Introduction to Chiropractic Pediatrics
Children & Chiropractic
Chiropractic Pediatrics simply means the care of infants and children by a Doctor of Chiropractic. As a matter of fact, the care of children by chiropractors, dates as far back as the profession itself. Since the discovery of chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in the year 1895, doctors of chiropractic have been caring for children.
During the past 125 years, chiropractic has proven to be an extremely safe way for children to become and stay healthy. Chiropractic adjustments can be so gentle for kids, that sleeping infants/children don’t even awaken while being adjusted. Kids love to get adjusted.
Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states to care for children, and this licensure also exists in many foreign jurisdictions.
Chiropractic care is based upon the normal communication between both the brain and the body. Because the brain and nerve system are the “master” controlling systems of all bodily functions, 100% health can only occur when there is 100% nerve supply going to and from the nerve system. The brain is protected by the skull, and the spinal cord/central nerve system are supposed to be protected by the spine. However, if the bones of the spine shift out of their normal alignment, then pressure can occur upon the delicate nervous system. The term for this is Vertebral Subluxation (VSC) or Subluxation for short.
Subluxations can tragically occur in infants and children. Sometimes the birth process itself can cause the Subluxations to occur from traumatic births, forceps, vacuum extraction, C-Sections, and even a vaginal birth. The delivery process is called “labor” for a reason. Not only is it very hard for Mom, but it can also be very challenging for the baby.
Latent Spinal Cord and Brain Injuries can occur during birth. In an article by Dr. Abraham Towbin of the Harvard Medical School, “spinal cord and brain stem injuries occur often during the process of birth, but frequently escape diagnosis.” Towbin concludes that infants who do survive such an injury often have to live with lifelong neurological conditions. Pediatric chiropractors can help diagnose and correct these conditions by doing a complete chiropractic analysis. Using advanced techniques, a pediatric chiropractor can determine whether or not your child was injured during childbirth.
If Subluxations happened at birth, then the child may be more likely to have postural issues like torticollis, colic, failure to thrive, SIDS, digestive issues, ear infections, etc. A common pattern that can happen from Subluxations from the birth process would be a child that first suffers from colic. They will eventually outgrow that. Then they begin to have ear infections. Then, they outgrow those, but seem to get sick frequently with a suppressed immune system. They outgrow those to now develop asthma and allergies. Then they begin to have growing pains. They outgrow those and now suffer from headaches, and by the time they go off to college they had a lifetime of poor health, all stemming from Subluxations that started at birth.
How many times have you perhaps witnessed your toddler fall while learning to walk? Or your 5 year old crashes while learning to ride a bike. Or perhaps you’ve witnessed your older child get taken out while playing soccer or basketball. This is not to mention that things like football and gymnastics can be extremely taxing on the spine and nervous system. Many doctors of chiropractic recommend that all children have their spines checked as soon after birth as possible, to avoid the detrimental effects of Subluxations.
Scoliosis, aka spinal curvature, can sometimes be seen even as early as the age of 1 year.
The Doctors of Chiropractic at PCH Chiropractic have over 38 yrs. of combined experience in the care of infants and children. Dr. Palmer taught hundreds of other fellow chiropractors how to care for children. He has been a contributing author in Chiropractic Pediatric textbooks, authored articles, and has been adjunct professor at one of the world’s most prestigious chiropractic colleges. He has adjusted literally thousands of children. Dr. Palmer Peet has even been a chiropractic patient himself since he was 2 days old. They have also raised their own children completely drug free, by adjusting them regularly. Our doctors at PCH Chiropractic are experts in Chiropractic Pediatrics.
How do we care for kids at each stage in their development
Newborn-infant (0-1 year)
Toddlers- preschool (1-5years)
School age (5-12 year)
What to expect when you bring your child to PCH Chiropractic for care
First, our office is extremely kid friendly. We love holding babies, and have a changing area for those needing a diaper re-fresh. We have a special kid’s play area in the waiting room, and children many times don’t want to leave even after their visit is complete.
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Before coming in we will send you a patient application for you to fill out about your child so we can find out more about how he/she is feeling and hear about the history of their condition.
Once you both come in, we will go in detail through this history including asking you about the birth process, and listen to any other additional information that you can share with us regarding their overall health.
We will then perform Chiropractic, functional, orthopedic, and neurological tests to properly diagnose your child’s condition and see how we can help you.
