When some parents think about having their infant checked for subluxation, I think they may envision the same force or technique being used on their infant that we use on them. When adjusting an infant, I use about the same pressure that would be used to test a tomato for ripeness, an amount that would not cause discomfort against the eyeball. In fact, if the infant is asleep during the checkup and adjustment; they will rarely even wake up.
The birth process, even a “normal” vaginal birth, can be quite traumatic to a baby. There is an estimated 70-90 pounds of pressure put on a baby’s spine during birth. Add any interventions, or “assistance” by the doctor or midwife in the form of pulling, forceps, vacuum or Caesarian section, and the baby can start off life with misalignments (subluxations) that can seriously affect his health. Immediate symptoms of subluxation in the newborn can be things like respiratory distress, nursing difficulties, or “failure to thrive.”
As the child develops, normal activities such as crawling, learning to walk, and the bumps and bruises that come along with it can create many stresses on a developing child’s spine. Past the toddler stage, kids are subjected to much the same physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that we all encounter and that cause misalignments (subluxations).
The point is that the stresses many infants, toddlers, and children encounter can cause spinal and nerve-damaging subluxations with serious short and long-term consequences. If there is a time when it is most important for a person to have the best spinal alignment without nerve system interference, it is during the growth period. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
The only way to know if your child has subluxations is to have him checked by
a pediatric chiropractor.
Why do millions of parents bring their children to Doctors of Chiropractic every year? Most people think of going to a chiropractor when they are in pain or discomfort. Some realize that by removing stress from the body, chiropractic can help with other health conditions.
A pediatric chiropractic’s purpose is to remove stress from your child’s body allowing the natural healing power of the body to heal itself. This is best taught by thinking of our bodies as the environment. You can’t pollute any part of our environment without polluting every aspect of our environment. When you have stress stored in any system of your body, it affects every system of your body: Your nervous system, digestive system, immune system, etc.
Today, we find more parents bringing their children to chiropractors for day-to-day health concerns we’re all familiar with: colds, sore throats, ear infections, fevers, colic, asthma, tonsillitis, allergies, bed-wetting, infections, pains, falls, stomach-aches, and the hundred and one little and big things children go through as they grow up.
Pediatric Chiropractors Do Not Treat Disease
It’s most important to understand that children’s chiropractic is not a treatment for disease.
A pediatric chiropractor’s purpose is to reduce nerve system stress, a serious and often painless condition most children (and adults) have in their bodies. Nerve system stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken internal organs and organ systems, lower resistance, reduce healing potential and set the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds.
When a pediatric chiropractor frees the nervous system from spinal stress, the healing power of the body is returned to its optimal level: the immune system works more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your child’s body functions more efficiently. Your child can then respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses he/she comes in contact with more efficiently.
While children with diseases are often brought to the chiropractor, the chiropractor is not treating their individual diseases, but is instead reducing nerve system stress, thus permitting their body’s natural healing potential to function at its best.
What Exactly Is Nerve System Stress?
Nerve stress is caused by vertebral subluxations. Subluxations are misalignments or distortions of the spine, skull, hips, and related tissues that irritate, stretch, impinge or otherwise interfere with the proper function of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and peripheral nerves). Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body, any interference to it can create all kinds of effects.
How Is Nerve System Stress Caused?
Nerve system stress can be caused by physical, chemical or emotional stress. Physical stress may start in the womb, with the baby lying in a distorted or twisted manner. Spinal nerve stress in newborns is common today. This may be caused by a traumatic or difficult birth, which can introduce great stress to the infant’s skull, spine and pelvis. Throughout childhood, the normal childhood traumas every child experiences can be a source of spinal and cranial trauma. Most of the time, the pain from the initial injury “goes away” however the damage incurred continues to affect the future function of the child’s nerve system.
How Does the Pediatric Chiropractor Correct Nerve System Stress?
