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“Growing Pains” and Chiropractic Care - How Does Chiropractic Help

Written by Tricia Arndt, DC, DACCP   
Thursday, 01 March 2007 00:00
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“Growing Pains” and Chiropractic Care
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How Does Chiropractic Help?

Chiropractors work with the spine and nervous system. The nervous system controls every system, organ, and cell in the body. The spinal column houses the nerves, with nerve roots exiting between each spinal bone, called vertebrae. Stress overload, such as physical, emotional, or chemical stress, affects nerve system function. Causes of stress overload in the child originate from physical traumas such as the birth process, postural compensations (i.e. sedentary postures and backpack carrying compensations), and common childhood injuries.

Nerve stress can affect any system or organ of the body. The doctor of chiropractic performs a thorough exam of the child’s spine and locates areas of misalignment contributing to this nerve system stress. The specific chiropractic adjustment restores nerve system function and the child’s whole body benefits. Growing pains is one common disorder resulting from nerve system stress. The child may feel leg pain, which can range from an achy, throbbing feeling to a sharp pain.

Growing PainsAltered biomechanics and spinal misalignment, especially in the lower lumbar spine and pelvis, creates imbalances in the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles, which may contribute to leg pain. Pelvic misalignment can lead to leg-length inequalities; the child is unevenly distributing his or her weight, placing additional stress and strain not only on the spine, but feet, ankles, and knees as well.

An article published in Dynamic Chiropractic (September 1992) revealed a strong correlation between sacroiliac subluxation, or pelvic misalignment, on the side of the leg pain. The clinical experience of this author was rapid resolution of symptoms, sometimes instantaneously, with the chiropractic adjustment. In another chiropractic publication, Conference Proceedings of the Centennial Foundation (July 1995) there was a marked reduction in their so-called “growing pains” under chiropractic manipulative therapy with respects to frequency and duration.

Growing PainsI can recall one of my young patients with severe leg pains. He was three years old and had leg pains both day and night. All his parents knew to do was rub his legs, with minimal relief. He couldn’t run or play for very long without the pain returning. He also said his “butt” hurt (pointing to his lower back area) when he experienced leg pains. I found a significant spinal misalignment in his lower back area, which I adjusted. Within a week of chiropractic care, his leg and “butt” pain were practically gone! What a relief to this three-yearold boy and his parents!

An interesting fact that I learned from this patient’s mother was that his two older sisters also had a history of growing pains. Could there be a hereditary factor involved? I believe there may be a slight link, but I could not find substantiating literature. In my professional opinion, I feel the main factor is spinal misalignment, leading to imbalances and pain in the legs and lower back. Every child with growing pains whom I have seen had an obvious misalignment in their lower back and pelvis, along with leg length inequalities, and postural distortions. In speaking to chiropractors who work with children, I continue to hear success stories about their young patients with “growing pains.”