We will then analyze all the results from the tests and the information you provided to us with the history. That way we can help you find the appropriate care plan for your child. Remember, we do not accept all cases. We only accept those cases that we can help. If we cannot help your child, we will let you know and make the necessary referral for him/her.
Our assessment is comprehensive. PCH Chiropractic has some of the latest digital postural evaluation tools at its disposal to properly evaluate your child’s alignment and posture. Digital photographs can be taken on all four sides of the body giving us an accurate picture of any postural issues.
PCH Chiropractic has its own in-house low radiation digital X-ray suite. Generally as a rule, the younger a patient, the greater the effects of radiation that can occur. This fact is taken into consideration with each patient. X-rays are taken very judiciously and are not necessary with all pediatric cases. But when they are, only the necessary films are done with our in-house low radiation digital X-ray. X-rays, when taken, are done with beam restriction called collimation that further restricts exposure. Lead shielding is also used, special tube filtration, and other steps are taken to minimize exposure. Because we are able to perform low radiation imaging on site, we can, many times, get the results in minutes.
Specific Chiropractic Adjustments
Once we have analyzed the diagnostic tests/images and other results, we can find what is the best adjustment for your child and their specific condition. Chiropractic adjustments in children are the not the same as in our “bigger” patients. We are experts in Chiropractic Pediatrics, and our youngest patient was only just a few hours old. Millions of patients, including children, are adjusted every day with amazing safety and effectiveness. As mentioned above, sleeping patients sometimes don’t even awaken when we adjust them. You can rest assured that when you place your child under our care, that our doctors have the advanced techniques and experience to help them in a gentle, safe manner.
As chiropractors we are trained to detect and correct the misalignments in the spine. Those misalignments are called Subluxations. Subluxations actually interfere with the body’s own ability to heal itself. It is important to correct them as soon as possible in order to prevent degeneration and weakening in other areas of the spine. When chiropractors correct subluxations, this will in turn help with better function and communication between both hemispheres of the brain and the organs/tissues that are linked to the nerves coming out of the spine. This allows the body to naturally heal itself. No drugs, no shots, no surgery, just healing from the inside out.
Home care for your child
Once we begin your child’s personalized care plan, we will show you exercises that are specific to your child’s posture. We may then recommend an exercise routine to perform with your little one at home to help restore their normal movement and aid in the correction of postural alignment. We may have you place a towel under your child’s neck while laying on his/her side to help correct their head tilt. In other cases, we may show you how to make a game out of range of motion exercises for your toddler to help restore normal spinal movement and coupling patterns.
Reported childhood conditions that have responded favorably to Pediatric Chiropractic
Note: Chiropractic as a profession does not claim to “treat” any conditions. As described above, chiropractic, on the other hand, concerns itself with the proper function of the nervous system and the restoration and maintenance of health through correction of Subluxations and their subsequent adverse effects on self healing. The below list reflects some of the childhood conditions that have been reported to improve after receiving chiropractic adjustments.
It should further be noted that it is not normal to be sick! The so-called “normal childhood ailments”are not normal at all! It is not supposed to hurt to grow for example. Growing pains are never acceptable and don’t have to be just part of growing up. If your child is not well, there has to be a cause of such, and chiropractic care may just be the answer to correcting that cause.
- Growing Pains
- Ear Infections
- Sleeping Problems
- Breastfeeding difficulties
- Spitting up
- Bed Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)
- Postural Issues (Slouching, forward head posture)
- Feet Turned In or Out
The above list is by no means comprehensive, as there are many other childhood ailments that may be helped by chiropractic care.
Below you will find a sample of some of the research, papers and case studies linking vertebral subluxations and nerve interference with specific childhood ailments
The closing and opening of the eustachian tube is controlled by muscles directly linked to cranial nerves which are in direct relationship with the bones in the upper neck. Misalignment in the cervical spine can affect the proper function of those muscles and cranial nerves. This is why sometimes ear infections can occur more on one side than the other. The proper function of the nervous system directly affects how quickly an ear infection can be resolved or if it reoccurs and becomes a chronic condition.
This is why at PCH Chiropractic, we will always check for the proper alignment of the upper cervical spine in children with ear infection and correct them very gently if they are found.
Below is some research that shows the benefits of chiropractic care with children with ear infections.
