Chiropractors have been caring for children for more than 100 years. More and more parents, especially those who are already chiropractic patients themselves, seek this safe, natural form of health care for their children.
Chiropractic is based on the important relationship between the spine and the nervous system, in that, dysfunction in the spine and its joints can lead to dysfunction within the nervous system, and since the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the systems of the body, spinal dysfunction can have wide ranging effects on the body’s health.
Some parents may be worried that chiropractic care for infants involves force. However, when adjusting an infant, chiropractor’s use about the same pressure that would be used to test a tomato for ripeness, an amount that would not cause discomfort against the eyeball. In fact, if the infant is asleep during the checkup and adjustment they will rarely even wake up.
What does chiropractic care involve?
The first thing a chiropractor will do is to conduct a thorough history of your child’s health and any complaints. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate paediatric spinal problems so this is followed by a complete physical examination of the child’s spine where they will use gentle, specific skills to find and adjust any involved spinal areas.
Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments. This is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints which have become locked and are causing interference to the normal nervous system function. Occasionally, the adjustments will make a ‘popping’ sound when the spinal joints are moved however, this is not always heard when children’s spines are adjusted.
A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the United States, Canada, and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. These preliminary data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available.
Unless a child has an obvious problem it can be difficult for a parent to recognise when a child’s spine is not working correctly. There are some signs which can indicate spinal problems which include:
- disturbed sleeping patterns
- breastfeeding difficulties in the very young
- restricted head or neck movement to one side
- one shoulder higher than the other
Common childhood disorders can also be linked with spinal dysfunction, these include:
- recurrent ear infections
- persistent sore throats and colds
- bedwetting and/or constipation
- growing pains
One of the most common reasons for parents to seek chiropractic care for their child is physical trauma from an injury of some sort. The spinal misalignments that may occur at the time of the injury will not necessarily result in immediate pain or symptoms. In addition to physical stress, parents should be aware that emotional and chemical stress affect the child’s nervous system and may also warrant a spinal check up.
Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal dysfunction resulting from these stresses, and chiropractic adjustments may help to enhance future function and well-being. Your local Chiropractor would be more than happy to provide you with more information on how chiropractic care can help your child. For a full list of registered Chiropractors in your area please visit www.chiropractic.ie