CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR CHILDREN
Chiropractic care is beneficial for all age groups, ranging from newborns to geriatric patients.
Many parents choose to access chiropractic care for their child for many health complaints including musculoskeletal conditions. How does a baby or child injure their spine or extremity and require chiropractic care? In babies this can be due to inutero constraint, birth trauma and early handling errors which can all contribute to structural alterations. (Tow and Vallone, 2009) As the child grows and develops, important milestones such as holding their head up, sitting, crawling, standing and walking are all affected by spinal alignment and excellent times to get your child checked by your Chiropractor. Once walking and running begins the child is more prone to physical traumas from falls, heavy school bags, sustained postures with iPad use etc.
As children grow they will often complain of heel and knee pain, commonly due to tendonitis problems. Some children present with back pain, others with torticollis and some suffer from headaches. (Hayden et al, 2003; Cox et al, 2016; Fysh; Plaugher and Alcantara, 1997; Hellsentius, 2009; Byun and Han, 2016) As the child ages and their study load increases, they will spend more time sitting at a desk in front of a computer and iPad and this may lead to compromised postures and biomechanical dysfunction. A Chiropractor is also very well qualified to assess your child for scoliosis, a spinal curvature that affects some children and is important to diagnose as early as possible and begin treatment.
There are low-level evidence case studies and surveys in the literature that do report on some improvement in breastfeeding attachment difficulties and decreased crying in babies with colic. Current evidence-based practice healthcare suggests the management of the child should be based on the best available evidence, the Chiropractor’s clinical experience and the patient’s preferences. (Hawk et al, 2016; Alcantara, 2011) Therefore it is reasonable for the Chiropractor to begin a treatment plan with babies suffering such conditions and reassess their symptoms and examination findings after a trial of care.
A Chiropractor is well trained and educated to thoroughly assess the infant and child for biomechanical dysfunction, neurologic integrity, reflex integration and development, muscle tone and asymmetry and symmetry. (Tow and Vallone, 2009)
Some of the conditions that present to a Chiropractor may need to be co-managed with other health professionals and your Chiropractor will refer your child to the appropriate provider when necessary.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE FIRST VISIT?
A thorough clinical history is taken on the initial visit and from there appropriate examinations are performed. Your chiropractor will assess the child for neurologic integrity, neurodevelopment, postural alignment, reflex development and integration, biomechanical function in the spine and the extremities.
Chiropractic adjustments to children are adapted to the size and physiological development of the child. Specific gentle adjustments are made and compared to adults the amount of force used is greatly reduced. (Todd et al, 2016)
You may also be given home-based exercises to perform with your child.
All the Chiropractors at Banyan Chiropractic Centre are experienced and available to see your child. Dr Karen Forsyth has recently completed a University-based Masters of Chiropractic Science (Paediatrics, with Distinction) through McTimonney College in the UK. This is currently the only University accredited Masters program and is a 3-year post-graduate degree.
Alcantara, J. (2011) The Chiropractic Care of Children: An Open Response to Chiropractic & Manual Therapy’s Thematic Series on Pediatric Chiropractic. J. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health.
Byun, S and Han, D. (2016). The effect of Chiropractic Techniques on the Cobb angle in idiopathic scoliosis arising in adolescence. The Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 28:1106-1110
Cox, J. Davidian, C and Mior, S. (2016). Neck pain in Children: A Retrospective Case Series. J Can Chiropr Assoc 60(3): 212-219
Fysh, P. Spinal Problems in Young Children, Part II: 3-10 years. Dynamic Chiropractic
Fysh, P. Spinal Problems in Children Part III: Adolescents. Dynamic Chiropractic
Hawk, C. Schneider, M. Vallone, S and Hewitt, E. (2016). Best Practices for Chiropractic Care of Children: A Consensus Update. J. Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 39(3): 158-167
Hayden, J. Mior, S and Verhoef, M. (2003). Evaluation of Chiropractic Management of Pediatric Patients with Low Back Pain: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 26(1): 1-8
Hellstenius, S. Recurrent Neck Pain and Headaches in Preadolescents Associated with Mechanical Dysfunction of the Cervical Spine: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study With 131 Students. J Manipul Physiol Ther. Oct: 625-634
Plaugher, G and Alcantara, J. (1997). Adjusting the Pediatric Spine. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic. 4(4):59-69
Todd, A. Carroll, M and Mitchell, E. (2016) Forces of Commonly Used Chiropractic Techniques for Children: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 39(6)
Tow, J and Vallone, S. (2009) Development of an Integrative Relationship in the Care of the Breastfeeding Newborn: Lactation Consultant and Chiropractor. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. 10(1)