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Why Chiropractic Care for Children?

pediatrics1Chiropractic care for children offers your family a solid foundation for wellness. Throughout pregnancy, birth, and childhood, the chiropractic lifestyle offers choices and benefits for your greater health and well-being. The following information will help you understand the importance of the chiropractic family wellness lifestyle.

Children's Chiropractic Safety Research:

The I.C.P.A. (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) has initiated a ground breaking study on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for children. The preliminary results are outstanding and show that chiropractic care is safe for children. Even more significant is that parents reported three unexpected improvements with their children's care:
  • Improved sleeping
  • Improved behavior and attitude
  • Improved immune system function

Why Should Children Have Chiropractic Care?

By Jeanne Ohm, D.C.

pediatrics2More and more parents are seeking chiropractic care for their children. Many spinal problems seen in adults began as early as birth. Even so called 'natural' birthing methods can stress an infant's spine and developing nervous system. The resulting irritation to the nervous system caused by spinal and cranial misalignments can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Infantile colic, breathing problems, nursing difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions and chronic infections can often be traced to nervous system stress.

Since significant spinal and cranial trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked right after birth. As the infant grows, learning to hold up the head, sitting, crawling and initial walking stages are all times in spinal development where injury may occur and therefore spinal alignment can be adversely affected. They are therefore important times to have a child checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

As the child begins to participate in regular childhood activities like skating or riding a bike and experiences traumas associated with these activities, small yet significant spinal misalignments (subluxations) may occur. If neglected, the injuries during this period of rapid growth may lead to more serious problems later in life. Subtle trauma throughout childhood will affect the future development of the spine leading to impaired nervous system function. Any interference to the vital nervous system will adversely affect the body's ability to function at its best.

One of the most common reason parents seek care for their child is trauma from an injury of some sort. These misalignments may or may not result in immediate pain or symptoms. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal injury from these traumas, make the correction early in life and help avoid many of the health complaints seen later in adults. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.

pediatrics3Another sought out reason for care is the resolution of a particular symptom or condition. Parents seek care for conditions such as colic, ear infections, asthma, allergies and headaches (to name a few) because they have heard from other parents that chiropractic care can help. It is important to understand that the doctor of chiropractic does not treat conditions or diseases. The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child's spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function.

The bones of the spine (the vertebral column) house and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain and carries information from the brain to the body parts and back to the brain again. Subluxations interfere with the nervous systems ability to transmit this vital information.

The nervous system controls and coordinates the functions of all the systems in the body:
  • circulatory
  • respiratory
  • digestive
  • hormonal
  • excretory
  • immune system
pediatrics4Any aspect of health may be impaired by nerve interference. The chiropractic adjustment restores nervous system function allowing the body the ability to express a greater state of health and well-being. The doctor of chiropractic will take a thorough case history and perform a chiropractic exam to determine if spinal subluxations exist. Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to fit a child's size, weight, and unique spinal condition. They are both gentle and specific to the child's developing spinal structures. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.

To enhance your child's ability to function in a improved state of health, we can help you. Once your family has experienced the many benefits of chiropractic care-please help us tell others!

What Can Chiropractic Do for Your Child?
Why do millions of parents bring their children to Doctors of Chiropractic every year? Is it only for highly dramatic health conditions? Is it only for when my child is hurting? Not at all!! Chiropractic's purpose is to remove interferences to the natural healing power running through the body. When that power is unleashed the healing that results may be profound.

pediatrics5Today we find more parents bringing their children to chiropractors for day-to-day health concerns we're all familiar with: colds, sore throats, ear infections, fever, colic, asthma, tonsillitis, allergies, bed-wetting, infections, pain, falls, stomach-aches, and the hundred and one little and big things children go through as they grow up.

Chiropractors Do Not Treat Disease

It's most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease. It's purpose is to reduce nerve system stress, a serious and often painless condition most children (and adults) have in their bodies. Nervous system stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, weakens internal organs and organ systems, lowers resistance, reduces healing potential, and sets the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds.

When a chiropractor frees the nervous system from spinal stress, the healing power of the body is unleashed: the immune system works more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your child's body functions more efficiently. Your child can then respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses he/she comes in contact with more efficiently.

So although children with diseases are often brought to the chiropractor, the chiropractor is not treating their diseases but is instead reducing nerve system stress, thus permitting their body's natural healing potential to function at its best.

What Exactly Is Nerve System Stress?

Nerve stress is caused by vertebral subluxations. Subluxations are misalignments or distortions of the spinal column, skull, hips, and related tissues (the structural system) that irritate, stretch, impinge or otherwise interfere with the proper function of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and peripheral nerves). Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body, any interference to it can have wide-ranging effects.

How Is Nervous System Stress Caused?

Nervous system stress can be caused by physical, chemical and/or emotional stress. Physical stress may start in the womb, with the baby lying in a distorted or twisted manner. Spinal nerve stress in newborns is common today. This may be caused by a traumatic or difficult birth which can introduce great stress to the infant's skull, spinal column and pelvis. Throughout childhood, the normal childhood traumas every child experiences can be a source of spinal and cranial trauma. Most of the time, the pain from the initial injury "goes away" however the damage incurred continues to affect the future function of the child's nervous system.

