As more women are becoming aware of the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy, they are also learning that chiropractic can also be beneficial for their children. A pediatric chiropractor can work along with your child’s healthcare team to create a plan of wellness for your child.
Too often we are concerned with illness and treating symptoms versus promoting health and wellness. It is much easier to maintain health, than it is to regain it after illness.
A pediatric chiropractors will work with the child’s natural ability to create an environment of wellness within themselves. We don’t “treat” conditions, but rather work with the child to correct any areas of their spine that may be restricted to normal movement. When the spine is restricted to movement, this can prohibit the nervous system from communicating optimally from the brain to the muscles and organs. When our nervous system is not communicating optimally, symptoms can begin to present themselves.
These symptoms can include, but not limited to, gas, irritability, constipation, acid reflux and increased crying. In addition to the restrictions in the spine causing our nervous system to not communicate optimally, the restrictions can also cause mechanical issues as well. For example, the child may cause restriction in their neck.
This restriction will prohibit them from turning their head appropriately to latch during breastfeeding. Another common mechanical issue is ear infections.
In a child, the tubes that drain the inner ear or more horizontal than in an adult. This orientation of the tubes can commonly contribute to fluid building up in the inner ear, which could lead to ear infections. Gentle adjustments can help drain these tubes, which may lead to less ear infections for your child.
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) provides post-graduate training for chiropractors to learn how to examine and adjust newborns, pediatrics and women during pregnancy.
The techniques that are performed on newborns are extremely light and gentle. The adjustments to the spine of a newborn consists of gentle pressure to specific segments of the spine to release any restrictions and to allow proper movement of the spine. The pressure that is used, is the same amount of pressure that you would use to press into the skin of a ripe tomato without breaking the skin. The adjustments are done while the parent holds their child or on a special pillow that provides security and support for the child. The child’s visit should be a positive and nurturing experience.
As the child gets older, we may play games or tell jokes which ensures that their visit is fun and something that everyone looks forward to. Chiropractic is a normal part of a child’s development and health plan. Maintaining spine health is just as important as regular visits to the dentist. Unlike baby teeth that fall out, a child’s spine is something they will have for their entire life. It is best to keep it healthy from the beginning.
When should your newborn see a pediatric chiropractor?
The simple answer would be immediately after birth.
The journey that your baby embarks on through the birth canal or during a cesarean section is a traumatic event. Also, additional pressure can be placed on the baby’s neck, upper back, or pelvic regions depending on how they are positioned in the uterus.
A pediatric chiropractor can do a spine assessment of your child to make sure that there are no restrictions that could impede their ability to latch. Spinal restrictions can cause symptoms of colic, constipation, asthma, allergies and breastfeeding/latching problems (to name a few).
As the child develops, I recommend my pediatric patients come visit me during big milestones in their development. During these times, kids are more active and are predisposed to cause spinal restrictions due to trauma or increased activity. These times include, but not limited to: crawling, standing, walking, potty training, running and playing sports. Regular check ups are an important part of your child’s spine health.
How to choose the pediatric chiropractor who is right for you:
1) Visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association to find a chiropractor in your area who is certified and has advanced training working with newborns and pediatrics.
2) Ask if you can meet with the chiropractor prior to your child’s appointment to discuss your concerns and questions.
3)Find a chiropractor who thoroughly explains what they are doing during their examination and provides a thorough review of their findings.
4) Most importantly, find a chiropractor that you and your child feel comfortable with and trust.