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Chiropractors have been caring for children for more than a 100 years. Many common childhood ailments will respond to this safe, natural form of health care. More and more parents— especially those who are already chiropractic patients themselves—are seeking chiropractic care for their children.
This article attempts to answer the questions asked by many parents about their children’s spinal health.
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is based on the important relationship between the spine and the nervous system. One of the most basic ideas in chiropractic is that dysfunction in the spine and its joints can lead to dysfunction within the nervous system—and since the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the systems of the body, spinal dysfunction can have wide ranging effects on the body’s health. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate and adjust this spinal dysfunction.
Why do my kids need chiropractic?
A child encounters many physical stresses during their growing years. The resulting problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth.
The earliest challenge a growing spine faces is the position it is forced to adopt in utero. Many women will have heard of foetal positions that can cause problems with labour (brow, breech, transverse, posterior, ascynclitic, etc). What is less well known is that these foetal positions can also cause problems in the baby’s spine as well. Spinal segments can be pushed out of place or jammed by the position of the baby in the womb. If this position is less than optimal, it can result in a longer and more difficult trip through the birth canal, which can compound the spinal problems. In this way, even natural birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system—not to mention interventions such as induction, forceps, vonteuse suction, or ceasarean section. The latter (which account for an alarmingly large percentage of births in Australia), while appear to offer a less traumatic birth for the child, can actually create additional traumas and compromises to the infant’s future health and well-being.
The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nervous system irritation caused by spinal and cranial misalignments.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at, or prior to birth, many parents elect to have their newborn’s spine checked right after birth. Many developmental milestones such as learning to hold up the head, sitting upright, crawling, and walking are all activities that are affected by spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a chiropractor. Additionally, falls, sports injuries, playground bumps, heavy school bags and sitting all day in the classroom are all physical stresses to the growing child’s spine and nervous system.