Why is Chiropractic care important for babies and children?
Doctors of Chiropractic recognize the vital relationship between the structure of the body and the way the body functions. They treat â€œsubluxationsâ€? which are alterations of spinal joint motion or position that effect both the surrounding muscles and connective tissues as well as the nerves that exit the spinal cord at that level. Chiropractors strive to balance body bio-mechanically. Not only does this minimize stress on joints and relax tight muscles, it also improves the function of all of the bodyâ€™s systems by affecting the central nervous system. This type of care can benefit everyone, but perhaps the most crucial time to be checked by a chiropractor is during infancy and childhood.
The birth process is one of the most traumatic experiences our bodies ever go through. Whether delivered by caesarean section or vaginally, and whether the birth is natural or involves interventions such as forceps or suction, there is a tremendous amount of force place on the joints of the spine and cranium. Intra-uterine positioning (within the womb) can also contribute to joint dysfunction in the newborn. In the first year of life, the spine grows by 50% and the brain undergoes 65% of its post-natal total lifetime growth! For all these reasons, it is extremely beneficial for the newborn to be checked by a chiropractor trained in pediatrics and Craniosacral Therapy to ensure that all of the spinal and cranial joints are functioning properly.
As the baby grows and becomes mobile, tumbles and bonks on the head become daily occurrences. Once they become toddlers and young children, they are constantly running, jumping, climbing, and beginning sports participation, all of which involve significant chances of falls and injuries. These can cause joint subluxations and abnormal tension in the muscles and connective tissues of the body. Regular chiropractic care throughout childhood can help minimize the effects of these structural problems on the way the body functions.
Is Chiropractic care safe for babies and children?
Absolutely! In over one hundred years since Chiropractic began, there has not been even one case of a child being hurt by a chiropractic adjustment. Young bodies are very flexible and childrenâ€™s bones are not fully ossified (or completely turned into bone). Therefore, very little force is needed to perform an adjustment. It is not the amount of force applied to the spine that affects the subluxation, it is the precise location and direction of force that is the key. With years of training and development of great finesse and the ability to detect subtle changes in joints and the surrounding tissues, the chiropractor is able to use very gentle techniques to effect change at a specific joint. It is much less force than the childâ€™s body absorbs in just one fall.
What kinds of condtions respond to Chiropractic care?
Subluxations affect the function of our bodyâ€™s â€œmasterâ€? system: the central nervous system. If the affected nerve goes to a muscle, spasm is the result. If it goes to an organ, the organ wonâ€™t function the way it should. Problems with nursing, ear infections, headaches, colic, asthma, chronic bedwetting, and neck or back pain can all result from subluxations, and have been shown to respond well to chiropractic care.
The muscle spasms that result from subluxations can have profound effects on the body. For example, spasms in the upper neck create tension on the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, the dura mater. This tension can constrict the cranial nerve that controls the tongue, which exits the brain through the dura. If the tongue can no longer function properly, nursing difficulties result. Subluxations can also cause spasm in the small muscles that surround the opening of the Eustachian tube into the back of the throat which can cause excess fluid in the ears and leads to chronic ear infections. Once the skilled chiropractor removes the interference to the nervous system, spasms decrease and the condition may improve dramatically.
Chiropractors concern themselves with the structure and biomechanics of the body (including the spine, cranium, extremities, and the muscles and fascia that connect it all) and the way that subtle alterations in this structure affect the function of the nervous system, which controls every aspect of the body. Infants and children can benefit tremendously from regular chiropractic care. When their bodies are in proper alignment and free of subluxations they will feel better, function better, and have a more balanced foundation to grow on. We all know that tiny alterations in the alignment of the tires on our car may be completely asymptomatic for 20 or 30 thousand miles, but eventually will cause a major blowout that brings us to a screeching halt on the side of the road. In much the same way, subtle alterations of joint function and imbalances in the connective tissues of our body may not bother us in the short-term, but can have profound effects over time if they are not treated . With preventative and maintenance care during childhood, the chiropractor can help prevent â€œblowoutsâ€? from occurring further down the road. Children need chiropractic care to insure optimal health and body function.
- Hewitt, Elise G., DC, DICCP. Pediatrics Lecture, Western States Chiropractic College, Summer 2002.
- Levy, Peter J, DC. Personal correspondence.
- Fysh, Peter N., DC, FICCP. Chiropractic Care for the Pediatric Patient. International Chiropractors Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, Arlington, VA, 2002.