor will encourage you to go.
Are chiropractors anti-drug? No, but they recognize that a body that is functioning properly may not need drugs. The decision to use or discontinue medications or over-the-counter drugs is between the parent and their medical advisor.
What if my medical doctor tells me not to take my children to a chiropractor? Many obstetricians, pediatricians and family practitioners are beginning to see the benefits of chiropractic care for children, but there still are a great number of medical doctors that have not accepted the facts. For every doctor who tells you that chiropractic care is dangerous or a placebo for children, you'll find a handful that will tell you that it's perfectly safe and beneficial. The final decision is up to you.
Can women who are pregnant receive chiropractic care? Of course! Many pregnant women report back to their chiropractors the tremendous benefits they've received through regular adjustments. These include: less back pain, less discomfort during the pregnancy, less morning sickness and an improved quality of labor and delivery.
What is the Webster technique? The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which reduces interference to the nervous system, improving function of the pelvic muscles and ligaments leading to the reduction of constraint to the woman's uterus and allowing the fetus the best opportunity to be positioned for a healthy birth.
Can a chiropractic adjustment turn a breech baby? Chiropractors do not perform any obstetrical services; however, the Websters technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which reduces interference to the nervous system, improving function of the pelvic muscles and ligaments leading to the reduction of constraint to the woman's uterus and allowing the fetus the best opportunity to be positioned for a healthy birth.
Can chiropractic care be affordable for my entire family? Families that receive wellness chiropractic care usually report the overall improved quality of life of their family members. They further report with their improved health they often are saving money, which makes it affordable to have the entire family in for care. Of course, knowing that you've provided your child the opportunity to have a healthy adulthood is the greatest benefit.
ARE KIDS WHO RECEIVE CHIROPRACTIC CARE HEALTHIER?
If you have young children or grandchildren, then you'll want to read this article.
Many patients new to chiropractic care don't realize that infants, toddlers, pre-teens, and teens get chiropractic care. They often ask, "Why would kids get chiropractic care? They don't have back pain." The answer is simple. Chiropractic is so much more than back and neck pain relief. Chiropractic adjustments make the body work better. They boost the immune system. They reduce stress on the physical body. They do all sorts of amazing and beneficial things to keep you healthy. There is no age limit to receiving the awesome health benefits of chiropractic care. In our office we see patients from birth to death. Chiropractic care can make a difference at any age.
Now, what about this question: "Are kids who receive chiropractic care healthier than kids who don't receive chiropractic care?"
What do you think?
A research study was done several years ago to figure this out. Here's what they found:
1. there is a "definite" correlation between chiropractic care and superior health.
2. 69% of the chiropractic children (kids who receive regular chiropractic care) have never had an ear infection, while only 20% of the children who only receive medical care.
3. Medical treatment is disease treatment. Chiropractic healthcare is primarily preventative.
4. 95% of chiropractors considered that chiropractic had a positive effect on their children's health.
5. The study has shown that children raised with getting chiropractic care are less prone to infectious processes such as ear infections and tonsillitis and their immune systems are better able to cope with allergens like pollen, weeds, grasses, etc. compared to children who do not receive chiropractic care.
6. Chiropractors responded that the "recovery time from any trauma or illness by their children was more rapid than that of their children's peers."
7. The study has shown that there is validity in the premise that chiropractic has a positive effect on the health status of individuals."
8. The results of the study confirm the benefits of the chiropractic model of health care on the health status of children.
So there you have it! Chiropractic works great with kids. If you would like your children or grandchildren to start receiving the benefits of chiropractic care, I'd like to help you get them started. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me or call.
Hope to see you and your children soon,
Dr. Timothy Erickson
Source: The American Chiropractor, November 2008