5 Reasons to Take Kids to a Chiropractor
Maybe you benefit from adjustments, but do you take your kids to the chiropractor? If you associate chiropractors with low back pain and migraines, it might sound funny to picture a kid getting an adjustment. However, chiropractors can be an important part of your child’s healthcare team.
A common misconception when it comes to children’s health and chiropractic is that because children have young, healthy spines and lack the issues that adults typically see — low back pain or movement injuries, for example — they don’t need attention on their spine. Kids’ bodies are different than adult bodies, and the care they get at a chiropractor can be very different than adult care.
Stopping Little Problems from Becoming Big Problems
Amy Horton, DC chiropractor in NWHSU’s Bloomington Clinic loves working with children. We asked her to share five of the most common reasons she sees children in her practice.
The bottom line? Chiropractic care early in life can stop little problems from becoming big problems. “It’s really gratifying to see babies get better, no matter what the ailment might be,” shared Dr. Horton. “If you have a child who’s struggling with constipation and it’s never addressed, that’s how the body system learns to work. Once the body regulates that way, it’s hard to undo it later.”
Reason #1 to Take Kids to a Chiropractor: Birth Trauma
The birthing process is not easy. Babies go from a sometimes contorted or twisted position in the womb, through the birth canal, and out into the world.
“Sometimes a baby will get a shoulder hung up in the pelvis, or they’re coming out in a position other than what we consider the normal birthing position,” Dr. Horton said. “Or if there’s device-assisted birthing, there can be extra pressure on the baby’s head and neck and that in and of itself is going to be traumatic.”
Reason #2 to Take Kids to a Chiropractor: Preventative Care for Moving, Growing Spines
While a baby’s spine is young and healthy, movement can affect the way the spine evolves as the child grows.
“Baby might be doing great, but there are times throughout development where the curves in the spine are changing,” Horton said. “Those are when they start learning to lift their heads up, learning to roll, they’re crawling, sitting, standing, walking. All of those are times where spinal curves change and those are good times to get checked out.”
Reason #3 to Take Kids to a Chiropractor: Falls
When a child is learning to walk and stand, falls and tumbles are inevitable. Falling down several times a day, even just lightly on a diapered bottom, provides continuous opportunities for the spine to be compressed from the impact. As they get older, backyard activities, running full force into things, or wrestling with siblings can cause injury to the body.
“Repeated impact like falls, tumbles, trampolines, and a lot of jumping can lead to misalignments in the spine,” Horton said. “They might fall in a twisted position or torque those joints. The joints of a child can have more range of motion than an adult, allowing them to twist even farther.”
Reason #4 to Take Kids to a Chiropractor: Structural Neck and Ear Problems
Oftentimes, common children’s health conditions have a correlation with restriction of movement. Torticollis, or when a baby has restricted neck muscles that causes the head to be tilted at an angle, is one example.
Another common infant condition is ear infections. In babies, ear tubes are horizontal, so they don’t drain well. Because babies are often laying down early in their life, it’s hard for the tubes to drain fluid well and they get infected.
“Neurologically, what we can find with ear infection babies is an effect in the neck, especially upper cervical,” Horton said. “Sometimes we find a correlation with restriction there, and the adjustment mechanically can help with drainage by allowing decreased irritation to the nervous system.”
Reason #5 to Take Kids to a Chiropractor: General Wellness
Children’s pain often manifests differently than adult pain.
“Sometimes problems in the spine can manifest internally,” Horton said. “For example, an upset stomach or constipation might be a signal that the lower back is off. If you correct the lower back, it can help to relieve the constipation or upset stomach.”
Whether you are looking for an alternative treatment for conditions your child may be experiencing or wanting to keep your child moving just like you, chiropractic care may be a great option. The reward of seeing the improvement a child makes after care and hearing that the child has asked to come in are just a few things that make treating children an enjoyable part of Dr. Horton’s practice. She is motivated by correcting a pain or just making sure they grow up as healthy as they can.