Investigators evaluated 46 children under the age of five with ear infections. A full 93% recovered within 10 days of chiropractic care ( J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1996; 19:169-77). Another study looked at 5 children with recurrent middle ear infections who had been receiving medical treatment for at least six months, but had failed to recover. All the children improved with no more than five visits to their chiropractor (J Clin Chir Ped 1996; 1:66).
Colic, Constipation, and digestive issues.
Colic are common, but that doesn’t mean that they are normal.
Difficulty with digestion is a common issue with newborns and infants. There can be many reasons for that. However, you first want to make sure that the brain and the digestive system are communicating properly in order to digest the milk, absorb the nutrients, keep it down, and finally, excrete what is not needed.
Proper alignment of the neck, to make sure the Vagus nerve is functioning properly, as well as the lumbar spine, where the nerves that control the motility of the digestive tract, are all very important. Misalignment in either or both of those areas can lead to dysfunction and cause colic, constipation, spit ups, and other digestive issues.
In one survey of 132 parents of infants with colic, 91% reported that their babies improved after an average of two to three adjustments (Eur J Chiropr 1985; 33:264-5). Another study of 316 babies with colic found that 94% benefited from chiropractic care (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989; 12:281-8).
Resolution of Failure to Thrive, GERD and Infantile Colic in a 3-Month-Old Female Following Kale Specific Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Report Review of the Literature . Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research. Jarek Esarco D.C. & Joel Alcantara D.C.
One experiment enrolled 81 children with asthma. After two months of chiropractic care, 90% of subjects showed a significantly improved quality of life (J Vertebral sublux Res 1997; 1:41-8). And 76.5% of asthma patients in another survey reported benefiting from chiropractic (Bull Eur Chir Union 1978; 26:17-34).
Breastfeeding can easily be affected by misalignments in the neck. When babies are breastfeeding, they need to be able to easily swallow and operate their tongue in an effective way. All those functions are controlled by nerves that come from the brainstem and the upper cervical spine. The brainstem is right next to the first vertebra of the spine below the skull, the Atlas. Misalignment in this area can affect the proper communication with the muscles, along with their coordination, in order to be effective while breastfeeding.
Also, if the parent notices that the baby only likes to breastfeed on a certain side, it might also be due to misalignment in the cervical spine making it harder for the baby to turn their head equally to both sides. The ability of the baby to breastfeed equally from both sides is extremely important since it affects development of the hemispheres of the brain. We want to make sure that both hemispheres are stimulated equally and develop at the same rate.
Resolution of Breastfeeding Difficulties Following Chiropractic in a Neonate with Birth Trauma, Plagiocephaly & Edema from an Asynclitic Presentation: A Case Report. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic. Kristen Hosaka, DC & Joel Alcantara, DC. Abstract
Resolution of Chronic Headaches, Improved Sociability, Health & Physical Behavior in a Child with Autism, ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation: A Case Report & Review of Literature. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic. Laura L. Stone, DC & Joel Alcantara, DC. Abstract
How many times have you seen your child bump his/her heads as they learn how to walk or ride a bike? Maybe they took a good tumble falling off the monkey bars at the park, doing gymnastics, or got hit particularly hard playing soccer, skateboarding are any other sports.
These are common and most of the time our kids are fine, however, these “mini traumas” can cause misalignment in the spine that can cause long term dysfunction. This is why it is important to have children checked on a regular basis. That way, they can avoid long term issues that sometimes don’t show themselves until later down the road. As doctors of chiropractic, we often see those early childhood traumas in adults that come in for problems that they have no idea why they started. Low and behold, they started on the playground as a child, or on the field as a highschool athlete.
Resolution of Headaches & Enuresis in a Child Undergoing Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxations: A Case Report & Review of Literature. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic. Taryn L. Mason, DC & Joel Alcantara, DC. Abstract
The relationship between intensity of chiropractic care and the incidence of childhood diseases. Rose-Aymon S, Aymon M. Prochaska-Moss G, Moss R, Rebne R, Nielsen K. Journal of Chiropractic Research, 1989 (Spring): 70-77.This was a pilot study to determine if a relationship existed between the incidence of childhood diseases and intensity of chiropractic care. The results showed that intensive chiropractic care (i.e. more than seven visits per year and more than one year of care) increased resistance to the common childhood diseases.
Chiropractic vs. Allopathic Medicine
A comparative study of the health status of children raised under the health care models of chiropractic and allopathic medicine. Van Breda, WM and Van Breda JM Journal of Chiropractic Research Summer 1989.