This is accomplished first, by analyzing the spinal column and related structures for balance and proper function. Where the spinal column is found to be functioning improperly, the Doctor of Chiropractic performs precise corrective procedures called spinal adjustments.
Using his/her hands and/or specialized instruments to gently and specifically correct those abnormal areas, doctors of chiropractic assist the spine and cranium to regain their intended state of balance and the nerve system is freed from stress.
It’s All About Function!
Today’s parents are informed and make their health care choices accordingly. They have become more concerned than ever about the adverse effects drugs have on their children. Parents are hesitant to merely mask symptoms with drugs and are justly worried about their numerous side effects. Parents are increasingly asking, when handed a prescription for a child’s recurrent problem, “Is this really all I can do for my child? Isn’t there a safer option? How can I restore health?”
Today’s parents desire to achieve a state of true health—This is leading them to seek health care options which support their children’s own natural ability to be healthy.
Pediatric chiropractic care is one such option. All children function better with 100% nerve function. All children deserve the right to express their fullest potential. Chiropractic care for children is safe, gentle and effective. It enhances the body’s inborn potential for wellbeing.
Commonly seen pediatric conditions
Decreased Immune System
Commonly parents say “My child seems to always be sick”. Pediatric chiropractic
care can offer a solution. Chiropractic care was first linked to improved immunity during the deadly flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918. The funny thing was: Chiropractic patients fared better than the general population. This observation spurred a study of the field. The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25 percent death rate, a lot less than the normal rate of 5 percent among flu victims who did not receive chiropractic care.
In the years since, studies are finding that chiropractic care is a way to improve immunity. One study, from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois, found that disease-fighting white blood cell counts were higher just 15 minutes after chiropractic adjustment. A similar study investigated the immune system response in HIV-positive patients under chiropractic care. After six months of treating spinal misalignment, the group receiving the chiropractic treatment showed a 48 percent increase in white blood cell counts. Conversely, the group that did not receive chiropractic manipulation experienced a 7.96 percent decrease in immunity cells.
Chiropractic and Ear Infections
Next to the common cold, ear infections are the most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States. More than three out of four children have had at least one ear infection by the time they are three years of age.
For years, parents have depended on antibiotics to cure the infection. But now doctors are warning about the overuse of antibiotics. They are advising parents to take a wait-and-see approach to find out if the infection clears on its own. Now some parents are trying to stop the infections before they start. How? They are taking their kids to see
pediatric chiropractors who specialize in children. Pediatric chiropractic care can help prevent ear infections on many levels. One way is that it allows the proper flow of fluid through the Eustachian tubes. Another way is by increasing the body’s own defense by strengthening the immune system.
Antibiotic therapy: This may be effective for acute bacterial infections, but many cases are viral, for which antibiotics are useless.
Tubes in the ears: Surgical implantation of artificial drainage tubes that require the administration of a risky anesthesia and then, they often fall out!
Chiropractic care: A thorough examination to locate, and adjustments to reduce nerve disturbances that may make the ears prone to infection.
Ear infections aren’t the result of a drug shortage or deformed Eustachian tubes! Our bodies have an incredible capacity to fight infection. When that ability is impaired, it means something else is going on.
The nerves that control, regulate and monitor the ear begin in the brain stem, continue down the spinal cord and exit out from between the bones of the spinal column.
Changes to the function of the bones in the upper neck can compromise the quality of the nerve communication to and from the brain. This can affect the ability of any organ or tissue, in this case your child’s ear, to “defend itself” from infection.
Nerve compromise is often accompanied by abnormal tension to the muscles that support the spine. Besides “protecting” the spine from further compromise, these muscle spasms can exert pressure on nearby lymphatic drainage ducts. This prevents natural drainage, further compounding the problem.
Can Chiropractic Help?
