Is Chiropractic Appropriate for Children?
You can benefit from chiropractic care at any age. Because the birthing process – even with natural childbirth methods – can cause subtle injuries to the clavicle, collarbone, spine and neck, parents often bring their infants to their chiropractors for a checkup soon after they are born. Many chiropractors have received specialized training in pediatric care, and have been trained in how to assess these subtle problems and imbalances in ways that medical doctors and pediatricians have not.
Chiropractic care can also benefit children as they continue to grow. Spinal problems may result as the result of falls, or from long periods of time spent in cramped or uncomfortable positions, such as riding in car seats. This can result in many common disorders in children, such as persistent earaches, bed-wetting, colic, or headaches. These conditions have often been successfully treated via chiropractic care. In 2007, nearly 3% of American children were treated with chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, making it one of the most common forms of complementary or alternative medicine used for children.
Chiropractic has been proven for decades to be one of the safest health care methods, and of course safety is even more important when dealing with children. Spinal adjustments, when performed on infants or young children, involve very light, finger-tip movements. One or two pounds of pressure is all that is necessary to correct spinal structures that have become misaligned, because although it is easy for children’s spines to shift out of alignment, it is also easy to ease them back into place. The “popping” sound that is often heard when spinal joints are manipulated in adults is not always heard in children. There is rarely any pain or discomfort, and many children enjoy their visits to the chiropractor and look forward to subsequent visits.
So there is no reason why, as a parent, you should not consider chiropractic care for your infant or child, and there are many reasons why it may be wise to do so. The focus of chiropractic is, after all, to treat the “whole person” and, by keeping the spine and nervous system healthy, keeping the whole body healthy. This is as important in children as it is in adults.
It is important to note, however, that a chiropractor is not a replacement for your pediatrician, who is there to provide your children with medications and care in case of serious illness or injury. The chiropractor provides complementary care, focusing on wellness, integrity of the spine and the nervous system, and the development of a healthy immune system. You would not expect your medical doctor or pediatrician to perform a checkup on your children’s teeth; instead you’d take them to a dentist, who has had more specialized training. Similarly, chiropractors have had more specialized training that enables them to diagnose subtle imbalances in children’s spinal structures and restore them to balance with subtle, non-invasive adjustments.
For the best current research on chiropractic for children visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association at icpa4kids.org
NOTE: Certain insurance plans will not cover chiropractic care for children under the age of 12. Please call your insurance provider with any questions regarding coverage for your child.