As a chiropractor specialising in
paediatrics and pregnancy, I often get asked why children would need
Although many people associate a
visit to the chiropractor with the alleviation of back pain symptoms, true
chiropractic care encompasses something much greater. Understanding the
chiropractic philosophy and applying it to the life-cycle helps patients
understand why paediatric chiropractic care is especially important.
Chiropractic is founded on the
principle that the body is self-regulating and self-healing. Since every organ,
cell, and process in the body is governed by the nervous system, proper nerve
function is essential for normal body function, healing, and repair.
Chiropractic treatment is aimed at
removing nerve interference from many sources, and special attention is given
at the spinal level (hence, the reputation as “back doctors”).
So, while a chiropractor’s hands
may be on your spine, their intent is to allow your body to heal itself by
Nerve interference at the spine,
known in chiropractic as “subluxation,” may occur after physical injury,
nutritional imbalances, or emotional stress. While most people don’t think of
infants as having physical stress – they’re swaddled, kissed, and snuggled,
after all – it is important to note that the position in the womb and the birth
process itself can impact the alignment of the spine.
In a 1987 medical study of 1,000
children under one year of age, approximately 80 per cent had subluxation at
the first bone in the spine.
Signs that the spine may be out of
alignment in an infant include: difficulty with breast feeding, irritability,
sleeping problems, breathing disturbances, colic, and other digestive
As children grow, learning to
stand, walk, and taking tumbles may result in misalignment of the spine. Signs
of this can include: chronic ear infections, constipation, asthma, bed-wetting,
stuttering, and headaches, among others.
Chiropractors who are trained to
treat children use a much gentler adjusting technique, often with just the
weight of their fingers. Because children don’t have many of the other stresses
that cause subluxation, they often respond more quickly to care.
A 2009 Explore: Journal of Science
and Healing study looked at the safety of paediatric chiropractic. Out of 5,438
visits, only three visits resulted in adverse effects, which were limited to
minor discomfort, and were relieved with further care.
In addition, 90 per cent of parents
reported improvement with the condition their child was being treated for and
noted improvement in other areas while receiving chiropractic care, such as
better sleeping patterns, improved behaviour, and decreased incidence of
In addition to raising your
children in a safe, loving environment, with healthy food, plenty of physical
activity and stimulation, bringing your child to be checked by a chiropractor
gives them the advantage of a less inhibited nervous system.
With this comes the amplified
ability to self-regulate, and the expression of more vibrant health.
A good chiropractor will balance
your spine, and talk to you about limiting other physical, emotional or
chemical factors that detract from your natural state of wellbeing. While it’s
something you may not have considered before, it’s never too early or too late
to venture down this wellness path.
Bari Fenster is a chiropractor based in the Cayman Islands.