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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dougley

Children and Chiropractic Care




Whilst many adults understand the need to take care of their spines, and what issues to look for, it can be trickier to determine when a child is in need of chiropractic care. Many children will not express that they are in pain and they are often able to continue their daily activities even if they are in mild discomfort. Younger children are also unsure of how to communicate that they are experiencing pain. Despite this, there are things you as the caregiver can be aware of that might help you know when it’s time to get their spine checked!


Is it Safe?

Before we dive in to the main topics of this article, most people are probably wondering if chiropractic care is even safe for their child. The good news is that chiropractic care is safe for anyone at any age, including new born babies. The trained chiropractor simply has to change the amount of pressure or treatment style according to the person’s size and condition.


There are many different chiropractic methods and not all of them involve “twisting” or “cracking”. These methods employ an adjusting instrument that clicks, and applies a small force, making the adjustment to the spine. This is known as an Activator or adjusting instrument, and is usually the best treatment technique for children. However, the best treatment technique should be chosen by the chiropractor after examining your child and determining the cause of their problem.


Headaches

Children can develop headaches at almost any age, and if they do, it is important to get their spine checked as the neck or “cervical spine” is often where headaches can stem from. These types of headaches are known as “cervicogenic” headaches.


What causes cervicogenic headaches? Any of the following can contribute to neck dysfunction and can lead to these types of headaches: * Bad posture, * Falling over, * Concussions, * Watching too much TV, * Eye strain, * Poor sleeping position.


When visiting a chiropractor for headaches, the Doctor will do a history and examination to determine where the headaches are coming from. If he or she finds that the headaches are coming from the neck, they will recommend a treatment plan to help correct the dysfunction causing the problem. This may include spinal adjustments, muscle release work, posture advice and stretches. If the chiropractor determines the headaches are not coming from the spine, and perhaps are related the child’s diet, the doctor will make necessary recommendations or refer accordingly.


Recurrent ear infections or other infections

If children have trouble fighting off infections, or have recurrent infections, it may be a sign that their immune system is weak, which can relate back to their spine health. Of course, medical attention is necessary in these situations but if a child is requiring frequent visits to the medical doctor for antibiotics then it might be worthwhile to also visit the chiropractor.

It has been shown that adjustments to the spine can boost an immune response, and those who get adjusted regularly have less infections or other mild illnesses. This is because the nervous system controls the immune system, and since the nervous system is inside of our spines, it is important to make sure the spine is healthy so that the nervous system can thrive.


Stomach pain and Constipation

The nervous system controls everything in our bodies, from keeping our heart beating to moving our legs and arms, it is the master fuse box of our bodies. It also regulates digestion and therefore if a child is having stomach pain or constipation, it could be because the nerves controlling their stomach are irritated or not able to function fully. This problem can stem from the lower thoracic spine and a chiropractor is able to detect and correct problems in this area.


In general kids, respond very quickly to chiropractic care, and so, if the problem is related to the spine, you will know within a matter of weeks of beginning care, as there should be improvements. In general, if 6-8 visits to a chiropractor have not helped the child’s problem, then it is safe to say, it is not going to be the fix, but will still benefit their overall spinal health.


If they have had a significant fall(s)

Children fall often, especially as they begin learning to walk. The continual falls and bumps to their tailbone, and spine, can lead to problems further down the road if the issue is not addressed. This is especially true for significant falls or accidents that children can have.

Children heal quickly, and often won’t feel pain for very long, even after a big fall or accident. However, if there has been a big fall or lots of smaller injuries, then their body and their spines can sometimes heal out of alignment. This can create dysfunction in their spine, where the parts don’t move the way they should, leading to future issues such as pain or spinal degeneration. This is why getting kids checked by a chiropractor from a young age is vital to their future spine and overall health.


Concussion

Concussions are probably the injury parents fear the most, especially for those kids who are competing in sports. But as we know, concussions can happen anywhere and to anyone. If you suspect a concussion in your child it is important to get them proper medical attention immediately to rule out any significant brain injuries, but once they have been cleared by a medical professional they will need to have their injures addressed and rehabilitated by a trained concussion care provider. Many chiropractors have this type of training, and it is important to ask before seeing a chiropractor for concussion care.


A chiropractor trained in concussion will be able to assess, diagnose and help with the rehabilitation process. It is important to begin this right way so that concussion symptoms and the injuries caused by the accident can begin to heal. If the injuries don’t heal properly, then children can end up with headaches, difficulty concentrating, and mental health issues and can feel dysregulated.


Sleep problems

One of the most common signs that a child’s health is not optimal is their sleeping pattern. Children who have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently or are tired even though they see to sleep enough, likely have something interfering with their ability to sleep.

It is important to make sure kids are not using devices or watching TV before bed, and that they do not consume sugar or other processed foods too close to bed time. However, if their lifestyle is generally healthy, but they are having trouble with sleep, a visit to the chiropractor might be necessary.


Sleep disruption is also one of the most common problems in newborn babies and infants. Sleep problems can even persist as they continue to grow into toddlers.

Whatever age the child is, if sleep is becoming problematic, it is important to get their spine checked. Our nervous systems allow us to enter into sleep and if there is a spinal problem interfering with this process, then chiropractic adjustments can be the answer.


Conclusion

Our office offers safe and gentle chiropractic care for people of all ages. If you feel your child needs to be seen by a chiropractor and still have a few questions, please feel free to call us and book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our chiropractors. We can be reached at 519-751-0728 or by emailing pathwaystohopebrant@gmail.com. Our chiropractors are happy to discuss your child’s case with you before beginning care so that you can be sure chiropractic care is the best thing for them.

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