Chiropractic Care for Children
Oct 01, 2013 05:47PM
● By April Lee, DC
Just like adults, children have bones, joints, nerves, and muscles that require care. Babies experience several physical milestones during their first year of life that place an increased demand on the neuromusculoskeletal system that increase the likelihood of injury and need for chiropractic adjustments.
The journey down the birth canal is demanding on an infant’s body, but the combined stress of pulling, twisting and extending the neck of the child during the birthing process puts the spine at risk. Add the extra stress of a difficult or assisted birth (forceps or vacuum extractions), and it is not surprising that one of the most common injuries resulting from childbirth is the cervical subluxation, in which one of the vertebrae in the neck becomes misaligned.
The first sign that there may be a problem with a baby is that the head is always turned to one side. More subtle signs include always breastfeeding on one side or a reluctance to turn the head to one side. The importance of proper spinal alignment is realized when we learn how the body is put together. Every nerve that exits the spine is in control of every part of the body. Therefore, subluxations (misalignment) may cause problems like asthma, colic or ear infections. That is why it is so important to have a newborn checked in order to give him or her the best chance to develop as properly and healthy as possible.
Another stage of an infant’s development that is particularly challenging is crawling, which initiates the development of curves in our spine. Crawling also helps with the coordination of opposite arm-leg movements required for good posture and proper brain communication with the body. That’s why it’s so important not to push walking too fast. The foundation for proper posture when standing and sitting begins with crawling. Any restrictions or imbalances of the spine could lead to an abnormal curvature formation such as scoliosis. Chiropractic adjustments are crucial at this stage to ensure spinal curves form correctly.
Learning to walk is another important milestone in a child’s musculoskeletal growth, because weight-bearing activity stimulates bone growth. Standing is key in the development of bone strength. When learning to walk, children fall down hundreds of times or hit their heads on corners or tables, which may misalign bones in their spine. If we want our children to grow up with a strong, balanced spine, a trip to the chiropractor is a necessity.
As children begin to get older, they become involved with sports and athletic activity that may cause injury or spinal misalignments. This is another great time to have a child’s spine examined by a chiropractor in order to maximize healing and recovery. Proper spinal alignment is critical in order to have an optimally functioning nervous system and healthy life.
April Lee is a doctor of chiropractic medicine at Bluewater Chiropractic, 4400 Hwy 20 E, Niceville. For more information, call 850-897-1177 or visit BluewaterChiropractic.com.