Many parents do not think about getting their children under chiropractic care. I get asked often, “why would a child need to be adjusted?” When you stop and think about it, children are the ones that need care the most! Childhood is a vital time for development of all body systems, especially the brain and nervous system. Did you know your nervous system controls every other system in your body? When dysfunctions are present, the nervous system can’t function optimally, therefore, all other systems in the body are affected. Gentle chiropractic care works by removing restrictions found along joints and muscles to improve the overall health of the spine, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system.
In newborns, these restrictions typically come just from being born! With each contraction from the mother’s body, pressure is applied on the baby’s tiny head and neck to push them through the birth canal. Have you ever noticed a newborn with a “cone head”? This is due to overlapping of the cranial bones during the delivery process. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can safely remove restrictions found along the soft tissue and cranial bones in newborns.
Childhood comes with many bumps and bruises as your little one learns to crawl, walk,
run and eventually maybe even venture into sports. Children can be very physically demanding on their little bodies during this vital time of development. It is crucial to ensure proper alignment of their spines to support their rapidly developing nervous system.
Parents bring their children to see us for many reasons. Here are just a few of the more common reasons I see children:
Latching/breastfeeding issues: When nursing is difficult, there is generally dysfunction found along the cranial bones, jaw, and upper neck. The baby may prefer to keep their head turned to one side and cry when you try to turn their head to the other side. The mom may also notice the baby latches better on one side compared to the other side.
Constipation: Digestive upset tends to be a big issue for children, especially if there are food sensitivities or allergies involved. If a baby is nursing, I will look to the mother’s diet to see if there is a possible trigger. If the child is older, a deeper look at their diet will help identify if any food sensitivities are the culprit. Gentle adjustments along the lumbosacral region will help improve motion of the child’s low back and remove any dysfunctions that may be present.
Sleeping: It is never fun when your child will not sleep through the night. This could be an indication that they are uncomfortable due to a misalignment in their spine causing unwanted tension.
Torticollis: In Latin, torticollis means "twisted neck". This condition may occur in newborns because of their position in the womb or following a difficult delivery. The baby will present with their head turned or tilted to one side. They may often refuse to move their neck in the other direction. This is because it is uncomfortable due to the muscle spasms.
Reflux or spitting up: This is one of the most common issues that I see in our office. Reflux may be caused by a number of things, and we generally have to investigate deeper into the root cause in order to clear the symptoms up. There is always a reason behind the reflux, we must figure out what that reason is. The reasons could range from a nervous system dysfunction, structural abnormality, or diet. An adjustment, abdominal massage, diaphragm tug, and nutritional counseling with the mom can generally reduce the symptoms of reflux.
Colic: Your healthy infant may have periods of prolonged crying or fussiness that can become very frustrating to everyone involved. Common symptoms of colic include extreme fussiness, predictable timing, body tension, clenched fists, or abdominal tension. The overall cause of colic is unknown, but we can explore certain factors that may be contributing to the condition including digestive upset, food allergies, nervous system imbalances, feeding schedule, and stress.
Growing pains: As children grow, they may complain about an achy pain in their legs. This if often referred to as growing pains. The pain may affect one leg or both and often happens at night. Growing pains tend to come and go and are not present constantly. Making sure the pelvis, knees, and ankles are properly aligned may help alleviate the achy pain. Massage along the legs, especially the calves can beneficial.
Bumps & bruises: As children learn to crawl, walk, run, and play sports, bumps and bruises are bound to happen! Children are rough on their bodies, especially as they get older and play sports. It is so important to ensure proper alignment of their joints to optimize joint mobility and muscle health.
A pediatric adjustment varies significantly from an adjustment given to an adult, as it should! A child’s body is not developed the same as an adult’s, therefore, their treatment should be appropriate for that difference. When I see an infant, my pinkies or thumbs are used to apply very light sustained pressure to perform the adjustment. The amount of pressure I use is similar to the pressure you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato or avocado. As the child grows, the way I adjust slowly begins to change. Children tend to respond quickly to chiropractic care and tend to maintain the adjustment longer than adults do. Getting your child under regular chiropractic care can help ensure they are not growing with any dysfunction in their musculoskeletal system and fully thrive!