Should You Take Your Child to the Chiropractor?
Eight years ago, I was a chiropractic intern, learning as I worked – on real people! (It was no Grey’s Anatomy, but it was exciting stuff). I had spent the previous three years ingesting hours of Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Physiology, Neurology, and the like. Now, I actually had the opportunity to apply what I had learned.
While working at our campus clinic, I never would have had expected to be adjusting kids. (Now, my days are spent helping kids and their families – and I love it!). Actually, if I were being honest, back then, I probably would have assumed any kids I did see at the clinic were probably just tagging along, while mom or dad was receiving treatment.
After all, why would a parent take their child to see a chiropractor? How could chiropractic care help a baby? Aren’t chiropractors just back and neck doctors?
Actually, chiropractic is more than relieving back and neck pain. And children receive chiropractic care because IT WORKS!
Why should you take your child to see a chiropractor?
According to the world-renowned chiropractor, Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani, author of “Well Adjusted Babies,” these are the 10 benefits of receiving chiropractic care: reasons why parents should and do take their children to see a chiropractor:
- To encourage good neural plasticity (brain and nerve development)
- To support their child’s overall health and wellbeing
- To help strengthen their child’s immunity and potentially reduce the incidence of colds, earaches and general illness
- To assist with colic and Irritable Baby Syndrome
- To help with asthma, breathing difficulties and allergies
- To encourage good spinal posture
- To help improve their child’s ability to concentrate
- To assist with behavioural disorders
- To help alleviate digestive problems
- To assist with bed-wetting and sleep issues
In my office, I often see young patients experiencing constipation, colic, difficulty nursing, ear infections, sinus infections, weakened immune systems, growing pains, stomach aches, headaches, back and neck pain, as a result of nerve interference. Other children in my office receive adjustments as prevention, rather than treating symptoms – their parents understand that it is easier to stay well when you are already well.
It is not unusual to hear parents state that since beginning chiropractic care, their children get sick less often and if they do get sick, less severely. Ear infections have become less frequent if occurring at all. They take fewer antibiotics and other drugs, compared to their classmates, and miss less school. Their sleep is more restful. Their child experiences less anxiety and is able to concentrate better in school, achieving better school grades.
When should you bring your child to the chiropractor?
If your child has not been assessed by a chiropractor, now is the best time to book an appointment!
According to Dr. Larry Webster, Chiropractic Pediatric Specialist, there are 6 times in a child’s first year of life, when it is especially important to have a spinal assessment due to the enormous rates of development occurring and the higher risks of injury to the spine.
- After the birth process
- When the baby starts to hold his/her head up
- When the baby sits up
- When the baby starts to crawl
- When the baby starts to stand
- When the baby starts to walk
All children need periodic spinal check-ups. Our nervous system controls all our bodily processes. This is particularly important in children, as childhood is a time of incredible growth and development, especially in the first 1–2 years of a child’s life (I know I don’t have to tell you, parents, how quickly your child is growing!).
Problems occurring in the nervous system – referred to as nerve interference – can result in the less-than-optimal functioning of the nervous system, producing a variety of health concerns. This can be a result of their birth (traumatic or even non-traumatic) or falls while learning to stand or walk. These traumas – however big or small – can cause interference to your child’s nervous system, with serious long-term consequences. Chiropractic restores the proper functioning of the nervous system, allowing the body to function optimally. For these reasons, all children need periodic spinal check-ups. It is much easier to prevent rather than fix a problem.
What should parents expect?
I always stress to parents that chiropractic adjustments for babies and children are different than chiropractic adjustments for adults. While a child’s anatomy is similar to an adult’s anatomy, a child’s physiology and neurology are not. Most often, a child’s body has much less muscle guarding and scar tissue, as their dysfunction has usually been present for a much shorter period of time. Therefore, chiropractic care for kids is very gentle.
Following a chiropractic adjustment, your child’s symptoms can change quickly (there are of course exceptions!). Chiropractic adjustments correct the dysfunctional pathways between the brain and the body and allow the correct neurological communication to occur. I have seen babies who were latching poorly, latch correctly within minutes of their first chiropractic treatment, or had parents phone me to announce their child, who had been constipated for days, cleared their bowels within hours of their chiropractic treatment.
Usually, several treatments will be scheduled over a number of weeks. Continued care is required until your child’s body can adapt to the changes the chiropractic adjustment has made, and continue to be symptom-free or functioning properly.
In addition, be patient. Kids can be, well...challenging, at times. Expect that your child’s appointment may take longer than expected. Be sure to find a practitioner that is as equally patient!
Chiropractic care is a safe, natural, gentle and effective way to support and improve your child’s overall health, growth and development. When we appreciate the importance of the nervous system, and how it controls every single part of our body, it makes sense why more and more children are receiving chiropractic care.