Our approach is simple. When parents bring their child to us, we look specifically for distortions in the upper spine. If nerve tension is detected, we gently reduce it with safe and natural chiropractic adjustments. This helps restore nervous system integrity. For a child or infant, this usually requires little more than a light touch with our fingertip at just the right place and direction.
Parents love our approach. We explain everything in advance. Our adjusting approach is safe and results are achieved naturally. Give us a call. We’d like to help!
So many parents, including myself, have experienced the inconsolable cries of their newborn baby. From one hour to the next their angel baby can no longer be calmed even though all their apparent needs are met. Some babies are fussy at specific times of the day while others have no pattern to their crying. In time, the colic will pass but there are natural options to give both your baby and yourselves relief and rest.
What is Colic?
Colic is defined as three hours of crying three days a week for at least three weeks. There are varying degrees of fussiness which can begin shortly following birth or more commonly, three to six weeks of age. Recent studies suggest colic may be more neurological in origin than a digestive system disorder which is suggestive of why chiropractic is so successful.
The birth process itself can create tension in the baby’s spine. The force of contractions can put 70-90 pounds of force into a baby’s spine. This tension creates stress in the nerves traveling to the developing digestive system. When the nerves are irritated, the digestive system cannot function as efficient as it should and the baby may have the following symptoms: increased gas, spitting up, struggling to move bowels, green-colored stools and of course, fussiness.
Research on Colic
The Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the treatment of colic chiropractic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded Observer, J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 (Oct);22 (8): 517-522
This research was done in a private chiropractic practice using blinded National Health Service nurses. One group of crying infants received spinal adjustments, the other babies were treated with the drug dimethicone (the standard medical prescription for colic). Changes in daily hours of crying were recorded.
By trial day 7, hours of crying were reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone group compared with 2.4 hour reduction in crying in the colic chiropractic group.
By day 11, crying was reduced by 1 hour for the dimethicone group, whereas crying in the chiropractic group was reduced by 2.7 hours. That’s a 270% improvement over the standard medical treatment.
Natural Treatments for Colic
Along with the gentle and safe pediatric chiropractic techniques for the newborn (we use an extremely soft touch to regain normal spinal motion). Reducing the mother’s intake of wheat, dairy and soy can help as well as taking probiotics to increase the level of good bacteria in both the mother and baby. One holding technique that really works well is the football hold. In time (usually by 6 months at the most), your baby will be less fussy and much more content. However, to ease the stress and strain of colic for both you and your baby, there are natural options such as chiropractic care. So you both can enjoy the precious first few months of life.
Chiropractic care doesn’t treat allergies. So, why do so many people with allergies mention that they get relief by receiving care in our office?
There are many signs of an allergic reaction; itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or a skin rash. More serious reactions can include constricted air passageways, vomiting and even death. All this from a handful of peanuts, an encounter with a cat or microscopic grains of pollen in the air!
If these substances produced allergies in everyone, we could fix the blame squarely on the nut, dander, shellfish or pollen. But not everyone reacts the same way. So, it’s not the allergen!
What is it?
Your nervous system is the master system that coordinates your immune system, endocrine system, respiratory system and every other system that reacts inappropriately to an allergen. Normally, these systems help you respond and adapt to your environment. But suffering from uncontrollable sneezing around a house cat is an inappropriate reaction.
If your nervous system isn’t working correctly, you don’t work right. So, rather than direct our attention to the countless allergens in our environment, we locate and reduce the disturbances we find to your nervous system.
The Bucket Analogy
Each of us was born with the capacity to withstand or adapt to stress. If we’re unable to deal with things we eat, breathe or come into contact with it may be because our margin to adapt is used up.
Think of your body’s ability to adapt as a bucket. The physical, emotional and chemical stresses of life are water filling your bucket. Every stressful encounter your body faces fills your bucket higher. If your bucket is already full and you encounter pollen, foods or other chemicals, your bucket overflows.
When that happens, people say they’re having an allergic reaction. But what they’re really saying is, “I’ve lost my ability to adapt. My filling capacity is used up.”
