From the moment we are born our body goes through a tremendous amount of physical changes and challenges all the way through adulthood. That is why It is so important for children to be under regular chiropractic care. Our spine encases the most critical structure of life, your nervous system. Any distortions, subluxations, misalignments, postural changes, or traumas that affect the spine can absolutely affect the function of the nervous system.
Preventative chiropractic care helps to ensure proper physical and neurological development throughout your child’s entire life. Misalignments can occur easily, happening as early as the birthing process, and affect the body’s essential systemic operations. Nervous system dysfunction can make kids susceptible to many challenges such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies, digestive problems, and a whole host of other developmental delays.
17% of chiropractic patients are younger than the age of 18 years old. We see children many times right after they’re born because the birthing process can be quite traumatic for a baby. Chiropractic is an excellent natural non-invasive remedy for many developmental issues and childhood illnesses and injuries. Young bodies can repair themselves faster than older ones and ongoing chronic conditions that progress into adulthood can lead to problems, dysfunction, or degeneration later on in life.
How We Treat Kids at Each Stage of Their Development
We start to see children from newborns to their first several years of life. This is a period of so much physical change and we want to ensure they are developing properly. So much happens during the birthing process. It can be very traumatic coming down the birth canal, and even being born via C-section. Some babies can experience 70 pounds of pressure on their neck, spines, and heads during birth. This can shift spinal bones out of alignment or put abnormal stress on the musculature. When vertebrae shift out of alignment, we call them subluxations. This puts pressure and interference on the nervous system and can affect the way a baby’s body functions throughout their early lives.
The first adjustment for a child is extremely gentle. Chiropractic care has played a role in successfully treating breastfeeding latching issues, underdeveloped digestive systems, acid reflux, ear infections, colic, etc. The earlier these issues are identified, the easier they’re going to be corrected.
Learning to walk means falling a lot – falling down steps, falling off beds, falling on the playground, just falling from shaky legs. These falls can cause subluxations and affect the development of your baby or the body of your toddler. Kinney Chiropractic works to correct subluxations and optimize normal nerve function so your baby’s body bounces back quickly from injury.
During speech development and social development, the nervous system needs to be functioning at its best as it works to process new information and visual clues. Children are also more susceptible to illness as their immune system develops. Children come across all sorts of viruses and bacteria in preschool and early school ages from being around other kids. A healthy nervous system will help create a robust immune system.
Growth takes on a new timeline during the pubescent years. In teenagers, we start to see musculoskeletal disorders like scoliosis, and sports injuries are more common as kids take up sports, dance, cheer, martial arts, and other activities.
When kids start to get cell phones we see the rapid advancement of tech neck and other postural problems as kids spend hours a day staring down at their devices. This posture puts a lot more stress on the neck and can give rise to neck problems and headaches. Headaches may be common as kids get older, but they are not normal.
Chiropractic care also has tremendous mental and emotional benefits. Chiropractic adjustments are proven to reduce stress, relieve insomnia, and improve mood and cognition.
Whether it’s headaches, concussions, sports injuries, anxiety, or one of the many other things that affect teenagers, it’s so important to get those addressed sooner rather than later.
Common Childhood Conditions We Treat
Torticollis is an abnormal tightness of the muscles in the neck causing the head to be tilted down or to one side. Torticollis can sometimes happen during birth due to the abnormal torque on the neck and stress on the muscles in the neck or head. A baby with torticollis may have difficulty latching during breastfeeding. Chiropractic care is a great treatment for torticollis. Adjustments to the cervical spine and gently working the soft tissue can help reduce muscle tension and stress associated with torticollis and maximize nerve function and alignment in the neck.
There is a difference between good old-fashioned spitting up and reflux, where almost the entire stomach is regurgitated after a meal, but reflux is more prevalent in children than ever before. Reflux is where the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus does not want to close and allows milk to be expelled backward out of the esophagus and vomited up. With gentle pressure and chiropractic adjustments, we can maximize the nerve supply to help ensure the sphincter stays closed and the baby’s whole digestive system is working properly.
Colic – gas, pain, or bloating in the lower bowel – affects one in six newborns. It can leave babies inconsolable, crying, fussing, and unable to get comfortable. It’s heartbreaking to watch as many parents are told to just wait it out. When parents start to see signs of colic, we work immediately to correct subluxations in the lower back and pelvis to relieve stress and allow for normal bowel and digestive function. Babies are once again able to expel gas and finally find comfort. We work with patients on baby massage and other techniques they can use at home to help relieve colic discomfort in between adjustments.
