How Can Chiropractic Help Kids?
Updated: Mar 5
There are many ways that chiropractic care can promote the body’s healing process in both adults and children. Some areas in the field of chiropractic pediatrics have been experimentally proven to improve the health of children, and others have only been speculated.
The first assumption that I make when associating kids with chiropractic care is that they are being brought up to value their health and overall well-being. By being in an environment that promotes wellness in all dimensions (spiritual, mental, physical, emotional), one can only assume that the child will have the tools required to respond to any of life’s challenges and changes, and to live a healthy and fruitful life. The following are just a few of the proven benefits of pediatric chiropractic care:
Joint Pain, Injury, Muscle Spasm: As with adults, children can experience pain due to joint and muscle problems. Whether they have been looking down at their phone too long, or they fell when playing on the playground, it is helpful to ensure that your child is not in pain and is healing properly. Chiropractors are trained to assess joint and muscle problems, and to ensure that you, the parent, knows the best treatments available for your child. This may include massage therapy, physiotherapy, and other modalities.
Colic: The nerves that supply the stomach originate in the mid-back region. The goal of treating a child who has colic is to ensure that the spinal segments in this region are moving properly and the nerve impulses are functioning at their best. Research has proven that chiropractic adjustments to the mid-back and neck have resolved symptoms of infantile colic. It typically only takes 5-8 adjustments to see the improvements!
Acute Otitis Media (Ear Infection): There is a muscle that controls proper air ventilation in the ear called the tensor veli palatini (TVP) muscle. It is innervated by a nerve that originates in the neck. When the TVP is not functioning properly, the ear is not properly ventilated and a negative pressure develops in the ear. When this happens, ear infections are more likely to occur (or take longer to heal). By gently adjusting the infant’s cervical spine (neck), you can affect the nerve impulses sent to the TVP and restore it's proper functioning. This restores the proper ear ventilation and promotes healing and drainage of the ear. This is why it is common to hear of children going to the chiropractor when they have an ear infection. There are cases when it is best to see the Pediatrician in order to get antibiotics. It is important to take care of an ear infection promptly, so please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your Chiropractor or Pediatrician if your child is suffering from an ear infection.
Allergies: Your Chiropractor is educated in nutritional counselling and can give advice on the types of foods to promote (and avoid) for a child who is suffering from allergies.
Torticollis: The birthing process typically involves pulling on, and twisting, the infant’s head. This can cause a misalignment in the upper neck vertebrae. When these bones are out of alignment, the body’s ability to heal is decreased and muscle spasm can occur in a muscle associated with these spinal segments, the sternocleidomastoid (SCM). When this muscle goes into spasm, it causes a head tilt toward the side of the spasm and a head rotation away from the side of spasm. This can be fairly easy to detect in a baby because they will always want to breast feed from the same side, and will typically hold their head in a tilted and rotated position. Your chiropractor is trained and educated in treating torticollis. You can expect the treatment to include massaging and stretching this SCM muscle, and gentle chiropractic adjustments to affect the nerve signals going to this muscle in order for the child's neck to relax and be in the best position to heal.
Nilsson N. Infantile colic and chiropractic. Eur J Chiro 1985;33:264-265Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J, Nilsson N. The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in teh treatment of infantile colic: a randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999;22:517-522Fallon, JM. The role of the chiropractic adjustments in the care and treatment of 332 children with otitis media. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol 2, No. 2 1997 p. 167-183
Author: Casey Campbell BSc., D.C.