Benefits of Chiropractic for Kids: Babies to Young Athletes
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan
Children are some of our most frequent visitors at Core Therapies, however we are often asked by adults “why would a child need to be adjusted?”
It is often thought that Chiropractic care is used solely to help relieve pain or injury. It can certainly help with that, however getting adjusted helps restore and improve the balance of the many intricate systems within the body. The human body, whether big or small, is intricately designed with communication highways, check and balance systems, reflexes and in the presence of stress learned compensation patterns.
A Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in treating children can identify a child’s stress or imbalance when they cannot verbalize how they are feeling. Let’s go through a couple of examples!
Babies – A baby may present irritable, unsettled, or seemingly uncomfortable in a given position, either on their back or stomach. A baby may even, innately, writhe their head back and forth. When this presents to us in the office, oftentimes the baby has tension or a fixation in the neck (cervical spine), preventing them from settling in comfortably in certain postures. Now a baby cannot tell you they have a sore or stiff neck, so they may settle into a position with a head tilt away from discomfort (most noticeable when sleeping, or in carseat), they may have trouble latching on a specific side because of their restriction, they may present with poor digestion or motility in their belly, ear infections due to poor drainage within the ear canal, etc. Causes are vast, some of which include, fixed posture in utero, interventions at birth, oral ties like upper lip or tongue ties or teething. Chiropractic can help relieve the tension, restore movement to the restricted joints, all by applying very light manual vibration or soft tissue massage.
Toddlers & Young Children – Many times toddlers present in the office because parents are concerned about how they’re moving, why they aren’t sleeping, constipation, energy level (too high or too low), immune system stress, and the occasional bump or bruise. However the child presents, we look at the whole child, meaning, a parent may provide a history with the focus on one of the above, but as mentioned, their little body is a network of systems. If one area is affected, other areas will show imbalance or measures of compensation. Sometimes children this age can help explain how they feel, and deciphering or decoding the noises they use, to do so, can take a degree in itself!!…However, when they experience relief and they smile, settle, melt into your table, or pop up without a second thought, the body has restored its balance and all systems go!
The Active Child or Young Athlete – Kids are on the move and there is no shortage of opportunity or activity to sign up for. Some kids need to decompress from their schedule alone! Add in the demand of performance on their young body, whether they are subject to repetitive practice or physical stress from a contact sport, rest and recovery efforts are necessary. Even though kids seem to bounce back faster, every little microtrauma leaves a mark on their body’s overall blueprint. Repetitive stress at any age can lead to breakdown or injury. Receiving regular manual therapy, whether that be adjustments or soft tissue work, not only identifies signs of overuse/disuse, but can aid in injury prevention long term. Recommended active care exercises continue recovery outside of the treatment room, like foot drills for the sprained ankle, core exercises for the weak low back, or rotational exercises for the sports that favor a dominant side.
Chiropractic care for children goes far beyond the stereotype of back pain and supports development at every stage. Those who specialize in treating children understand the intricate check and balance systems of the body and the speed at which the body matures. Identifying and treating small stressors in these growing bodies can help children grow with the most optimal health!
To schedule an appointment with a provider who is certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) with extensive training and experience, please call our office at 973-240-7251
Dr. Meagan McGowan, Dr. Sonia Marques, and Dr. Katie Gleisner is certified through the ICPA.