So, we don’t treat allergies. We look for ways to restore your ability to adapt to allergens by locating and reducing disturbances to your nervous system.
Chiropractic is not a treatment for asthma. However, many who suffer from asthma report improvement by receiving chiropractic care.
Considerable research documents the link between the spinal column, the nervous system and the respiratory system. This is why so many people have mentioned improved breathing by consulting our office.
Asthma cases seem to be rising at an alarming rate. Some think it’s due to a combination of factors, especially the increase of chemicals in our environment. These days, airtight, super-insulated homes can trap chemicals, molds, formaldehyde and other irritants. Even the increasing use of vaccinations, Cesarean births, antibiotics and our fascination with germ killing have been cited.
If these factors were the only issue, why wouldn’t all children living in the same house and breathing the same air, suffer equally?
Your diaphragm is the primary muscle used for breathing. Nerves that control each breath leave your brain and exit the spinal cord in the mid-neck (C3, C4 and C5) area. Spinal problems in this area can have a profound effect on the nerve supply to the diaphragm.
Reducing subluxations in the spine can help restore proper nervous system control of the lungs and improved function can begin.
In fact, research published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented the results experienced by 81 children with asthma who received chiropractic care. The two-month study revealed that those under care saw a 45% decrease in the number of “attacks” and that 31% of the subjects voluntarily chose to decrease their medication.
All this from improved nervous system control of the lungs!
Chiropractic doesn’t “treat” Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
However, since ADHD appears as a neurological disorder and chiropractic care helps reduce nervous system disturbances; many parents who want a natural, non-drug solution for their child have found chiropractic care beneficial.
The classic signs that parents and teachers notice:
- Easily distracted by noises and activities
- Inattention, hyperactivity and being easily distracted
- Always moving—fingers, hands, arms, feet or legs
- Difficulty concentrating and sitting still
- Inability to control impulsive thoughts and behaviors
Begin by making nutritional and lifestyle changes. Rule out environmental factors by reducing your child’s exposure to substances that are increasingly common these days:
- Eliminate all sugars and artificial sweeteners.
- Remove food dyes, preservatives and additives from the diet.
- Reduce the use of cleaning agents, detergents, fabric softeners and other chemicals.
- Focus on natural, organic foods grown without pesticides or herbicides.
- Determine if an allergy involved such as dairy or gluten and eliminate.
These are wise choices whether your child has the symptoms associated with ADHD or not!
The medical approach to controlling symptoms of ADHD is to administer regular doses of methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin®.
Ritalin® is a schedule II controlled substance related to, and producing similar effects as, amphetamines and cocaine. The side effects, including personality changes and permanent changes to the brain, cause many parents to wisely look for alternatives. More and more are wisely turning to chiropractic for help.
Pediatric Chiropractic Treatment
Hyperactivity isn’t the result of a Ritalin® shortage! Instead, we look for disturbances to the child’s nervous system. We almost always see problems caused by spinal distortions in the upper neck.
In fact, this link between the spine, brain stem dysfunction and ADHD is common. A thorough chiropractic examination can reveal noticeable spinal distortion, even a reversal of the normal neck curve. With a schedule of safe and natural chiropractic adjustments, these often resolve, reducing nervous system tension.
Bedwetting takes a tremendous toll on children. It causes embarrassment, fear of sleepovers, and plastic mattress covers. It causes children to be unable to fit in and even wear diapers.
Up to the age of four or five, most children have poor bladder control at night. But after that, the inability to stay dry at night is a sign of an underlying problem. While chiropractic is not a treatment for bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), countless children have benefited with safe and natural chiropractic care.
Two key muscles control the emptying of the bladder. Their technical names are the detrusor and trigone muscles. Nerves that exit the spinal column in the lower back and sacrum control these muscles.