How Does the Chiropractor Correct Nerve System Stress?

This is accomplished first by analyzing the spinal column and related structures for balance and proper function. Where the spinal column is found to be functioning improperly, the Chiropractor performs precise corrective procedures called spinal adjustments.

Using his/her hands and/or specialized instruments to gently and specifically correct those abnormal areas, doctors of chiropractic assist the spine and cranium to regain their intended state of balance and the nervous system is freed from stress.

It's All About Function!

Today's parents are well informed and make their health care choices accordingly. They have become more concerned than ever about the adverse effects drugs have on their children. Parents are hesitant to merely mask symptoms with drugs and are justly worried about their numerous side effects. Parents are increasingly asking, when handed a prescription for a child's recurrent problem, "Is this really all I can do for my child? Isn't there a safer option? How can I restore health?"

Today's parents desire to achieve a state of true health-This is leading them to seek health care options which support their children's own natural ability to be healthy.

Chiropractic care is one such option. All children function better with 100% nerve function. All children deserve the right to express their fullest potential. Chiropractic care for children is safe, gentle and effective. It enhances the body's inborn potential for optimal health and wellness.

Copyright Dr. Jeanne Ohm. All Rights Reserved

The Safety of Pediatric Chiropractic

Joel Alcantara, DC, ICPA Research Director

A survey study examining the practice characteristics and pediatric care of chiropractors 1 in the Boston area estimated that approximately 420,000 pediatric chiropractic visits were made in the Boston metropolitan area alone for 1998. If extrapolated for the rest of the United States and Canada, the number of chiropractic visits to children in one year would be enormous numbering in several million visits. Given this high utilization rate of pediatric chiropractic services in the United States and Canada, statistics should indicate a great number of morbidity and mortality. On the contrary, there exists little evidence of harm to children from chiropractic.

When the Canadian Pediatric Society published their position statement on, "Chiropractic Care for Children: Controversies and Issues," 2 they addressed the issue of "The Safety of Chiropractic in Paediatrics," Only one case report of vertebrobasilar occlusion in a seven-year-old was cited. It occurred following gymnastics and repeated chiropractic manipulations of the cervical spine 3. They further readily admit that, "Reports of other paediatric complications are few."

In Perspective:
  • It's been estimated that the annual cost of medication-related problems in the United States is approximately $84.6 billion 4,5
  • The human impact of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (i.e., aspirin)-related gastrointestinal deaths have been estimated at rates higher than that found from deaths due to cervical cancer, asthma or malignant melanoma 6
  • Medication errors and adverse drug events are three times higher in children and substantially higher still for neonates 7.
  • The list could go on...
Chiropractic for Children is Here to Stay

Millions of children and their families will continue to experience the benefits of this safe and efficacious form of healthcare called chiropractic. Chiropractic researchers are looking into the salutary effects of chiropractic care in children with subluxations and concomitant conditions like ADHD, asthma, colic and others. When two forms of healthcare meet at the crossroads of patient care, there will be controversy.

As a researcher, all I ask is an honest and open dialog about the issues at hand so that all are informed. When a medical doctor questions the chiropractic care for children and not the growing use of stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs in children as young as 2-4 years of age 8, then their motives come into question. In future articles, I will discuss the efficacy and safety of Chiropractic care for children in topics from A-Z (i.e., from ADHD to the use of x-rays in chiropractic practice) based on the scientific literature for the benefit of the readers to be informed.

1. Lee AC, Li DH, Kemper KJ. Chiropractic care for children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2000;154:401-407.
2. Canadian Chiropractic Association - www.cps.ca/english/index.htm
3. Hondras MA, Linde K, Jones AP. Manual therapy for asthma (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2001;1:CD001002.
4. Johnson JA, Bootman JL. Drug-related morbidity and mortality. A cost-of-illness model. Arch Intern Med 1995;155:1949-1956.
5. Bates DW, Spell N, Cullen DJ, Burdick E, Laird N, Petersen LA, Small SD, Sweitzer BJ, Leape LL. The costs of adverse drug events in hospitalized patients. Adverse Drug Events Prevention Study Group. JAMA 1997;277:307-311.
6. Singh G.Gastrointestinal complications of prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: a view from the ARAMIS database. Arthritis, Rheumatism, and Aging Medical Information System.Am J Ther. 2000;7:115-121.
7. Kaushal R, Bates DW, Landrigan C, McKenna KJ, Clapp MD, Federico F, Goldmann DA. Medication errors and adverse drug events in pediatric inpatients. JAMA 2001;285:2114-2120.
8. Zito JM, Safer DJ, DosReis S, Gardner JF, Boles M, Lynch F. Trends in the prescribing of psychotropic medications to preschoolers. JAMA 2000;23:1025-1030.

Information Obtained From the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA)