Many people wonder why their child would need pediatric chiropractic care. First it is important to remember that chiropractic care at White Oak Family Wellness does not only include spinal manipulation but also nutrition, developmental therapy, and neuro-sensory integration. That being said a child may need only one of these therapeutic interventions or maybe all of them, depending on the issues they face.
So, what are these issues that children have to deal with as they grow and develop? The answer, birth trauma. It can occur due to false labor, unusual length of labor, vacuum or forceps extraction, incorrect fetal positioning in the birth canal, use of drugs during labor, failure of dilation of cervix or fetal distress. One study reports that 1500 babies were examined within the first 5 days of birth and studied periodically for 8 years. The study revealed that 90% of the babies had suffered birth trauma and associated strain in the neck and cranial areas. Birth trauma is a frequent cause of spinal restrictions, which can then manifest into other symptoms such as colic, ear infections, head tilt (congenital torticollis), difficulties nursing, asthma and much more. A spinal restriction can cause these conditions because of the communication between the spine and the nervous system.
As the child then grows, he/she will go through developmental milestones, whether they are physical development (crawling, standing, walking, etc) or neurological development (hand-eye coordination, speaking, or integrating primitive reflexes as they grow), at which time seeing a pediatric chiropractor will be beneficial. Even if your child is healthy it is important to have your child checked as they are developing to ensure there are no neurological deficits that could be setting them back in life, as well as to improve their plasticity (neurological development). According to Hendrix & Hunt, a baby is born with about 100 billion nerve cells which form into circuits. The childhood years determine which circuits remain and strengthen and which circuits die off. This is determined by the brain's plasticity (the changeability of these circuits/pathways based on the changes in environment, behavior and neural processes).
The most important information to note about pediatric chiropractic manipulation is that it is not like adult manipulation. When adjusting an infant or smaller child the doctor’s contact is always 1-2 fingers. For infants a manipulation may consist of simply contacting a vertebral segment and applying enough pressure to dent a balloon. It can also be a slight vibratory impulse or a single light impulse. For toddlers the adjustments are the same as for infants with slightly more force. With an older child an adjustment may be set up similar to an adult but with less force or there may be a slight variation in the set up compared to an adult adjustment. Sometimes an assistive tool may be used, such as a pediatric headpiece, which aids in gently adjusting the cervical spine (neck) of a child. It may seem less effective to those of you who are used to an adult adjustment but we have to remember that besides for the inherent size difference, children’s nervous systems are also more susceptible to change with less input.
Is pediatric chiropractic safe for my child?
Because the techniques are much gentler for pediatric adjustments, it is a safe and effective treatment for many pediatric conditions. In general, the effects you may see after an adjustment for an infant, include but are not limited to bowel movements, sleepiness, less irritability, resolution of symptoms and in some cases an increase in energy. You may find that your pediatrician does not recommend chiropractic care. Sadly, there is a lack of knowledge amongst other healthcare practitioners about chiropractic care. Ask your pediatrician what exposure they have had to chiropractic care and what they know about it. At that point you can come talk to the doctors at White Oak Family Wellness and decide if pediatric chiropractic would be beneficial for your child.
White Oak Family Wellness
chiropractic | acupuncture | nutrition
St Charles Chiropractic
As soon as possible after birth to assess and treat any birth trauma
When your baby starts holding their head up on their own
When your baby starts to sit upright on their own
When your baby starts crawling
When your baby starts standing on their own
When your baby starts walking around
Any time the child is facing symptoms or an illness (ie. colic, ear infections, aches and pains, allergy symptoms, difficulty nursing, sleeping problems, etc.)
If you're unsure that we can treat a condition your child is dealing with feel free to ask!
Special thanks to beautiful baby J and family.
Baby J at 6 weeks old (left), receiving treatment for colic. I think she likes it!
Dr. Shah treating baby J at 3 weeks old (right), she came in for a slight head tilt (resolved after 2 visits).