In practice, the concept of chiropractic care for children is not new; however, it may be a new concept for many adults. Why would children need chiropractic care, you may ask? Chiropractic physicians (DCs) offer techniques and treatments that pediatricians do not. In many instances, DCs can offer less invasive options first, before referring patients to prescriptions and surgery.
The central nervous system controls everything. The birth process itself can be physically traumatic, and for some infants, receiving adjustment can offer neurological input or correction from the start, allowing a healthy developmental process to unfold. Later, as young athletes develop, recovering from injuries sustained by participating in sports may be treated with less traumatic chiropractic solutions, rather than more disruptive therapies such as pharmaceuticals or surgery.
Because chiropractic medicine takes into account the entire person, when there is a correction in one area, it can help support and correct another area. Depending on which DC you choose, many incorporate other techniques and specialties such as acupuncture, craniosacral, nutrition and more.
Here are 4 ways chiropractic medicine can benefit children.
1) Chiropractic care is non-invasive.
By its very nature, chiropractic medicine is holistic and non-invasive. For children it can promote proper growth and development by helping remove or limit digestive challenges such as difficulty nursing, reflux, colic and constipation. Other issues for which pediatric chiropractic medicine is used include asthma, allergies, bed wetting, colds, chronic ear infections, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism.
However, unlike for adults, for children – especially infants – it’s more a matter of mobilization that puts a much lower amplitude of pressure into an area, rather than a manipulation that’s associated with adult chiropractic treatments that introduce more pressure into the joint, and possibility of hearing a “popping” sound.
2) Chiropractic medicine recognizes the importance of nutrition.
When conferring with parents who are considering chiropractic treatment for their children, the analogy of a plant is helpful: feed it, water it, talk lovingly to it…and it grows! Because DCs receive extensive training in nutrition, they are uniquely qualified to serve as family primary care physicians and offer nutritional solutions. Poor nutrition and its impact are global concerns. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that roughly 1 in 3 American children and young adults are obese – triple that of the 1963 data.
The field of pediatric chiropractic medicine is engaged in the fight against childhood obesity. Proper nutrition is an incredible part of everyone’s health, but for children who are growing and changing at a fast pace, it’s especially important to make sure they receive the nutrients they need to grow and develop in the best way possible.
For some, there may be connections to specific foods that cause difficult behavioral issues. These foods may include dairy, artificial coloring, sugar, preservatives and other food allergens. DCs can help parents and caregivers by testing for, and identifying the triggers of, many behaviors whose root cause may be nutrition that is uniquely improper or inadequate for a specific child.
3) Chiropractic philosophy emphasizes wellness.
Educating parents and families about the rewards of good nutrition and exercise are vital for the wellness care of individuals and communities. It’s important for families to follow the principles of eating whole foods, minimizing junk foods, limiting time on electronic devices, and getting out to play (exercise) on a regular basis. All of these strategies are crucial in helping to reduce childhood obesity that is causing a range of problems the health care community once did not see until adulthood: Diabetes Type 2, and high cholesterol and blood pressure chief among them. Carrying excess weight at a younger age and for a longer period of time also means the likelihood of an earlier death in adulthood.
Psychologically, it’s important to understand that during childhood these kids tend to have a negative body image, suffer low self-esteem, and become depressed, setting the stage for serious mental health issues later on.
4) Chiropractic treatments are safe.
Overall, chiropractic care for children is a safe and very effective approach; and, the nicest part of it is that the response is noticeable pretty quickly. Children will either have a positive response, or there won’t be any response at all: there is a minimal downside.
If you’re considering chiropractic care for your child, there are many resources to help you make an informed decision. In the state of Illinois, doctors of chiropractic are designated as primary care physicians, or, you may contact the National University Whole Health Center in Lombard, Ill. If you are located outside the greater Chicago area, consult with your primary care physician.
For more information, visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to find a chiropractor, and for the latest in wellness and research articles on the topic.
About the Author
Dr. Anna Jurik