During the early years of life, the sacrum has five separate segments. Later, they fuse together to form the triangular-shaped bone that adults have at the base of the spine. If these segments misalign (falling, learning to walk, ride a bike, etc.) they can compromise nerves that are responsible for bladder function.
We look for these sometimes subtle misalignments during our examination. When these misalignments are reduced with safe and natural chiropractic adjustments, nervous system control and regulation of the bladder can be restored.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics document many studies showing the positive benefits of chiropractic care and bedwetting.
- A study of 46 children received chiropractic care for a 10-week period. A quarter of those receiving chiropractic care had 50% or more reduction in the wet night frequency, while none among the control group saw a reduction. (JMPT 1994 (Nov-Dec);17 (9): 596-600 )
- Children with a history of persistent bed-wetting received eight chiropractic adjustments. Number of wet nights fell from seven per week to four. (JMPT 1991 (Feb);14 (2): 110-115)
- The lumbar spine of an eight-year-old male bed wetter was adjusted once and at a one-month follow-up. There was a complete resolution of enuresis. “This happened in a manner that could not be attributed to time or placebo effect.” (JMPT 1994 (Jun);17 (5): 335-338)
Can Chiropractic Care Help?
Since chiropractic isn’t a treatment for bedwetting, a thorough examination is necessary. If the bedwetting is caused by nerve interference from the spine, many children see great results with chiropractic care. Find out!
We approach these cases with sensitivity and compassion. Your son or daughter will appreciate and understand our explanations.
Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. It begins as a postural distortion and can become a permanent deformity. Allowed to advance, it can interfere with the lungs, heart and many other vital organs. Even if it doesn’t progress to this severity it sets the child up for chronic neck or back pain as they get older; because their spines have always have added stress and decreased motion due to the curves.
- Idiopathic: unknown cause
- Congenital: genetic predisposition
- Habitual: behavioral routines
Regardless of cause, early detection is essential.
An alert parent may notice that a high shoulder or low hip make clothing fit poorly. Or uneven shoe wear offers a clue. Back and leg pains may develop but are often dismissed as growing pains.
Medical treatment involves unsightly bracing or surgery that attaches steel rods, forcing the spine to straighten.
Pediatric chiropractic care is a more natural solution. Schedules of specific chiropractic adjustments help improve the function and structure of the spine. As muscles are retrained and strengthened, posture can improve. Over the course of several months or longer, the spine can straighten up.
We’ve helped a lot of young people with scoliosis. Bring your child in so we can discuss your concerns and explore the possibilities.
To visit the doctor when you’re feeling great is something new. Yet, a growing number of people who want to be and do their best are visiting chiropractors on a regular basis.
Remember staying home from school when we were sick and returning when we were feeling better? We learned to think of being sick as having obvious symptoms. This belief is now killing us. These days, most of us die from lifestyle-induced diseases whose first symptom is… death!
Symptoms can be GOOD
The reverse is true as well. If you eat improperly prepared food and find yourself vomiting to expel it, you probably won’t feel good, but you’re having a healthy response.
Turns out that true health is how well our bodies work, not how we feel.
Proper Communication is Essential to Be Well
Our overall wellness has very little to do with how we feel and more to with how we are functioning. The ability for us to function at an optimal level and thus be well is dependent on our nervous systems detecting and making appropriate responses to our environment. That’s why so many seek our office for wellness care. They want to be certain their bodies are able to respond appropriately to their environment. It just makes sense to detect little problems before they become serious problems.
True health is optimum physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Drinking more water, eating nutritious foods, regular exercise and virtually every other healthy habit produces even bigger dividends when you have a properly working nervous system.
Although everyone wants to feel good, your care should not be based on whether you have pain or other symptoms. Subluxations may exist without obvious symptoms. Just like dental cavities, high blood pressure or heart disease.
We hope this information has been beneficial to you. If you have further
question about your child’s health or would like more information, please
call or email us about our pediatric chiropractic services.