We know how chiropractic care can benefit our everyday lives, injury recovery, and pain management as adults. But do children need it, and how can it benefit them?
At Petett Chiropractic, we ensure that our patients are well educated on the fact that the 24 mobile spinal bones, or the vertebrae, protect an important part of the central nervous system (CNS)—the spinal cord. The spinal cord acts as an information highway between the brain and the body. When the vertebrae lose a healthy position and range of motion because of injuries, aging, and everyday activities, its job of protecting the nervous system is compromised.
Any spinal malfunction or loss of agility affects everything from pain levels to balance and resistance to disease, so monitoring and care of the spinal bones is critical. We work with the goal of improving health by adjusting the spine and using other natural means to stimulate the body’s innate recuperative power by way of the nervous system.
Chiropractic Needs in Babies & Young Children
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ most recent practice analysis, issued in 2010, found that about 17 percent of chiropractic patients were under age 18—approximately 7.7 percent aged five years or younger and some 9.4 percent between ages six and 17. You may be wondering: why would young children need chiropractic care?
Babies can experience health issues that may trace back even to their days in utero, where their fetal positions may have caused shortened tissues during growth that can lead to directional preferences and imbalances. Infants and young children can also often suffer from colic (intestinal pain, usually caused by gas, and presenting as frequent, prolonged or intense crying); sleep issues; chronic ear infections; and nursing dysfunction. By keeping the central nervous system better protected, chiropractic care offers a way to improve these conditions.
Chronic ear infections in infancy and childhood can be caused by fluid buildup that leads to bacteria and virus development; while antibiotics can kill the bacteria, the fluid buildup may be caused by spasming muscles surrounding the Eustachian tube, causing it narrow or close. Chiropractic care may be able to improve this condition by working with central nervous system to relax those muscles, allowing the tube to open.
Nursing dysfunction can actually be a communication problem between the brain and the elements of the suck-swallow reflex; chiropractic care can provide a way to remove any irritants that are blocking communication pathways in the CNS and get the joints moving again.
Colic in babies and sleep issues in both infancy and childhood can also be eased by the correction of any misalignment that can cause gas buildup in the intestines (colic) and interruptions of sleep patterns in the CNS communication pathways.
Safety in Pediatric Chiropractic and Treating Teenagers
When it comes to concerns about working with young joints that still are not fully formed and are partially cartilage, the adjustments are gentler, but quicker. Working with as much education as possible is critical for the practitioner to know the proper techniques, amount of force, and depth of motion to best treat that level of joint flexibility.
However, while older children (early to late teens) may still fall under pediatric care, their joints may vary in flexibility, and they commonly have more adult concerns and musculoskeletal complaints, likely from injuries, posture, strain or overuse. Again, as much education and experience possible will guide the chiropractor to be able to judge the level of joint flexibility and decide the gentleness or force that is needed for each adjustment.
Schedule an Appointment with Petett Chiropractic
At Petett Chiropractic, we know that every patient’s body is different and responds to treatment in its own way, and we take every part of the patient’s condition into account before treatment. If your child is suffering from an ongoing condition, an injury, or a malfunction, schedule a consultation with our Renton chiropractors to explore a safe alternative treatment to assist their healing.