While many adults know they need to see a chiropractor for all of their back and neck aches and pains, sometimes it is actually children who need chiropractic care the most. Children and babies have spines just like adults, and as most parents know, children and babies can trip, fall and get injured just like adults can.
Pediatric chiropractors use special techniques, backed by the latest research and examinations to help correct spinal misalignments. These adjustments cannot only help with injuries and pain, but they can also ensure that your child’s nervous system is up and working in the spine.
Pediatric chiropractic is a safe and natural way to keep children and babies as healthy as possible, but many people have questions about chiropractic for kids. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions medical professionals get about pediatric chiropractic.
How Old Does a Baby Need to Be to See a Chiropractor?
Babies as young as one day old can see a chiropractor, in fact many children this young will get checked. This is particularly important for babies who have had a long or difficult birth. After all, birth is extremely traumatic, not only on mothers, but on babies who have to travel through the birth canal.
Even when the birth is quick and without complications, it can still cause trauma, injuries and misalignments in a baby’s neck and spine. Plus, vacuums, forceps, suction and even c-sections can bring even more stress and tension on young, developing spines.
Obviously, babies cannot communicate that they are dealing with back or neck pain. Plus, this trauma doesn’t always manifest in pain or symptoms right away. Think of this type of misalignment like a cavity in your tooth, it can sometimes take time to develop before we know it is there. This is why it is so important to get your child and your baby set up with a pediatric chiropractic appointment so that they can get checked by a professional.
Will Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt Kids?
No, not at all! In fact, chiropractic adjustments are very safe and gentle. Pediatric chiropractors not only use gentle techniques, but extremely light touch. In fact, the pressure that a pediatric chiropractor applies to a young baby is similar to the pressure you would apply to your eyelid. A chiropractor may also use a spring-loaded instrument that is super gentle, yet effective on children.
Since kids still have plenty of tendons, joints and ligaments that are growing and developing, chiropractors won’t use the same force that they use on an adult. In fact, because of this gentle force, an adjustment on a child typically won’t crack, pop or make the same noise that you may hear from an adjustment with an adult.
When chiropractors adjust babies, they actually apply a light sustained pressure on the joint to free up the subluxation, or use a form of light massage to correct any issues they may find.
What Type of Pediatric Conditions do Chiropractors Typically Treat?
While we always encourage parents to bring new babies in to get checked, there are also other pediatric conditions that chiropractors commonly treat. The goal of any pediatric chiropractor is to correct spinal misalignments so that the body can heal itself.
Some of the most common conditions that pediatric chiropractic can treat include:
- Acid reflux
- Upset stomach/gas
- Pediatric scoliosis
- Issues with latching and breastfeeding
However, ear infections are some of the most common reason that parents will bring their child in to a pediatric chiropractor. Many times, when there is a misalignment in the upper portion of the neck, it impacts the nerve transmission to the ears as well as the eyes, nose and throat as well.
A chiropractor will not just treat symptoms associated with these types of issues, but address the cause of where that symptom may be coming from. Instead of covering up the symptoms with medication, they will work to treat the root of the issue to correct the problem. Proper alignment is essential for proper function in different areas of the body. With gentle and natural chiropractic care, many children are able to get the relief that they need from common conditions such as these.
When Are the Times Your Child May Need to Get Checked?
Unfortunately, many times, our children are unable to communicate clearly with their parents, or let them know that they may need to see a chiropractor to get checked.
When They Start Raising or Using Their Head More
When babies start to use their head, the curve in the neck (known as the cervical lordosis) begins to develop. This is that natural, healthy curve that we want to see as kids start to grow. However, this process can cause a lot of tension and strain to the delicate nerves and spine in your baby’s neck. If this tension is left untreated, then it can prevent the curve in the neck from developing properly.
When Babies Start Sitting Up By Themselves
When babies start to grow and develop it will also create a curve in your child’s lower back, known as lumbar lordosis. This happens after the development of the nerve in the neck. This can create tension and strain in the sacrum and lower back which may cause serious discomfort for your child, and even prevent this curve from developing properly.
When Babies Learn to Crawl
Learning to crawl is a huge developmental milestone in a baby’s life, and it is an important milestone in the development of balance and coordination. Babies move in a cross-crawl motion while moving arms back and forth, which actually triggers neurological development. If your baby is struggling to crawl, they may need to be checked out. Of course, crawling and movement also means an increased chance for injuries and falls, which can cause injures and subluxations.
When Babies Learn to Walk
A baby’s neurological development is never been more important than when they are learning to walk. All humans have nerves in the body known as proprioceptors which are responsible for coordination and balance. During the phase when your child is learning to walk, these nerves are still developing, which is why your child will be wobbly and fall over. Interferences in these nerves and along the spine can delay your child’s development and ability to walk.
When Your Child Falls or Takes a Tumble
Babies and kids of all ages fall, it just happens. If your child has fallen, taken a serious tumble, hurt themselves or hit their head or neck, then they need to visit a chiropractor to be checked, unless it is a medical emergency where they need to go to a hospital right away.
Unlike adults who typically need care plans and multiple visits per week in order to correct years of spinal issues or damage, children typically do not need to be seen as often. Plus, by starting kids early with their chiropractic treatments, they can continue to stay healthy and well aligned as they grow.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your child, or if you have questions about other conditions that a pediatric chiropractor can treat, McAuliffe Chiropractic is here to help. We proudly take care of many children here at our office in Laurel, MD.
We truly stand by the mantra of being your “family chiropractors” and are here to treat the entire family including little ones. Our doctors have been trained in the latest pediatric chiropractic techniques to help treat even the youngest members of the family.
You can always call us directly to make an appointment at 301-776-0755, or book with us directly right online.