Chiropractic for kids? But my baby doesn’t have back pain!

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Chiropractic for kids? But my baby doesn’t have back pain!

April 20, 2012

By Guest Blogger: Dr. Jennifer Wise

Pregnancy, Postpartum and Pediatric Chiropractor at Thrive Natural Family Health

For most people, the thought of taking a child to a chiropractor is probably not only strange, but possibly a little scary.  I hope to shed some light on why this is not only completely safe, but also quite beneficial.  When I tell people that many of my patients are infants and children, I often get two questions.

The first, “ You crack babies?”  The answer is definitely not.  Infant adjustments are very gentle and involve no cavitation, which is the audible sound heard in SOME (not all) adult adjustments that many people associate with chiropractic adjustments.  The adjustments infants and children receive are different from the adjustments an adult receives and they are VERY gentle.  Infant adjustments consist of light finger tip pressure or vibration –about the amount of force used to test the ripeness of a tomato.  Infants will often sleep through adjustments and many older pediatric patients will laugh and giggle through their adjustments.

The next question is often “How can you tell if a baby has back pain?” In most cases, the answer is that they probably don’t have back pain.  A common misconception about chiropractic, is that chiropractors are back pain doctors.  Although many people with back pain are helped tremendously with chiropractic care, what chiropractic has to offer is much bigger than back pain relief.  In fact, its best use is to prevent problems before they start to cause symptoms like back pain.

Most of the children in my office have their spines checked to ensure that their bodies and nervous systems are working to the best of their ability.  When someone receives an adjustment, their chiropractor is not only affecting the bones and joints of the spine, but also the spinal nerves exiting each level of the spine.  If a bone is misaligned or not moving properly, it can cause disruption of nerve signals from the spinal cord to the structure on the receiving end- this might be a muscle, a stomach, a bladder or any number of organs and tissues depending on the area that is affected.

When I check a newborn baby, I am not asking her where the pain is, but looking for areas of dysfunction in the way the joints are moving.  Some common signs of joint dysfunction are;  trouble with latch during feeding, preference or difficulty turning or tilting the head one way or the other (often apparent if a baby prefers feeding on one side), a flat spot on one side of the head, a hip that clicks when changing the diaper or when carrying the baby.  Some common symptoms that parents bring their kids in for include trouble breastfeeding, colic, frequent illness, trouble sleeping or general irritability.  In older kids, things like bed wetting, ear infections or digestive troubles can often be helped with chiropractic adjustments.

Parents and expecting parents often ask how a newborn baby could have these misalignments and the simple answer is that birth, though a natural event, can be traumatic no matter how it happens.  Oftentimes, there is some force used to help the baby with its entrance into the world.  As babies progress through development, other possible causes and times of stress on the spine and pelvis  include major and minor falls, excessive time spent in car seats, prolonged used of jolly jumpers, poorly designed baby carriers, and learning to sit, crawl and walk.
Catching and correcting these problems early, not only means that your child will be better equipped to function now, but that these minor issues will not become bigger issues later in life.

If you are going to bring your child to a chiropractor, it is recommended that you find a chiropractor that has special training to take care of the unique needs of children.  For more information on chiropractic for kids, please visit our website at www.thrivehealth.ca

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