A PARENT'S GUIDE TO
CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR CHILDREN
This article attempts to answer the questions asked by many parents about their children's spinal health. Just as many concerned parents take their children to the dentist for regular check-ups, so it is that many parents who are already chiropractic patients themselves are bringing their children to chiropractors to have their spinal development checked.
The first question relates to the need for children to have regular spinal checks. Frequently parents may ask, "What could my children have wrong with them that they would need to see a chiropractor?" The answer to that question is the trauma of a child's daily life. The spine consists of 24 vertebral segments which can be jammed or misaligned causing minor spinal problems called spinal subluxations.
How Can a Young Infant's Spine Be Traumatized?
A young spine, with few exceptions, usually develops perfectly by the end of pregnancy. It's what happens around the time of birth and in the months thereafter which can sometimes upset the normal functioning of the spine. Spinal segments can be pushed out of place or jammed by the position of the baby in the womb, or can suffer similar problems during labor from the trauma of the trip through the birth canal, or from the birthing process itself.
Spinal problems can also occur as a result of the frequent falls suffered by young infants in the first months of life. A fall from a bed, a sudden stop in an automobile, or any significant unsupported movement of the head and neck in an infant can induce excessive movement in the spine causing vertebral subluxations. At the other end of the spine, the act of learning to walk can induce trauma to the lower spinal segments and to the large sacroiliac joints of the pelvis.
How Can Parents Recognize Childhood Spinal Problems?
Unless a child has an obvious problem, it can be difficult for parents to recognize when a child has spinal subluxations. It is not always easy for someone other than a chiropractor, highly trained in evaluating the spine, to determine if the child has a problem, just as it is difficult for someone other than a dentist to determine if a child has any cavities. Both cases take the skills of a trained specialist to perform a thorough evaluation.
There are some signs however which parents may look for which can be an indicator of a child with a spinal problem. Common indicators of spinal problems may include the child's head consistently being tilted to one side; disturbed sleeping patterns where the child sleeps for only an hour or two at a time; feeding difficulties in the very young infant; the infant may have difficulty nursing at the breast on one particular side.
Common childhood disorders can also sometimes indicate a spinal problem. Persistent earaches, sore throats, colic, headaches, bed-wetting, and growing pains are but some of the more common problems for which parents bring their children to the chiropractor.
How Are Children's Spinal Problems Treated?
The first thing your chiropractor will do is to conduct a careful and thorough evaluation of your child's spine. Most chiropractors are trained to evaluate pediatric spinal problems and will use gentle, specific skills to identify, evaluate, and treat any involved spinal areas. Dr. Trester has been awarded a Fellowship in the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association by completing a one year post graduate course of study and examination in the Principles and Practices of Chiropractic Pediatrics.
What Does the Treatment Involve?
Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light finger-tip adjustments to correct malfunctioning spinal structures. A light spinal adjustment, using no more than two pounds of pressure, is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints which have become locked and are causing interference with the normal function of the nervous system. Children's spines are a lot more mobile than those of adults and as a result, usually require fewer adjustments to restore normal function. The actual number of adjustments, however, may vary depending on the length of time that the condition has been present.