Patients that are newer to our office are often surprised that we recommend chiropractic care for their children. Why would children, especially young children, need chiropractic care when they don’t experience much in the way of pain symptoms?
In response, I would first say that sometimes children are experiencing pain symptoms (especially teenagers), but they may be low-grade symptoms that they just endure. Also, consider the fact that younger children may not be able to express what they are experiencing. Chiropractic can help relieve these symptoms. Secondly, I would say that the above question, innocently, assumes that chiropractic care is only appropriate when pain symptoms are present. This assumption is the result of a lack of understanding about how our spine and extremity joints function, how they accrue injuries day-to-day (even at a young age), and chiropractic’s role in pain management/prevention and remedying spine and extremity dysfunction.
The goal of chiropractic care is essentially to find and fix subluxations to improve the overall motion, and therefore function, of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system, especially as it relates to the spine. A subluxation is a joint with a lack of motion that may or may not be accompanied by pain. Pain is often the result of persistent subluxations. Subluxations also disrupt the nervous system. In a nutshell, our job as Chiropractors is to find joints that don’t move well and adjust them to make them move well. This results in improved biomechanics throughout the spine and extremities, but also improved nervous system function. Children, from birth through 18, accrue injury to their neuro-musculo-skeletal system that result in subluxations, and therefore dysfunctions, just like adults.
Next, let’s take a look at how children may accrue injury to their neuro-musculo-skeletal system.
Injuries to a child’s neuro-musculo-skeletal system come in two general forms: Macro-injuries and micro-injuries.
Macro-injuries result from events like…
Birth (especially difficult births where labor is longer, the doctor or midwife pulls on the head and/or neck to get the baby out, or where forceps or vacuum suction is used)
Slips and falls while learning to crawl and walk
Slips, falls, and collisions while playing sports or playing outside
Bike, sledding, trampoline, and car accidents
Micro-injuries result from things like…
Being cramped while in the womb (this often results in abnormal head shapes, which will likely have an effect on the upper neck, arguably the most important part of the human spine; this is largely due to a woman’s pelvis being misaligned, which is why we recommend that expecting mothers seek chiropractic care throughout the entirety of their pregnancy)
Postural abnormalities (ex. forward head posture from “tech or text neck,” which will eventually result in a loss of neck curve or reversal of neck curve, a rounded upper back, and forward shoulders)
Poor sleeping positions, especially stomach sleeping or improper pillow
Poor diet (high in sugar and other carbohydrates, high in processed foods, or a lack of fruits and vegetables and water)
Chemicals/toxins from food, water, and our environment
A lack of activity or a sedentary lifestyle
A lack of sleep
In 2015, a study was performed where researchers looked at 100 healthy newborn babies and evaluated the movement of their spines and skulls. It was found that 90% of these children had abnormal motion of their spines and skulls, especially the neck and low back, that would likely benefit from care by some sort of manual therapist, which certainly includes Chiropractors. This study also concluded that there was a correlation between the length of labor and the amount of skull and spinal dysfunction in the infant. The longer the labor, the more dysfunction that resulted in the baby’s skull and spine.
It’s obvious, then, that every child is going to accrue injury to their neuro-musculo-skeletal system, and therefore develop subluxations, possibly even before they exit the womb. This will cause neuro-musculo-skeletal dysfunctions. If left unaddressed, these injuries that accumulate over time begin to snowball, producing greater and greater dysfunction until pain symptoms result, whether that be weeks, months, years, or decades later.
Based on the information shared above, the Ollis Chiropractic team recommends that your child undergo a thorough evaluation by a Chiropractor, whether your child is experiencing pain or not. Maintenance chiropractic care is important for everyone’s spine, but especially growing children. This is how we care for our own children! If your child is in need of consistent, quality chiropractic care, we would love to help. Email the Ollis Chiropractic team at [email protected] or give us a call at 502-412-8580 to set up a new patient visit for your child. We look forward to hearing from you!
Below are animated videos from a reputable chiropractic research team that you may find informative:
Safety of Chiropractic care for Children and Babies
A Baby to a Chiropractor
Chiropractic and Pregnancy
Chiropractic and Breastfeeding
Chiropractic and Colic
Chiropractic and Enuresis (Bedwetting)