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Children grow so quickly throughout each stage of their life. And these days, the amount of stress and challenges kids face each day is significant, and stress impacts every child differently. Finding strategies to support your children through their developmental changes is essential and will help set them up for success in the future.
Chiropractic care is an excellent option for promoting healthy living in children. Chiropractic care for children can improve your child’s neural brain development and should be part of their normal care routine. Your child’s chiropractor is an important part of their team of primary health care providers.
What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care is a natural form of health care that uses spinal adjustments and manipulative therapies to correct spinal misalignments and restore proper function to the nervous system, helping your body heal naturally. Chiropractic services can cover various childhood conditions to ensure your child receives the best support available as their bodies recover from growing pains, sports injuries, stomach problems, and all sorts of other ailments.
Because many chronic problems don’t automatically point to a chiropractic solution and many children can’t voice what they are feeling (especially if they have a medically diagnosed communication problem), parents should familiarize themselves with the wide range of medical issues that may come up in each stage of growth.
Chiropractic care goes beyond treating injuries, poor posture, and chronic pain—things most young children aren’t able to communicate anyway. Pediatric chiropractors can help with a long list of physical problems and mental health issues.
Here are some childhood issues that chiropractic medicine can help with during each stage of childhood growth and development. (Take into account that some ailments may present themselves in more than one age range or appear at an earlier or later age than is listed below.)
- Problems With Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding problems can come down to spinal misalignments. These can be caused during the birthing process or from being confined to the womb in a particular position for months. Spinal adjustments can help improve proper positioning, while a gentle massage of the jaw muscles and joints can improve a newborn’s ability to effectively latch and suck.
- Reflux Issues: Acid reflux, caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is what causes acid to enter the esophagus. It can cause babies to frequently spit up and give them a fussy disposition after feedings. Spinal and neck adjustments can strengthen the valve at the top of the stomach that prevents acid from moving up the digestive tract.
- Infantile Colic: Colic is diagnosed for babies that cry for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, for three or more weeks. While not much is known about the definitive cause of colic, it’s often associated with poor digestion. Chiropractic treatment may include stimulation of the small intestine to better allow the gut to jumpstart the digestive process.
- Constipation Problems: Otherwise known as infrequent or hard stools, babies with constipation may suffer from a spinal misalignment. Chiropractic therapy can help improve that alignment, alleviate pressure on surrounding nerves, and allow those nerves to begin sending signals to the brain to improve digestion.
- Body Stiffness: Due to limited space in the womb and trauma during the birthing process (for both natural births and c-sections) babies can be born with misalignments of the vertebrae or problems with the muscles in their neck. This can lead to general stiffness or torticollis (when a baby’s head tilts to one side). Both issues can be improved by gentle chiropractic massage or touch, starting right after birth or once the problem is diagnosed.
- Ear Infections: Chronic ear infections can strike in infancy, the toddler years, and beyond, and are caused by fluid trapped in the eustachian tubes that run from the middle ear to the upper throat. By manipulating the nearby muscles, chiropractors can help drain fluid and relieve pressure in the ear.
- Sleep Issues: Adequate sleep is an important factor in proper physical and mental development. When children sleep, their bodies and minds recharge, preparing for the day ahead. Misalignments in the spine can prevent nerves from sending signals to the brain which may be to blame for toddler sleep problems. Regular spinal adjustments can help treat the cause of sleep issues and give toddlers and their parents a better night’s rest.
- Congestion or Cough: Congestion can be treated by adjustments to the neck. This relieves pressure on the brain stem, throat, and sinus passages which then allow the sinuses to drain. Chronic cough is can be caused by misalignments in the spine, and chiropractic adjustments can help release phlegm and relieve the pressure on surrounding nerves.
- Balance or Coordination: Coordination problems in toddlerhood can lead to delays in gross or fine motor skills. That affects everything from the ability to run, balance, catch a ball, or write. Experienced chiropractors can diagnose and treat any musculoskeletal issues that are causing a restriction in movement or they can introduce specific exercises to help build a child’s range of motion.
- Problems With Speech Development: The brain and spinal cord must work in sync in order to boost optimal brain health. When that doesn’t happen certain parts of the brain, for example, the part of the brain that controls speech, may not function as it should and can cause speech delays in toddlers and young children. Regular visits to the chiropractor for spinal adjustments can help improve the communication from the brain to the spinal cord, boost brain health, and help children improve their speech.
- Behavior Issues (ADHD, ASD, ODD, etc): Parents of school-aged children with behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, autism, and oppositional defiant disorder may be surprised to learn that these problems can be alleviated with chiropractic adjustments. These issues stem from problems in the nervous system when the brain and spinal cord can’t communicate effectively. Misaligned vertebrae can be the cause of this interference. Once that blockage is treated by a chiropractor it allows the nervous system to function optimally once again and lessen the symptoms of common behavioral issues.
- Bedwetting: Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is another ailment caused by misalignments of the spine that interfere with communication in the central nervous system. In this case, it affects muscle control (specifically of the bladder) and the excretory system.
