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There are a growing number of parents who are seeking alternative and natural forms of health care for their family and there is a lot of information out there to navigate through. The purpose of this article is to help you better understand your child’s special health needs and to address some common questions that parents have about chiropractic care for kids.
Yes! There have been several large-scale research studies verifying the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for kids. The amount of force used to adjust an infant is comparable to the amount of force you use to test a ripe tomato at the grocery store. Those of you with kids know that they are certainly able to withstand a lot more pressure than that! Chiropractors have been helping kids lead healthier lives for over 100 years.
Bones model in response to outside physical stresses placed upon them (a concept known as Wolff’s Law) and proper joint motion is needed to distribute these forces for optimal bone development. There are periods of time when skeletal growth is accelerated commonly known as Growth Spurts, during which balance in the muscles and joints is especially important. Just like the bones of the skeleton, your child’s nervous system is also developing at a rapid rate. The nervous system includes the brain, the spinal cord, and all the millions of nerves that serve every inch of your body and control most of its functions. Just like the bones need proper joint motion for optimal development, so do the nerves in order to develop optimal communication (or innervation).
Although the basic premise for chiropractic care is the same whether the patient is 80 years old or 8 months old, the ever-growing and changing active little bodies of children have distinct needs depending on their stage of development. Generally, children respond much faster and more profoundly to chiropractic care than adults do. They have not subjected their bodies to the same years of abuse that we have. Another major difference is that pain is not a primary system. This can make it more difficult for parents to know when kids need to visit their chiropractor. There are certain “clues” that we can watch for to gain more understanding in this area, such as postural changes, only wanting to breast feed from one side, being off-balance, and running with a limp. As mentioned before, the amount of force used and the specific techniques utilized vary depending on the unique needs of individual children and what stage of development they are currently in.
It is never too early to bring your child to the chiropractor. Infants just minutes old are often checked by the loving hands of the family chiropractor and it is not uncommon to stop by the chiropractor’s office on the way home from the hospital. The birthing process is physically strenuous for both mom and baby, so it is best to get them both cared for as soon as possible afterwards. That being said, it is never too late either! Children may enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care at any age or stage of development.
(If you really want to maximize the benefits of chiropractic care for your child, you can start by taking care of mom while baby is still in the womb!)
Chiropractic for kids will vary as much as chiropractic for adults. As mentioned above, it is often difficult to know when your kids need to see the chiropractor because they do not generally present with pain. To help with this issue, we recommend setting regular Well-Child visits, the same way you would with your dentist and pediatrician. These help catch minor issues before they turn in to major problems and allow kids to truly maximize their healthy potential.
Here is a list of common childhood conditions that families have seen great impact from chiropractic care that you may not have thought of as chiropractic issues. Chiropractors do not necessarily treat or cure these conditions, but they have been shown to help in profound ways by treating the children suffering from them and enhancing their general health.
Sports injuries (like Little League Elbow)
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