Up to 20% of children suffer from constipation, where they feel like they have to go to the bathroom but they can’t. Doctors often prescribe suppositories or laxatives which are not the answer. Chiropractic care identifies areas of subluxation in the lower bowel and helps to normalize nerve supply to improve digestive function naturally, without drugs or surgery. Many times the relief is instant.
Issues Crawling, Standing, or Other Movements
It is so important for children to have a strong spine to assist them as they crawl, walk, stand, and learn how to control their bodies. Tummy time gives babies a chance to develop the neck and upper body strength to push themselves up and is responsible for motor skill development, increased muscle strength, and brain growth. Crawling is a healthy sign of proper physical and neurological development. Chiropractors focus on musculoskeletal issues and optimizing healthy nerve supply that makes these important physical advancements possible.
As kids get older we start to become more concerned about scoliosis. When we look at the spine to the side, we should see three normal curves. When we look at a spine from the front, the spine should be nice and straight. Any lateral curve to the spine when we look from the front or the back is a sign of scoliosis.
Scoliosis is more common in girls and it starts to develop right before their menstrual cycle and throughout all of their teenage years. Identifying scoliosis early is critical to stop its progression into a more serious problem. Chiropractic doesn’t cure scoliosis, but it works with the musculature and the spine to restore normal motion and movement to the spine. We provide patients with scoliosis exercises and stretches, we work with their soft tissue, and we use adjustments to help optimize nerve supply and muscle function to reduce changes to the spine’s curvature. Using X-rays we can assess the scale of scoliosis and keep an eye on its progression, referring out to an orthopedist if the case is particularly aggressive.
80% of children get an ear infection before they’re three years old. An ear infection is when there’s infection or inflammation in the Eustachian tube of the inner ear canal. Some of the signs that your baby might be starting to have an ear infection are pulling on the ears, fussiness or irritability, or a low-grade fever. It’s important to make sure to have these signs evaluated and addressed so that you don’t have to put your child on antibiotics.
Healthy nerve supply allows the nerves that attach to the muscles around the Eustachian tubes to contract, pulling the inner ear down so there’s normal drainage. A sinus issue, congestion, a cold, or an early infection shouldn’t prevent the ears from draining in this situation. Subluxation in the upper cervical spine can affect nerve supply to the muscles that attach to the inner ear. When these muscles don’t contract like they’re supposed to, they relax and the inner ear tube goes horizontal, creating an accumulation of fluid and congestion giving rise to an infection. Correcting that subluxation can restore proper drainage and reduce the frequency and severity of ear infections.
At Kinney Chiropractic, we see lots of sports injuries. A child’s skeletal system is developing until they’re 25 years old. Whether it’s hockey, football, dance, cheer, gymnastics, soccer, or baseball, sports put a significant amount of stress and trauma into a developing body. Chiropractic plays an important role in injury recovery and prevention by keeping the nervous system and the spine strong and healthy.
Is chiropractic safe for a child?
Yes! However, not all chiropractors are comfortable adjusting infants and children, so it’s important to find the right pediatric chiropractor for your family.
At what age can a child start seeing a chiropractor?
At Kinney Chiropractic, we start seeing children a day or two after they’re born. The birthing process can be traumatic for a baby and we want to make sure their nervous system and immune system are strong and healthy to give them the best chance for proper growth and development.
How does chiropractic help with colic?
Adjustments to the middle and lower lumbar spine help to normalize the function of the nerves exiting from the spine. These nerves are responsible for servicing the digestive system. A misalignment in the spine can interfere with nerve function and create issues throughout the GI system.
What are the signs that my child should see a chiropractor?
If your child has suffered a major fall or an accident, hitting their head or their body, they may need to see a chiropractor. If you notice certain postural distortions, one shoulder higher than the other or the head tilted dramatically in one direction or abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, you need to get them to a chiropractor ASAP. Musculoskeletal pain, neck pain, back pain, and chronic headaches are all conditions where a chiropractor can be immensely helpful.
Should I see a chiropractor for ear infections before putting tubes in their ears?
Absolutely! Putting tubes in your baby’s ears should be the last resort. Chiropractors are excellent at helping normalize the nerve supply coming from the spine to the inner ear canals which will allow for the reduction of ear infections.