Chiropractic care for Kids
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 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" in Dynamic Chiropractic, 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 sacroiliac 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 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; 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.