Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?

A baby’s potential lies within, yet it is dependent on many nurturing factors. Babies, infants, and children go through important growth stages. Therefore, monitoring their spinal alignment will allow for optimal growth and development.  

The health benefits of chiropractic care should be considered as a conservative and natural approach within our health care system, even for young people. Doctors of chiropractic understand that prevention is more important than the reaction to a health issue or problem that has been accumulating over time. An example of this is stress. Stress, like a chronically misaligned spine, has a variety of negative impacts on the physical body. Research shows that stress can be mitigated if consistent care and attention are given to the health and well-being of an individual from an early age. For this reason, chiropractic care is vital for children.

Health problems tend to run in families and similarities in health patterns then follow children as they grow into adults. The spinal problems seen in adults can begin as early as birth. During normal childbirth, the obstetrician may pull on a baby’s head and neck when it is extended and rotated, which can lead to structural and soft-tissue misalignments of the baby’s spine. Babies born via caesarean section must be pulled out very fast, with a firm grip sometimes requiring suction, because they are very slippery.  As a result, traction forces can cause adverse reactions and asymmetrical soft-tissue tension to the developing neck. If an emergency caesarean section is necessary, the baby’s neck will have experienced both the compression from the contractions during labour and the traction forces from the extraction procedure. 

Growing babies need plenty of food and sleep. Observe your baby while he/she is eating for signs and symptoms of potential health issues. When breastfeeding, notice if the latch is easy and symmetrical. Difficulties nursing on one side could indicate that your baby has a neck misalignment due to lack of rotation in the neck. Another side-effect of spinal misalignments is spitting up food while feeding. Along the spine where the diaphragm connects, the esophagus allows food to move into the stomach without restriction. Difficulty sleeping and/or excessive crying is your baby’s way of communicating their discomfort and could be the result of spinal stress on their delicate nervous system and/or spinal cord. 

Adjusting the spine of babies, infants, and children takes experience and is performed differently than it would be for an adult. In a baby’s spine, only a slight amount of pressure is needed to correct spinal misalignments of the spinal bones. With older children, a small amount of pressure with a gentle push is all that is needed to restore normal spinal and nervous system function. 

It is important to remember that chiropractors do not treat diseases. The focus is on correcting spinal misalignments in order to prevent and treat health problems. Children who receive regular spinal adjustments for posture, along with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep will be set on a path to grow up structurally and functionally sound.

Dr. Deane Studer, DC

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