We had a lot of interest in our Q&A on pediatric chiropractic care at our Greenville practice, and it generated several more common questions that we wanted to answer with another post. So if you had questions after our last blog about Chiropractic Care for Children, hopefully we will address them now. So let's start round 2:
Q: Why would my child, especially my newborn, need to go to a chiropractor?
A: Birth is a dramatic (and often traumatic) process that can put a lot of strain on a baby's head and neck. When you add in the use of forceps, vacuum extraction, and pulling on the head often performed during birth, it is no surprise that the first misalignment of the spine often occurs at this time. It is also not uncommon for an infant to roll off of a bed, couch, or changing table at some point, which can also cause spinal misalignments. As they grow, older kids begin to crawl and then walk, a process that is never mastered without at least a few tumbles. While these types of falls probably would not do much damage to an adult, the supporting structures of a child's spine are far less developed than an adult's, so small amounts of force can cause problems. The older kids grow, the rougher their activities tend to become, all of which can contribute to further spinal misalignments that should be corrected before the damage becomes more permanent.
Q: But my child is not in pain. why would I take them to the chiropractor?
A: The first misconception we want to address (in both children and adults) is that chiropractic care has so much more to offer other than pain management. Our exam is built around objective structural and neurological test, so even if you are in pain, it plays only a small role in our decision of where and how to adjust. So what tests do we have specifically for children? On the structural side, we take several different measurements of the head and check for symmetrical development. We also check the joints of the spine and hips/pelvis to make sure that they have appropriate motion. On the neurologic side, we check many reflexes that are necessary for proper development. We also have several functional tests that examine a child's proprioceptive response to determine problems in the nervous system. We combine all of this information with what parents and kids tell us during the initial history to develop specific care plan tailored to each individual patient.
Q: But he/she also does not seem to have any other health problems. Is there still a reason to go to the chiropractor?
A: Yes, there are two main reasons why having your child examined is still a good idea. First, the sooner a structural problem in the spine is identified, the easier it is to correct. One reason chiropractic care for adults can take so long is that their bodies have adapted to improper structure that has been around for years, or even decades. There may not have been noticeable symptoms for a time, but when they surface it takes much more work to correct the underlying structural issue. Children respond very quickly to chiropractic care because they have not yet had the time to adapt to poor spinal structure. Secondly, proper connection between the brain and body is incredibly important for normal growth and development. A misalignment of the spine can hinder this connection causing developmental problems. A neurostructural chiropractor ensures that the nervous system is functioning appropriately so that your child can develops to his or her full potential.
Q: So chiropractic can help with normal development. Are there also specific childhood health conditions that chiropractic can help?
A: Because the nervous system is responsible for control and development of the entire body, structural problems of the spine that damage the nervous system can have far-reaching consequences. The most common reasons parents bring children to our office include ADD/ADHD, allergies, asthma, bedwetting, colic, constipation, developmental disorders (such as autism spectrum disorder), ear infections, learning disabilities, and reflux. Such conditions often respond very well the chiropractic care.
Q: My child seems to get sick all the time. Can chiropractic help?
A: Definitely! Research shows that regular chiropractic care leads to increased strength of the immune system. There is also evidence of an immediate temporary boost of the immune system following an adjustment, so bringing your child to the chiropractor as soon as they begin fighting off a disease is also a good idea. General health, however, is a complex issue. While clear communication between the brain and the body is important, so is good sleep, proper nutrition, and regular physical activity.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Greenville office at (864) 640-4096 or fill out our contact form.