I am frequently asked, "Why do children need chiropractic care? They don't have back pain, do they?" Back pain - no not usually, but injuries in the spine that can lead to back pain and other health problems later in life - yes. Since their bodies are rapidly changing physically and mentally, a properly functioning nervous system is critical for them to grow and develop to their fullest, healthiest potential. Every lost opportunity for "normalcy" robs a child the chance of growing into a healthy, happy and productive adult.
The first trauma most children experience is birth. Even a "normal" birth carries with it the potential for damage to the spine. Long labors, hard contractions from the use of pitocin, a child "stuck" under the pubic bone, use of forceps or suction and pushing (more than 20 to 30 minutes) can create compression or traction of the tiny structures of the neck. This has a profound effect on the child's nervous system. Let's not forget that they have been hanging upside-down for quite some time as well with pressure on their head and neck.
In the first year of life, studies have shown that about 50% of all infants are accidentally dropped. Most commonly this is a fall off a bed, changing table or couch. Early stresses to the spine and nervous system also include baby walkers and baby jumpers. These place a child in an upright position and put stress on the joints of the spine, lumbo-pelvic regions, and lower limbs (including hip joints) before these structures are properly developed for weight bearing. A child is ready for weight bearing on these joints at the time they start to walk (about age one).
Toddlers are prone to injury when they begin to balance and maneuver on two legs. They frequently propel forward, crashing head first into coffee tables or landing on their bottoms. A parent cannot prevent every tumble that will occur. It is important to understand as well that the infants head to body weight ratio is heavier than compared to that of an adults. Their heads "bobble" on top of their necks with little support and balance. This is one reason spinal checkups are important.
Children should have a chiropractic spinal check as close to birth as possible birth, when they start to hold their head up, when they sit up, when they crawl, when they stand and when starting to walk.
School aged children are open to a whole new group of stresses. A large number of head and neck trauma result from sledding accidents, falls from playground equipment, and playing sports, such as soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, lacrosse or football. Sports injuries are common with unilateral (one sided) sports (ex. bowling, pitching) as well. These can influence the spine toward unilateral development (scoliosis). Repetitive habits such as carrying a purse or backpack over one shoulder, or carrying a wallet in the back pocket can do the same thing. Slouching habits seen with long hours of studying, staring endlessly at their cell phones or sitting at a computer can also create stresses on the spine and nervous system.
It is far easier to improve biomechanical and neurophysiological function of the young than to attempt to correct years of damage when they reach adulthood. Once joint deterioration sets in, fully correcting the problem becomes much more difficult if not impossible.
The brain and nervous system control and coordinate every level of growth and development beginning in the womb and continuing throughout life. Interference with the nervous system, due to a vertebral subluxation, robs the potential for optimal growth and development of the child. Only a chiropractor is qualified to know if your child has interference with the nervous system and spinal stress. Your pediatrician has no training on how to detect and correct a subluxation in the spine, and therefore is unable to determine whether chiropractic care is appropriate for your child.
Studies have associated SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) with a misalignment (subluxation) of the upper two bones of the spine (Atlas and Axis or C1 and C2). Digestive problems such as colic and frequent vomiting can also be associated with spinal nerve stress. Signs of a spinal problem include excessive crankiness, poor digestion, vomiting / spitting up too frequently, a tipped head, inability to move the head freely in all directions, poor sleep patterns and frequent illness. Also check your Childs head for symmetry side to side and front to back. Compare the eyes, ears, cheek bones and so on to see if they appear the same on each side. If they re not (one ear is flarred out for example), then chiropractic craniopathy would be helpful in correcting this.
Commit to raising healthier children. Bring your child in for regular chiropractic spinal checkups, so that we may detect and correct subtle problems before they become big. Your children will grow up with healthier functioning bodies and minds!!
Today more and more children are suffering with recurring ear infections. So much so that people are starting to consider ear infections a normal part of childhood. The fact is there is nothing normal about it. It is common, but not normal! Ear infections don't have to be part of your child's life. Clinical data shows that children may get ear infections due to improper drainage of the lymph nodes in the neck. This occurs when the neck musculature is tight. This leads to fluid build up. The ear drum appears inflamed and bulges, creating a welcome habitat for bacteria. An infection of the ears is not the only cause of red ears. Other causes include teething, fever, viral infection (for which antibiotics are completely useless), and allergy. Pediatricians often reach to antibiotics first to treat otitus media. The most common antibiotic used is amoxycillin. A 1991 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that amoxycillin with and without decongestant-antihistimine combination is NOT effective for the treatment of persistent asymptomatic middle-ear effusions in infants and children. This study also found that those children treated with amoxycillin were two to six times more likely to have a recurrence of ear problems than those who received a placebo (sugar pill). (1) There is an alternative to antibiotics.
Chiropractic care has shown to be very effective and safe for children with ear infections for over 100 years. A 1997 study from the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics studied 332 children who received chiropractic care for their ear infections. The results indicate there is a strong correlation between the chiropractic adjustment and resolution of otitis media for the children of this study. The overall percent of children who had a recurrence of ear infections within 6 months after they initially presented to the chiropractic office was 15.56 %. (2) A different study showed that those who were given antibiotics had a 43.5 % relapse rate within one year. (3) Chiropractic care is effective because adjusting the spine improves nervous system function. This will then relax the neck musculature allowing normal fluid drainage from the ears and the lymph nodes. As numerous studies are showing, interference of the nervous system due to misalignment of the spine (subluxation) reduces normal immune system function. Such interference may lead to an increased susceptibility to infection. Chiropractic adjustments remove interference to the nervous system, in turn allowing the immune system to function effectively.
Our office is fully equipped to handle all aspects of pediatric care from pregnancy (including the Webster Intrauterine Constraint Technique for breech presentations) to birth and onward.
(1) Cantekin, et al. Antimicrobial therapy for Otitus Media with Effusion ('Secretory' Otitus Media). JAMA 1991;266:3309-3317.
(2) Fallon, J. The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment in the Care and Treatment of 332 Children with Otitis Media. J Clin Chiro Ped 1997;2:167-183
(3) Friese, KH; et al. Acute Otitus Media in Children. Comparision Eetween Convential and Homeopathic Therapy. HNO 1996;44(8):462-6