- Sensory Processing Difficulties: Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect children with autism, ADHD, or other issues. Children with SPD find it difficult to process common sensory information (the things you see, smell, feel, taste, or hear). Spinal adjustments can help alleviate these symptoms by relieving pressure on the nerves and allowing the body to more easily regulate sensory information.
- Allergies or Asthma Problems: Seasonal allergies and asthma problems can also be alleviated by regular chiropractic care. Adjustments to the spine can boost the immune system which allows the body to stop producing large quantities of mucus while also being able to immobilize allergens.
- Digestion Issues: Nerve endings in the digestive tract help regulate the digestive system and keep it functioning properly. If those nerve endings aren’t working properly or there is pressure on them, food or fluid can build up and cause discomfort, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. Regular chiropractic adjustments can alleviate these issues.
- Anxiety and Depression: With more and more teenagers dealing with anxiety and depression, chiropractic care offers an all-natural approach. Realignments can relieve stress, tension, and lower blood pressure which, in conjunction with other lifestyle changes, can allow teens to better manage their symptoms.
- Headaches or Migraines: Tension headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic headaches are three types of headaches that affect patients in different areas of the head, neck, or face. A pediatric chiropractor can diagnose the type of headache. They can then help treat tension and cervicogenic headaches, and alleviate the frequency and intensity of migraines.
- Memory Problems: This is another instance where interference in the nervous system, caused by spinal misalignments, can cause poor performance in the brain. In this case, it causes memory problems in children and teens. Regular chiropractic visits can improve brain health to alleviate memory problems.
- Sports Performance: Sports chiropractic care isn’t just for children and teens with sports-related injuries. It can also help improve performance and prevent injury. It all starts with a diagnosis of potential problem areas in the body and the introduction of specific stretches and exercises that can keep the body in tip-top shape and in performance-ready condition.
** We do not claim to treat or cure any of these conditions. It is important to note that some disorders can’t be cured by chiropractic care, but they can certainly be eased by it.**
Helping your child stay healthy is always a top priority at ADIO Chiropractic. We will always work diligently with you to ensure your child receives the best care available. Our team uses the latest techniques in the industry to help promote a healthy lifestyle for your child so they always feel their best. We are available and happy to answer any questions about our pediatric chiropractic services.
What Does a Pediatric Chiropractor Do?
Just like an adult chiropractor, pediatric chiropractors use manual techniques to manipulate the spine, joints, and soft tissue of a patient’s musculoskeletal system in order to improve your child’s health. In kids, untreated chiropractic issues stemming from spinal misalignments can stunt their growth and nerve development, which impacts their ability to learn.
That’s because trauma to the spine can cause a ripple effect throughout the body, affecting the nervous system, immune system, digestive system, brain function, and more. So many seemingly unrelated bodily ailments, like bedwetting or anxiety, are often overlooked by parents and caregivers as a chiropractic issue.
Regular adjustments can help realign the vertebrae and release pressure on a child’s joints and nerves. This allows the nervous system to better communicate with the brain and alleviate a long list of chronic issues.
The benefits of chiropractic care go beyond helping with the typical neck pain and back pain that we normally associate with chiropractic patients.
What Does Pediatric Chiropractic Treatment Look Like?
Chiropractors can diagnose certain health ailments, perform manual therapy, introduce specific exercises, and suggest good habits and lifestyle changes that will have amazing benefits for your child’s immune system. In terms of manual therapy, the techniques used for pediatric chiropractic care focus on gentle massage and manipulation—or even a simple touch in the right spot.
During an initial visit with new patients, you can expect to be asked about their child’s medical history and health concerns. Chiropractors may even request imagery, like an x-ray, to help them with their diagnosis.
Then, parents are presented with a care plan that can last anywhere from weeks to months. It’s important for parents to understand that chiropractic care is a process and involves regular visits to ensure their child’s optimal health.
Is Pediatric Chiropractic Care Safe?
Yes, pediatric chiropractic care is exceptionally safe and can be very effective for children and teenagers.
Many parents worry about sending their child to a chiropractor. After all, the spine and nervous system are delicate and some of the most important parts of the human body. We want to assure you that pediatric chiropractic care is pain-free, all-natural, and non-invasive.
The first step to ensuring a healthy and safe process is to find a licensed chiropractor that specializes in pediatrics. It’s important that chiropractors have the training and education in working with children because children’s bodies function differently than adults.
Unlike adults, whose bodies are fully developed, children’s joints and bones aren’t fully formed until about 14 to 18 years of age. The skull doesn’t fuse together until a child is one or two years old. And a child’s joints are made up of more cartilage—or elastic tissue—than bone until about the age of 16. Somewhere between the ages of 14 to 18, the growth plates located at the ends of long bones fuse together.
All of that requires a more delicate and targeted approach during adjustments. Professionals are trained in the proper techniques, force, depth, and type of contact in relation to a child’s developing body.
The when and why of pediatric chiropractic care is clear. From birth to adolescence, experienced chiropractors can regularly treat a child for a long list of issues without the use of invasive measures or medication.
Pain-free regular visits with an experienced pediatric chiropractor are all that stand in the way of your child’s optimal health. Contact ADIO Chiropractic in Madison to learn more about pediatric care by giving us a call at (608) 824-0950, or schedule an appointment online!