Chiropractic is based on the important relationship between the spine and the nervous system. A fundamental idea in Chiropractic is that dysfunction in the spinal joints can lead to dysfunction within the nervous system and as the nervous system controls everything in the body, spinal dysfunction can have a wide range of effects on the overall health of the body. As Chiropractors we aim to evaluate the spine and adjust the areas of spinal dysfunction.
As children grow they encounter many stresses. These can be physical (falls and bumps), chemical (food additives, pollutants, toxins) and emotional (tantrums, first day of school). Stress can cause resulting problems in the child’s spine which may lead to interference within the nervous system.
The earliest stress a child will encounter is their position in utero. Positions that can cause problems with labour such as breech, transverse and posterior can cause the baby’s spine to get all jammed up and may cause what we as Chiropractors call subluxations (areas of dysfunction within the spine). Even a perfect position in utero can have an effect on your baby’s spine. This is why many parents choose to have their newborn checked shortly after birth.
As a child grows it passes through developmental milestones such as learning to hold up their head, sitting upright, crawling and walking. These exciting times in a child’s life can also be causes of stress to their spine and nervous system as when children are learning these acts there tends to be a few falls, twists and bumps along the way. Then as the child grows older and starts going to school there are new stressors in their life such as screens, sitting for longer periods and potentially bad posture. All of these things have the ability to cause spinal dysfunction and therefore interfere with the nervous system.
Spinal dysfunction and nervous system interference can cause many different signs and symptoms in the body and many parents around the world bring their children to a paediatric Chiropractor when they need help with:
- Poor posture or slouching
- Poor coordination
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee and hip pain
- Flat feet and knocked knees
- Flat head (plagiocephaly)
- Poor sleep due to pain
- Slow to reach developmental milestones
- Sports injuries
What does Chiropractic for children involve?
At Hawker Chiropractic in Canberra we tailor our treatment to each child depending on their age and presentation. It is important to note that paediatric Chiropractic care is vastly different from that of adults. Spinal adjustments for babies and young children are very light and the amount of force applied is the same amount with which you would apply to your eyeball. This is sufficient enough for babies and children due to the cartilaginous and pliable nature of their spine. We offer specific, gentle adjustments that are appropriate for the child’s spine and cranium. We also make sure we talk the parents through every step so that they fully understand what is happening.
Is it safe?
A study published in 2009 titled The Safety and Effectiveness of Paediatric Chiropractic revealed only three adverse effects from 5,438 visits in the treatment of 577 children. These treatments varied across musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions. “Treatment-associated complications were not indicated by the chiropractic and parent responders[i].”
Other literature reviews also indicate similar low numbers of adverse effects[ii].
“Your child’s health is their greatest asset and yes while more research into the benefits of chiropractic for babies and children is needed, chiropractic for little people has been shown to be gentle, safe and effective.”
[i] Alcantara, J, 2009, “The Safety and Effectiveness of Paediatric Chiropractic: a Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice Based Research Network
[ii] Todd, A, Carroll, M, Robinson, A and Mitchell, E (2014), “Adverse Events Due to Chiropractic and Other Manual Therapies for Infants and Children: A Review of the Literature,” J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2014 Oct 30. pii: S0161-4754(14)00178-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.09.008