Welcome Dr. Brent Wells, a chiropractor who has some sage advice for families wondering about adjustments for their children. Read on for his list of 6 things parents should know about chiropractors and kids.
Chiropractic adjustment can be beneficial for a variety of reasons — from pain relief to general wellness. Which may cause you to wonder if chiropractic treatment is appropriate for children. Like adults, children can experience problems with misalignment and benefit from visiting a chiropractor. In fact, just about everyone who has a spine and central nervous system would benefit from chiropractic adjustments. Regardless of age, spinal misalignment can lead to altered functions in every part of the body.
When considering a chiropractic visit for your child you may think of all the cracking that typically comes with an adjustment and worry about subjecting your child to that treatment. But you can set your fears aside. As we’ll talk about a little later in this article, along with other things parents should know, children need smaller and quicker adjustments that are pain-free. Like visiting the doctor’s office for a checkup, a chiropractic adjustment is a safe way to keep your kids healthy (without any scary shots!).
Let’s Talk Chiropractic Care
The main purpose behind corrective chiropractic adjustments is to realign bones in the spine to restore the natural tension. When you consider that the brain is constantly sending signals to the spinal cord and from there to every single nerve and organ in the body, the need to have things properly aligned becomes clear.
Imagine if you will, the drain system in your home. Water is constantly being sent from faucets and showers to the drain. Now imagine if the drain were somehow able to be twisted or if two pipes were misaligned, water would not flow freely into the sewer or it could back up into the surrounding areas, causing other problems.
With this in mind, it’s plain to see how even babies can become misaligned through the birthing process, from learning to walk, taking falls off the sofa, and the everyday rough and tumble life of a toddler, small child, or even a teenager. Misalignment of the spine can lead to a variety of problems. Chiropractic adjustments are a non-invasive, drug free therapy designed to keep the central nervous system operating smoothly.
Below are the top 6 issues and questions most people have for their chiropractor when considering having their children adjusted.
1. Is It Safe to Take My Child to a Chiropractor?
In a nutshell, yes! While many parents may believe that their child doesn’t need adjustments because their baby isn’t in pain, this is not what chiropractic work for children is about.
Taking children for adjustments can be thought of as wellness care, and not necessarily because of pain-related issues. Although when pain does arise while playing sports or the general roughhousing many children indulge in, a chiropractic adjustment can be beneficial.
It can be quite scary allowing anyone to treat your child, including doctors. But rest assured that when it comes to chiropractors and kids each adjustment your youngster receives is going to be exact, measured, specific, and relative to their size and the relevant issue.
2. The Benefits of Pediatric Chiropractic Adjustments
What are some of the issues that chiropractic adjustment can help with that parents should know about? The top 5 issues that cause most parents to seek chiropractic treatment for their children are respiratory issues, throat problems, gastrointestinal issues, musculoskeletal issues, and general preventative care. An experienced chiropractor can assist with all of these conditions. There are numerous issues that corrective adjustments can address.
Almost all babies experience some type of pulling or twisting when they are born. C-section children are frequently removed by tugging and pulling on the infant’s head while being removed from the uterus. This causes many newborns to have alignment issues from the very start. No one is immune from spinal stress, especially children! A few gentle adjustments can lead to tremendous benefits for children, while giving parents peace of mind.
These benefits are not simply a pie-in-the-sky wish from parents. There are numerous scientific studies to back up these claims, as well as thousands of testimonials from both parents and older children.
- Students with behavioral and learning issues, such as ADHD, had greatly reduced symptoms after chiropractic care, as demonstrated in this research.
- In another study, children between the ages of 4 and 15, who were experiencing difficulty with nocturnal enuresis (commonly known as bed wetting) saw the incidences reduced from 7 times per week to 1 night per week after 6 weeks of chiropractic adjustments.
- Another study involving 17 children for whom anti-seizure medication had failed to control their disorder found all subjects reported positive results after receiving chiropractic adjustments.
- Studies, such as this one performed in 1999, found that infants with colic had shorter periods of crying, when compared to infants who were given the drug Dimethicone.
3. The Risks of Adjusting a Child’s Spine
Since chiropractic adjustments involve no drugs or surgery, the risk that your child could suffer from an injury are very, very rare. Chiropractors have been adjusting both the very young and the very old for more than 100 years. Overall, the industry as an excellent safety record and has not had a malpractice file claimed for injury to a minor for at least the past 5 years.
In fact, chiropractors have the lowest malpractice insurance rates due to their low incidence of injury. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners states that, in 2010, about 17 percent of all chiropractic patients were minors, with approximately 7.7 percent of those under the age of 5. In a 2009 study by J. Alcantara, out of 5,438 office visits involving minors, only two parents indicated that there were “adverse” events.
The cartilaginous, very flexible spine of a young child is not easily injured. This makes the gentle adjustments of a trained specialist very safe indeed. You can feel secure knowing that the risk to your child is far smaller than the risks that come into play when using drugs or surgery. So that’s another of the things parents should know about chiropractors and kids.
4. Children’s Bodies Are Not Adult Bodies
It’s easy to see the difference in size between adults and children. But here’s a fact that is among the things parents should know but likely don’t realize. A toddler or small child’s body is less rigid and easier to manipulate than an adult. Since their skeletal makeup is not fully formed, children’s adjustments tend to be smaller, quicker, with far less force than what adult’s experience.
Infants, toddlers, and small children generally require nothing more than a light adjustment, using only the fingertips. When adults are adjusted, a popping or cracking noise is often heard when joints are put back into proper position. These types of noises are not heard with infants or toddlers due to the lack of pressure involved.
5. Things Parents Should Know: How Many Visits Are Required?
Children’s spines are more flexible than an adult’s. Thus, most kids require only a few visits to restore the spine to proper alignment. This, of course, will depend on several factors. For example, the specific problem, child’s age, and how long the problem was left untreated.
Here’s another thing parents should know about chiropractors and kids. While it might take only a few visits to correct one problem, additional issues might occur within the same time frame as your current visits. If this happens, additional adjustments may be necessary, but for different problems.
6. Will Your Child Feel Pain?
No parent wants to cause their children any unnecessary pain! Obviously no one can guarantee that a child will never experience pain during a medical visit, such as vaccinations. But we can safely say that your child will feel little or no pain during their adjustments.
Infants sometimes cry during the suddenness of a movement, but not out of serious pain. Also, most children stop crying within a few moments after mother or father consoles them. Toddlers sometimes find a stranger touching or moving their bodies to be frightening, and they may shed a few tears. But rest assured the tears are more from a little fright than actual pain. With you by your child’s side and a friendly, kind chiropractor your kiddo will soon realize that an adjustment is nothing to fear.
The Bottom Line on Chiropractors and Kids
Chiropractic treatment for infants, toddlers, children, and teens is becoming more and more common. An open and honest discussion with your chiropractor is advisable. Include your questions and concerns, should bring about an understanding about the treatment plan. Also learn how many visits it will require and expected results. These adjustments are safe and painless and offer relief from common problems, while setting the stage for your child’s best possible health and development. When it comes to things parents should know about chiropractors and kids, now you know the basics.
About Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.