Kids

KIDS NEED CHIROPRACTIC TOO!

 

Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?

Considerable media coverage has been provided in the past year or two for
the chiropractic treatment of spinal problems in children. This coverage
has frequently attempted to dramatize chiropractic spinal adjusting for
children as being unsafe and unnecessary. Reported cases have bordered upon
sensational with untrue “facts” and impressions frequently being
conveyed in an apparent endeavor to boost program ratings. Media coverage
of the availability of spinal care for children, rather than dissuading
parents from bringing their children to chiropractors, in many cases, has
actually resulted in more parents seeking chiropractic care for their children.

This article attempts to answer the questions asked by many parents about
their children’s spinal health. Just as parents are concerned to 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 for?” The answer
to that question is the trauma of a child’s daily life. The spine consists
of 26 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. Medical research has identified the fact that many problems early
in a child’s life can come from birth trauma. (See “KISS”
Syndrome – DC 6/3/94).

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, and the number of simple falls encountered in this way, can induce
trauma to the lower spinal segments and to the large sacro-iliac joints
of the pelvis. Young children learning to walk also fall and hit their heads;
these apparently innocent, frequently occurring events can also create spinal
subluxations.

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 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, restricted head or neck motion 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.

Can My Child’s Pediatrician Find and Treat These Problems?

This is a reasonable question for parents to ask, since the community generally
considers the medical profession to have all the answers to every medical
problem. Unfortunately, when it comes to subtle spinal problems, your child’s
pediatrician is not a trained specialist. The medical profession does have
doctors who specialize in spinal problems, known as orthopedic surgeons,
but these doctors generally work on the more serious spinal conditions.
Few medical doctors, be they orthopedic specialists or pediatricians, are
trained to recognize the subtle spinal problems which can cause the conditions
listed above. A typical example is the case of Tiffany, the daughter of
Donald Trump and Marla Maples, who was being treated by a chiropractor for
colic. Several well respected medical professors from UCLA were reported
in a national tabloid as saying that spinal problems could not have anything
to do with colic. This is an example of not being aware of the medical research
studies which have clearly identified a definite link between colic and
problems in an infant’s spine. Because the scientific literature identifying
the benefits of spinal manipulation for children’s problems is not
extensive, it is understandable that medical doctors may not be up-to-date
in this specialized area.

How Are Children’s Spinal Problems Treated?

The first thing our 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.

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.

Most adjustments make a “popping” sound when the spinal joints
are moved, however, this sound is not always heard when children’s
spines are adjusted.

Does it Hurt?

Generally, no. However, very young infants sometimes take momentary fright
at the sudden movement and may cry for a few seconds.

How Many Treatments Are Required?

Children’s spines are a lot more mobile than those of adults and as
a result usually require only a few 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.

What Risks Are Involved In Having My Child’s Spine Adjusted?

The risk of a child suffering a permanent injury from a spinal manipulation
is extremely rare. Chiropractors have been adjusting children’s spines
for most of the 100 years since chiropractic was first established with
an excellent safety record. A check of some of the largest insurance carriers
who provide malpractice insurance coverage for chiropractors in the U.S.
has identified that, despite the recent adverse media coverage, not one
claim for injury to a child has been filed in the past five years.

Why Children Visit The Chiropractor

Many pediatricians are now referring their patients to chiropractors before
putting “the tubes” into the kid’s ears, to try a conservative
alternative: A refreshing new move in the health care profession.

So far, the survey has identified 82 conditions or reasons why kids go
to chiropractors. Preliminary results from the recent survey (N=600), identify
the TOP 10 pediatric conditions treated by chiropractors to be:

1. 11.3% Earache

2. 10.6% Neck Pain

3. 10.3% Check-up

4. 8.8% Headache

5. 7.1% Upper Resp. Infection

6. 6.3% Low Back Pain

7. 4.5% Allergies

8. 3.3% Asthma

9. 3.3% Enuresis (Bedwetting)

10. 3.2% Thoracic Pain

These to 10 conditions account for almost 70% of the reasons why kids make
visits to the chiropractor.