As parents, we take an active role in ensuring our children are as healthy as possible. We feed them nutritious foods, look for safe toys, encourage physical activity and maintain a wellness schedule of checkups for their teeth, eyesight and hearing. One important area, sometimes overlooked, is the health of children’s spines.
If you’re considering a chiropractor for your infant, child or teen, we encourage you to try Evolve Wellness Centre. Dr. Rahim and Dr. Horsting are both certified with the Academy of Chiropractic Family Practice, having completed the 200-hour Certification Program (CACCP) with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). The practices of both chiropractors include a large number of children of all ages.
Evolve’s chiropractors do a thorough history and tailored exam for kids (infants to adolescents) before making recommendations for care. We encourage parents and their kids to ask questions throughout this process.
And guess what? Kids make great patients! Adjusting a child is not a difficult procedure, and it uses significantly less force than what is required to adjust an adult. This is because children’s spines are more flexible, they don’t the longstanding joint restrictions of a grown up, their muscles are usually not as tense, and they are generally more relaxed.
Not only are they more straightforward to adjust, but in most cases, kids hold their adjustments for longer periods of time and their corrective plans are generally significantly shorter than that of an average adult. However, thanks to the active lives most kids experience, regular checkups with an Evolve Wellness chiropractor are often an important piece to many families’ wellness plans.
At Evolve Wellness Centre, the focus of our highly skilled chiropractors is find and correct any joint dysfunction to ensure that the neuromusculoskeletal systems of our young clients function optimally. Indeed, one of our favourite parts of chiropractic care is adjusting kids! The energy they bring into the office is endless and they can’t wait to get on the table for a safe, gentle and effective treatment.
The short answer: All ages!
The longer version: Children’s bodies are growing and their spines are also more flexible than those of adults. While this means small spinal problems can be corrected more easily in a child than in an adult, the immaturity of children’s spines also makes them susceptible to injury. This is why some parents opt to maintain wellness check-ups for their children to detect an injury that may have gone unnoticed and have it corrected.
The most common pediatric patient in a chiropractic office, however, are infants that present with difficulty feeding and sleeping. While instrument-assisted birthing procedures are considered a normal part of the birth process, use of forceps and vacuum extraction in a birth apply significant compression and traction forces to the head and neck, and are associated with challenges in effective breastfeeding and with irritable, difficult-to-console (i.e. colicky) infants.
The success of infants in feeding depends on a number of factors, one of which being their ability to position their head and move their jaw and tongue appropriately. Joint restrictions in the neck, upper back, and jaw that impair infants’ mobility and therefore affects the feeding process can cause stress for both the mother and infant. Not only do babies experience impairment in function just like adults, but they also experience musculoskeletal pain and have fewer methods through which to communicate their discomfort. Musculoskeletal pain has come to be understood as one contributor to an inconsolable, colicky infant. Working with a chiropractor for your infant can greatly reduce musculoskeletal pain and reduce stress for both you and your infant.
Toddlers and young children develop misalignments from minor traumas due to bruises, falls and injuries that occur while playing games. A visit to a chiropractor experienced in adjusting children, such as those at Evolve Wellness, can help to fix these types of issues, preventing compensation patterns from setting in that could lead to more significant injury down the road.
Older children and teenagers also benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatments for teens can help speed up recovery from sports-related injuries and help prevent similar injuries in the future. As with adults, many teens also experience neck and back pain due to time spent sitting in front of a computer or hunched over a cell phone. Chiropractic treatments for both kids and teens help to align the spine and prevent bad postural habits from becoming ingrained.
There are some signs which indicate your child might have a spinal misalignment. They include:
- Difficulty breastfeeding, whether it’s due to a poor latch or constrained neck movement
- Inconsolable crying as an infant (colic)
- Will only sleep in car seat or cries whey laying on back
- Head tilt to one side
- Restricted head or neck flexibility
- One shoulder higher than the other
- Hips uneven
It is not only physical stressors like improperly fitted or too-heavy backpacks, sports injuries, or car accidents that contribute to the existence of spinal joint dysfunction in children. Similar to adults, emotional stressors (homework performance, peer pressure, bullying), often manifest as physical tension, which can also contribute to joint restrictions, while chemical stressors(fast food, junk food, toxic cleaning chemicals) can lead to varying degrees of inflammation and influence function and pain throughout the body. While children naturally recover and adapt faster than adults, these kinds of stresses can impact the health of a child of any age.