Just like in adults, children have a spinal column through which their central nervous system travels. But, even more so than adults, early life events can have a significant effect on your child’s spine and central nervous system, which can then lead to a general “dis-ease.” I hyphenate the word as “dis-ease” here simply to interrupt the natural inclination of people to equate the word “disease” with only those widely-touted scourges of society, such as heart disease, diabetes, etc.
One reliable source defines the word “disease” as follows (emphasis is mine):
“…a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.”
The emphasized words in that definition clearly indicate that any imbalance in the structure (e.g., spine) and system (e.g., central nervous system) is a valid source of disease. Chiropractors check the spine for what we call subluxations. Subluxations occur when there is a misalignment and fixation within the spine causing imbalance in the central nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments work to correct any such subluxations, re-opening nerve pathways which facilitate improvement in rest, relaxation, digestion, and immune function. This, in turn, leads to restoration of growth, healing, and development.
Early Childhood and Toddler
Pre-natal positioning of a fetus can cause significant trauma to their spine as it’s developing in utero. Issues such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, breastfeeding difficulties, restricted ability to move the head, or a visible misalignment of the shoulders may result from this trauma. The physical strain of birth and early life milestones such as holding the head up, sitting, crawling, and walking, are important events at which time a child should be checked by a qualified chiropractor for subluxation causing imbalances.
Preschool and Middle Childhood
As children grow, they explore in many ways, most of them physically. Rough and tumble play, falls, running into things, and simply the very natural act of growing can all cause spinal misalignment. Childhood maladies such as the inevitable colds, cold-like symptoms, and ear infections and ear aches may be signs of an imbalance in nerve pathways, which won’t let their body’s immune system function properly. Chiropractic adjustments can also mitigate, and in some cases significantly reduce, medically-diagnosed attention deficit disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Early Adolescence to Adolescence
Especially as children move through their adolescent years, injury – physical trauma - becomes a more common reason for the spine to become misaligned. It is important to note that the injury may not immediately manifest itself symptomatically; for example, a child may not experience pain. It is important to watch for signs of an imbalance (subluxation) causing a blockage of normal function of the central nervous system. A spinal check-up by a chiropractor is a good idea following any injury, just to be safe.
How It's Done
As with each adult we see, your Family First Chiropractor will tailor the adjustment method to each child’s body and needs. Chiropractic adjustments for pediatric patients entail applying very minimal force, which ranges from light fingertip pressure to gentle setting of misaligned joints with the hands or table to low force correction using an instrument called an Activator. This minimal amount of pressure is all that’s needed to correct any misalignment and restore range of motion to affected spinal joints in children.
Many Benefits from Pediatric Chiropractic
In closing, here is a short checklist of life events your child experiences which can benefit from chiropractic care:
Milestones in infant development, including beginning to hold their head up, sitting up, crawling, and walking