One hundred chiropractors and one hundred pediatricians were surveyed and asked about the health of their own children. Lower antibiotic use and lower incidence of disease, especially ear infections, was reported in the “chiropractic” children. If the “chiropractic” children did get measles, rubella or mumps it was reported that the diseases were quite mild compared to those exhibited by their classmates.
Absence of T-cells, immune dysfunction, has colds all the time. International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Newsletter. November 1996A male child, age 5 diagnosed with malformation of the cervical spine and severe scoliosis, was also not vocalizing well, had an absence of T-cells, exhibited immune dysfunction and had colds all the time. Surgery had been considered to correct skull positioning. Utilizing the infant toggle headpiece, the Atlas was adjusted ASL. The child was medically reevaluated and he was now normal. Six months later his vocabulary was normal, his head position was normal and there were no colds evident during these months. Scoliosis was greatly reduced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic safe for a child?
The care of children by chiropractors dates as far back as the profession itself. Since the discovery of chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in the year 1895, doctors of chiropractic have been caring for children. During the past 125 years, chiropractic has proven to be an extremely safe way for children to become and stay healthy. Chiropractic adjustments can be so gentle for kids, that sleeping infants/children don’t even awaken while being adjusted. Chiropractic is very safe for kids, and kids love to get adjusted.
When should you take your child to a chiropractor?
We suggest bringing them in the earlier the better. This way we can check for subluxations and make sure that your child’s brain is communicating 100% with the rest of their body at all times. It is much easier to fix a misalignment when it has only been there for a short amount of time.
The birth process can be a difficult one for a baby, regardless of whether they are born vaginally or by C-Section. To have them checked right away ensures that brain and nervous system development is optimal. Since the brain and the nervous system are the master commanders of the whole body, wouldn’t you want to make sure there is no interference with their communication?
Is pediatric chiropractic the same as chiropractic for adults?
No, it is very different. The adjustments done on a newborn or infant are very different and very gentle. Sometimes only slight pressure as light as 2 oz is what is needed to correct the misalignment. This is just a slight sustained contact at the right location of the spine. Sometimes if a baby is asleep while being adjusted, they remain asleep.
Should a child see a chiropractor for ear infections before putting tubes in the ears.
The placement of tubes in a child’s ear is a surgical procedure, and anytime surgery can be avoided, it should. More and more families are choosing natural chiropractic care and turning away from drugs and surgery. Chronic ear infections often occur because of the inability of the Eustachian tubes to open and let the ears drain out. When this excess fluid “pools” up behind the eardrum, it provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow and cause infection. The closing and opening of the eustachian tube is controlled by muscles directly linked to cranial nerves which are in direct relationship with the bones in the upper neck. Misalignment in the cervical spine can affect the proper function of those muscles and cranial nerves. This then backs up the proper drainage of the deep cervical lymphatics. This is why sometimes ear infections can occur more on one side than the other. The proper function of the nervous system directly affects how quickly an ear infection can be resolved or if it will recur and become a chronic condition. The doctor of chiropractic, by gently adjusting the neck bones back to their proper alignment, opens up nerve pathways. This then causes a relaxing of the muscles of the deep cervical lymphatics, and the muscle around the eustachian tube. Everything begins to drain better, leaving less “pooling” fluid, thereby eliminating the medium up which the bacteria grew off of. With nothing left for the bacteria to grow upon, the ear infections heals on its own.
How do I know if my baby needs to see a chiropractor?
First, think back to your birth. These are the types of questions to ask yourself. Were you in labor for a long time? Did you have a hard time pushing them out? Did you have a C-section? Did they use a vacuum extractor on your baby? Did they use forceps to pull them out? Did you have Pitocin? Did you have back labor? Were there other “interventions” that may have been hard on you or your baby?
Next, think back to their life history. Did they ever roll off the couch or changing-table? Have they fallen down stairs? Did you rush them to learn to walk? Are they healthy, or do they get sick easily? What was your own health history like as a child?
Then think about their posture or how they hold themselves. Do they breastfeed more easily on one side or the other? Do they always keep their head turned to the same side? Does their head seem symmetrical? Are their shoulders even? Does their spine look straight, and are their ribs even?
If there are any issues with the above, you should bring your baby to a doctor of chiropractic, like the doctors at PCH Chiropractic that specialize in Chiropractic Pediatrics for a check up.