Children and Chiropractic
Those few words do more to describe why your children should be under chiropractic care then any statements we can make. From the moment of birth our bodies are subjected to tremendous stress. Lets face it, the birth process itself is incredibly stressful on both mother and child, the newborn neck must be bent one way then another just to pass through the birth canal. Many infants are effected by this and are left with a subluxation or spinal misalignment, which if left untreated can lead to deformities and pinched nerves. These conditions lead to other problems not so obvious to the parent. Studies show that subluxation of the spine can lead to an assortment of body form and function problems. There are case studies that show that back pain is a condition found in children more than we ever realized, as many as 30% of children ages 12 to 15 years old reported a history of back pain. Another study found that almost 23% of elementary school children complained of back pain and until recently your family doctor would have scoffed it off to growing pains.
Scoliosis is another reason you should have your child examined by your chiropractor. It is an abnormal curvature of the spine. If you look at your child's back, his or her spine should be almost perfectly straight up and down, no side to side curvature. If this condition is not detected early on, your child may end up with a serious deformity. This condition can be treated by your chiropractor but only if the child is brought to us early. It is very important that scoliosis is detected and treated before the "growth spurt" period of your child's life. While we know that children grow in different ways, it is imperative that your child receives treatment for scoliosis usually before age 12.
So what is this all leading to? Simple, we don't think twice about taking our children to the dentist regularly, do the same for chiropractic visits. We think you will be surprised by the results and we feel that you and your child will enjoy the loving care your chiropractor will give.
Many parents ask us when their child should receive their first chiropractic adjustment? The answer is simple, since we know that many misalignments are produced at birth, your child should be examined by your chiropractor as soon as possible. If you are currently a chiropractic patient you probably are a believer in the treatments. However most parents worry that an adjustment on their child might be to rough or that the adjustment may hurt. On the contrary, the amount of force used by your chiropractor on a child is substantially less, usually about 6-8 oz. On the very small children such as infants there is no audible confirmation of the adjustment and your child usually only feels mild pressure.
Another worry that parents have is that this is a new field for chiropractors and that we may not be trained for pediatric chiropractic procedures. These statements are far from the truth; the first recorded professional chiropractic adjustment on a child was performed in 1923. There are also cases before this date but it was before chiropractic was recognized as a true medical practice. In a 1988 article in the New England Journal of medicine, they stated that more than 20 million infants and children had chiropractic visits that year. With parents becoming more and more aware of the benefits of chiropractic care, we are sure that that number has increased dramatically over that past few years.
Why this phenomenal growth in the number of children receiving care in our offices? To quote Dr. Larry Webster D.C., the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. "First, parents are not satisfied with the drug approach. The second and most obvious reason is that chiropractic works. Everyday in chiropractic offices around the country we hear parents say that after trying this and that for their child, they decided to give chiropractic a try, and now, their child is better. Chiropractic also is non-invasive." So to answer the question: Is chiropractic safe for your child and is my chiropractor capable of caring for my child? The answer is YES. Many doctors of chiropractic are taking postgraduate courses in chiropractic pediatrics to enhance the studies that they were required to complete in Chiropractic College. Most states now require chiropractic pediatrics as part of their board exams to be licensed and the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association has begun to certify chiropractors in several states and Canada.
As with any doctor visit, you are the eyes, ears and memory of your child. Tell us all you know. If there were any unusual events during childbirth, did he or she have any falls or injuries during their lifetime? We will also need to know if there has been any development problems such as posture or range of motion issues that you can tell us about.
It is also a good idea to prepare your child before the visit. Let them know what to expect. Because our examination and treatment are so hands on, (chiropractic means, "done by hand") some parents tell their kids that they are going to "Dr Tickles" and that he or she is really "cool". We find that if your child is at ease and happy with the experience they respond much better to the treatment. This might explain why the television show 20/20 even described the practice as "non-threatening" This controversial news program even went so far as to say that during its investigation of chiropractic, happy smiling faces were evident in the children and the parents were pleased with the results.
We will teach you how to hold your child during the adjustment, explaining the procedure as we go. We will advise you on after visit home advice such as, how to lift your child without putting stress on his or her back, teaching your child not to slouch, nutrition and diet. We will also encourage regular visits not unlike other doctors. Rest assured that our drug free treatments are by far safer then drugging the problems away.
Most chiropractors that treat children have a very different approach for a child then an adult. For example, some have special chiropractic tables designed to accommodate the size and weight of your child. Many actually do the adjustment while the child is on the parent's lap or across their knees. The latter approach is less traumatic on the child, in fact usually this way of treating your son or daughter is a fun time for them.
The treatment of your child will vary depending on their size, age and needs. The amount of thrust is much less that that of an adult, typically from 6 to 8 ounces and the popping sound usually associated with an adult adjustment is not always heard.
The wonderful thing about children is that they respond quickly to treatments and are more willing to listen to the "Doctor" then many of our more stubborn parents. We find that when we tell your kids to sit up straight or to do certain exercises that they listen and usually will return to our office boasting about their improvements.
Before any treatment is given to your child or to any patient for that matter, a thorough examination is performed (see the section on chiropractic examinations.) Again, an examination of your child is handled differently then that of an adult. We try to make it fun and enjoyable for your children, while maintaining the highest standard.
The visit, the examination and the treatment should be fun and enjoyable experience. Our staff will do everything in their power to make this happen. For example many chiropractors have small play areas devoted to children, we use props and puppets and above all we broadcast our smile. All in an effort to make the experience enjoyable and successful for your children.