Why Does My Child Need Chiropractic Care?

You’ll probably never see your five or six-year-old bend over  to pick up a toy and freeze in pain saying, “Oh, my back went  out again.” Spinal degenerations and vertebral subluxations  that cause that kind of pain will generally not appear in  children – but it started there. 

Birth Trauma 

Natural childbirth has come to mean many different things,  but for the purpose of this article let’s keep it simple and  say that it is a drug-free, vaginal delivery. Even with no  pitocin, no epidural, the mother walking regularly to help  the contractions, and no extraction methods being used,  childbirth causes stress to a still developing spine. 

Add to this the improper lifting of the child out of a car seat  or during a diaper changing; and minor spinal traumas are  occurring that affect the spine and nervous system causing  common newborn health complaints: 

• Colic 

• Unexplained crying 

• Poor appetite 

• Earaches or ear infections 

• Colds 

• Allergic reactions 

Even a minor spinal trauma will affect the nervous system  and interfere with your child’s normal healthy function. 

Learning to Walk 

When a child first learns to stand up they tend to use a  coffee table, a couch, mom or dad’s fingers, whatever is in  reach to pull themselves to their feet. Once they’re up there,  how do they get down? That’s right; they plop down onto  their bottom and crawl away. 

When they’re starting to take their first few venturous  steps toward walking they stand next to the table or couch,  wobble back and forth a little bit, take one or two hesitant  steps toward the middle of the room and, once again, plop  onto their bottom. In some instances, the child doesn’t make  it far enough away from the table or chair and hits their head  on furniture. 

These constant and repeated jars to the spine will not  in themselves cause a major spinal injury, but as they accumulate repetitive stress injuries do occur.

Exploring Their Surroundings 

During the first few years of life, children will develop from  helpless infants into fearless adventurers. Bumps and falls  naturally come with your child’s desire to learn everything  

about the world around them in the quickest amount of time  possible, but these bumps and falls will cause trauma to the  spine. When spinal bones lose their normal position or ability  to move during this stage of tremendous physical growth,  possible permanent deformities can occur. Left uncorrected,  these small cumulative traumas can have far-reaching effects.  

While a Doctor of Chiropractic doesn’t treat or cure illnesses, many common childhood disorders may be the result of  nervous system interference or malfunction caused by spine  related problems, such as: 

• Hyperactivity 

• Learning disorders 

• Bedwetting 

• Allergies 

• Asthma 

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but appropriate  Chiropractic care can help locate and correct these problems and restore normal spinal and nervous system function. 

The Vertebral Subluxation Complex 

As you can see, our children bump and jar their spine constantly in the first five years of life, and after that their normal everyday activities can cause the vertebrae that protect the spine to lose their normal motion or position.

Each of these spinal traumas cause lasting effects: delicate  nerve tissue can be damaged resulting in interference with  the brain’s ability to send nerve impulses to organs, tissues  and muscles; discs, blood vessels and other soft tissues can  

swell and become inflamed; the body may respond with  bone spurs and other abnormal bone growth; and various  systems through the body may malfunction.  

In each of these examples, pain or other obvious symptoms  may not be present at the time, yet optimum health and  well-being have been compromised. 

Your Child’s Developing Spine 

There are three windows of time in which your child’s spine  will go through major stages of development. The first of  these is birth through age five. This is definitely the most  critical time since it is during this period that the child also  has the most minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries to  the spine. 

The second window of development is five years to ten  years of age. During this time your child will begin school  and spend recess climbing on monkey bars, sliding down  slides, playing organized sports and generally leaving  themselves open to repeated falls and tumbles resulting in  their own spinal injuries. 

Finally, at age ten to fifteen-years-old, your child’s spine will  go through its last stage of development. During this final  stage, your child’s spinal growth will be greatly affected by  most if not all of the following: 

• Improper backpack loading and carrying 

• Poor posture 

• An inactive or sedentary lifestyle 

• Repetitive sports movements 

• Typical sports injuries 

o Being hit in the head with a ball 

o Tackled on the field 

o Falling off a skateboard or rollerblades 

It may be possible that you missed the first window of  opportunity for care, but it’s not too late; your child or  teenager can benefit from Chiropractic care. 

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care 

Even as the public is becoming more aware of the benefit of early detection and care of the Vertebral Subluxation  Complex, the odds are that you were looking for pain relief for yourself as an adult when you first went to see your Family Wellness Chiropractor. During your initial examination, it’s possible that a certain Phase of Degeneration was detected. If you were informed that you are at Phase 1 then the original damage to your spine was likely ten to twenty years ago. If you were at Phase 2, the original damage to your spine was probably about twenty to forty years ago.  

Basically, if you first saw your Chiropractor when you were in  your late twenties and you’re at a Phase 1 of degeneration, then the damage to your spine originated when you were  a child. So, the most obvious answer to the question of  why your child may need Chiropractic care is: avoid having  your child suffer the same pain that first brought you in to  see a Chiropractor. Spinal problems that go undetected or  neglected in children become more serious problems as  adults. 

In Summary 

As a Chiropractic patient, you’re already aware of the benefits of Chiropractic care. You’ve experienced for yourself the relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. Give your child the opportunity that you weren’t given: to benefit from the body’s innate ability to heal itself and grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system. 

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Dr. Kim Harper

Dr. Harper's pre-med study was completed at the University of Iowa followed by her doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic. Upon graduation in 1993, Dr. Harper began practice in the Indianapolis area and has continued to work with families on the north side ever since.