In my experience, most parents are very willing and confident in having their children checked and adjusted by a chiropractor. They should be. Chiropractors are experts on the spine- all spines. In fact, there are no hands more skilled than that of a chiropractor to analyze and correct structural and neural dysfunction in the spine. The purpose of this article is to help outline the how and why of children and chiropractic- particularly for those who are not chiropractic patients…yet.
We Don’t “treat” Anything
The first thing any chiropractor should say about treating any population of people, including children, is that we do not treat any specific disease or disease state. Chiropractor’s role in the health of any individual is to locate and correct spinal nerve stress, called vertebral subluxations, that interfere with the body’s ability to heal and express health to it’s fullest potential. We optimize the body’s ability to function at it’s best. When that happens, yes-amazing things happen in the body. Ear infections clear up and are prevented, asthma is less pronounced and more easily managed and immune function is enhanced thus fighting all types of illness better. As as result, children heal more readily when they are sick, but they also get sick less in the first place when under wellness care. Structural imbalances are detected early and treated as well. No one should dispute that fewer medications being dispensed and fewer trips to the doctor are a good thing.
Spinal Nerve Stress Explained
It has been demonstrated that pressures as little as 10mm Hg ( fingertip pressure) can cause significant neural dysfunction, decreasing the number and amplitude of nerve impulses by up to 60%. This mechanical pressure on the nerve and surrounding tissues can cause tissue to be choked off ( so to speak) and results in the release of chemical inflammatory agents. That causes altered function of surrounding tissue and distal organs. Healthy bodily functions are compromised when under spinal nerve stress. Chiropractors recognize this spinal nerve stress as spinal subluxations and we correct this via a safe, gentle spinal adjustment.
How Do Children Get Spinal Subluxations Anyway?
Subluxations are caused by physical, emotional and mental stress. For many children the first spinal stress occurs in the womb with fetal positioning or during the birth process itself. Even a normal, healthy birth can be physically straining for the baby, particularly in the cervical spine. That is why chiropractors encourage a spinal check shortly after birth. Once a child is moving about, I think any parent knows, they topple, fall, and land on their behind pretty much all the time. In older children carrying of backpacks, sitting all day in school, chronic cell phone use and sports injuries can begin serious spinal issues that, if left uncorrected, can lead to chronic structural distortions, pain and eventual compromised health. Children experiencing stress or anxiety should also be checked and adjusted. An important thing to remember is that subluxations frequently cause no pain at all. They do however sit and fester altering structure and function until they are corrected. Unfortunately it is usually pain that brings people into the chiropractor’s office.
It has been demonstrated that pressures as little as 10mm Hg ( fingertip pressure) can cause significant neural dysfunction, decreasing the number and amplitude of nerve impulses by up to 60%.
Structure Most Definitely Affects Function
The vital structure of the spinal cord and spinal nerves are housed and protected by the skull and all of the individual movable vertebrae of the spine. The structure designed to protect the spine can sometimes irritate it, causing pain, inflammation and altered function. The structure (bones) of the spine can alter the proper function (nervous system) of the body. Sure signs that your child needs to get checked by a chiropractor include frequent colds and sinus infections, ear infections, asthma, difficulty nursing, constipation or colic, rubbing or banging of the head, sleep problems, altered gait, toe-ing out of one or both limbs or pain anywhere.
Neither myself nor the authors of recent studies are suggesting that chiropractic care be considered a substitute for prudent, proper medical attention for any child. However, it should be noted, that traditional pharmacological approaches to the management of asthma, ear infections and other childhood maladies, have been shown to represent a risk to the patient. Chiropractic, on the contrary is remarkably safe. As shown in a recent study, chiropractic care may also be associated with self-reported decrease in asthma-related impairment to the patient, including the patient’s perception of reduced respiratory effort, as well as a decreased incidence of asthmatic “attacks.” As with any healthcare decision, the benefits need to be weighed against potential risks and pharmaceuticals pose a much greater risk than natural chiropractic.
Even though all chiropractors are capable of adjusting children, not all of them are experienced in it or make adjusting children part of their practice. I am a firm believer in word-of-mouth. Ask around from like-minded parents, check your local papers and get a sense of what practitioners invite and encourage pediatric patients. Ask if you could have a free consult and meet the chiropractor. You may feel immediately at ease and want to schedule an exam for your child. If you are in the Charlotte, NC area I hope you’ll give me a call of course!
Know that you are in good, safe hands with chiropractic and will likely allow your child to experience a whole new level of health with fewer illness’, fewer doctor visits and fewer medications. You will be preventing illness by means of “well care” rather than treating illness after the fact with sick care.
If you would like to schedule a free 15 minute consultation, feel free to call 704-577-7458 today!