I have been specializing in pediatric and pre-natal chiropractic care for over a decade and I am still often asked "what could kids possibly have wrong with them that they would need to see a chiropractor for?" Well, as you may have already thought, kids don't suffer with low back pain or neck tension and pain the way adults do. That is, most of them don't. However those complaints still compromise a large number of visits by children to a chiropractor. Instead, chiropractors see children for problems such as headaches, digestive problems, difficulty nursing, asthma, ADD/ADHD, growing pains, bedwetting, colic, ear infections, and scoliosis to name a few, not to mention the bumps and bruises of every child's formative years.
Pregnant women also have their own unique needs when it comes to chiropractic care. With the onset of pregnancy comes the production of a special hormone called relaxin which serves to soften the ligaments of the pelvis to allow the opening of the birth canal during delivery. However this hormone softens all the ligaments in the body. This allows for more than normal range of motion in spinal and extremity joints which can lead to pregnancy related low back pain, nerve irritation such as sciatica and rib pain. During pregnancy women are more likely to experience heartburn, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, stress incontinence and groin pain. Though formerly thought of as "part of pregnancy", more and more women are seeking the expertise of pre-natal chiropractic specialists to address these symptoms in a safe, natural and effective manner.
How is it that chiropractors are able to treat such a diverse list of childhood and pregnancy related ailments? To answer that, one must first have a basic understanding of what chiropractic is and how it works.
Chiropractic is the science, philosophy and art of identifying and correcting what is known as the subluxation complex. A subluxation is the loss of proper position or motion of a spinal joint. These misalignments can have a far-reaching effect by irritating the nervous system - the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves. The nervous system controls and coordinates all the other systems of the body; therefore, if a subluxation is present, the affected individual will not be able to function at their full potential. Only a doctor of chiropractic is trained to identify and correct the subluxation complex through specific "adjustment" procedures.
Is it safe to adjust a child's or pregnant woman's spine? Absolutely! Pediatric and pre-natal specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that allow them to safely treat anyone from infants to expectant moms and even great-grandparents.
Infants? You mean to say that a newborn could benefit from an adjustment? Most certainly! The single most traumatic event that can occur in an individual's life is just being born! Following a "normal" delivery, it is commonplace for the O.B. to evaluate the collarbone for fracture and the hips for dislocation, two potentially serious complications. What seems to be overlooked is the stress and strain on the spinal column which can create the subluxation complex. A subluxated infant may show signs of distress that include torticollis - a twisted neck, difficulty breastfeeding, colic, inability to sleep, and even respiratory problems.
A research study on the efficacy of pediatric chiropractic care has been selected for presentation at the 14th Annual Symposium on Complimentary Health Care in Exeter, UK. It reports that of 812 clinical cases, 717 indicated experiencing an improvement with their presenting symptoms, while only 9 patients reported treatment-related aggravations. These were described as "soreness" or "fussiness." No treatment-related complications were reported. Seventy-four cases had reported improvements unrelated to their presenting complaints and included increased range of motion, improved sleep, improved immune function and improved patient mood.
Two organizations exist that offer information on children and chiropractic. The International Chiropractic Association's Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics at www.icapediatrics.com. Also, The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association at www.icpa4kids.org. Both of these groups have information on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for kids and can refer you to a chiropractic pediatric specialist in your area, ME!
Parents of children who receive regular chiropractic evaluation and adjustments note that their kids seem to stay healthier than their counterparts. Fewer missed days of school due to coughs and colds means less time off work for the parents and more consistency in schoolwork for the children.Something all parents can support! Give your child every possible advantage in life; get them a chiropractic spinal evaluation to see how chiropractic can benefit them today!
Over the next several months this column will cover topics including natural relief for the common discomforts of pregnancy, childhood conditions that respond favorably to chiropractic care and nutrition for expectant moms, infants and toddlers.