Many consider chiropractic therapy as an excellent form of complementary health care for both adults and children. Every day we see many adults in our practice who suffer from a wide range of postural problems, old sports injuries, whiplash injuries, and the effect of physical and emotional stress on their bodies. Every day we emphasize the importance of taking care of our physical bodies because they’re the only ones we will have in our lifetimes. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s never too late to start to take better care of yourself.
What many people don’t consider is that starting earlier in life with treating existing problems, or even doing prevention therapy, can not only keep problems from getting worse in the future, but also from keeping them from starting in the first place. It can help prevent one from having chronic pain in adulthood, as well as limitations or disabilities later in life.
According to Peter Fysh, author of Chiropractic Care for the Pediatric Patient, the birth process alone is one of the most traumatic journeys a person makes in their lifetime. When you consider the length of some labors, the tools that are sometimes used to extract a child, and the magnitude of internal compressive forces on a baby’s head and neck, you can start to understand that these forces combine and can cause the tiny developing vertebrae to become displaced. It’s not unusual that babies can go on to develop a host of different problems as children and teenagers, problems that don’t often arise over night, but rather stemming from a single, big event earlier in one’s life.
If you follow a child throughout it’s life, beginning from the day they entered the world, you can begin to see how traumas, both big and small, can occur throughout their lives. These can start to accumulate and lead to pain complaints or manifest in other ways, such as ADHD, allergies, or decreased immune function. From the time they are pushed through the birth canal to taking their first steps, from falling off their bikes to enduring various sports injuries, there are plenty of opportunities where vertebrae can become misaligned or restricted in motion. It’s not necessarily detrimental if it happens to one vertebra, nor will a child likely complain of pain as a result of this, but the cumulative effects of one or multiple misaligned vertebrae is what can lead to future problems. Like links in a chain, if one vertebra’s motion becomes restricted or if it becomes misaligned, the neighboring vertebrae will take up its slack. This causes an increased workload to the other areas of the spine, which added up over time, begins to create compensation problems in the spine and surrounding muscles.
As with dentistry, children who receive regular chiropractic care can have a head start on preventing the little problems from becoming big ones. In general, aligned, freely-moving vertebrae allow your spinal column and nervous system to function optimally, instead of having crooked, stuck vertebrae that can cause nerve irritation and impingement and lead to a nervous system that functions less than optimally. When your nervous system is sending signals throughout your body in a compromised state, it affects how effectively other body systems work (organs, muscles, glands, etc.), which is even more important in the growth and developmental stages of a child’s life.
If your child can learn and develop good habits early in their lives, they are already ahead of the game. If there’s one thing we can learn from treating adult complaints, like posture-related problems, it’s the fact that a lot of these things can be prevented if you have the right help along the way. For children and their developing spines, this prevention can make a huge difference in terms of function and quality of life in adulthood. By improving the function of the nervous system through chiropractic treatments, and engaging the child in certain exercises that can strengthen specific areas of the brain, chiropractors not only treat children for pain complaints, but also for things like ADHD, asthmatic complaints, recurrent ear infections, or bedwetting naturally, reducing or possibly stopping the need for medications to be required.
We all want what’s best for our children, including giving them the tools they need to lead fulfilling, happy, and healthy lives, and no parent wants their children to inherit their back or postural problems. It is therefore important to lead by example, displaying healthy habits and correct posture as a parent, because kids learn and absorb their behavior from their surroundings, both good habits and bad. Teach your children about the importance of spinal health and bring awareness to their postures. Regular chiropractic care should be considered an essential part of this development process by performing preventative therapy, helping to teach healthy habits for the future (posture exercises, choosing a backpack, etc.), and by checking at appropriate times for things like scoliosis or other developmental problems. Consider chiropractic care for your children and start your child on the right health path.
Ceci Wong has been practicing chiropractic since 2004. She has attended multiple seminars on specific diagnosis and therapy techniques for pediatric patients, and is currently studying to attain a Diplomate in Pediatric Chiropractic from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Her interest in treating children continues to grow from years of positive treatment results and experiences in practice, as well as a personal interest in having children of her own.
Ceci is originally from the United States and has lived in the Netherlands for 6.5 years. She co-owns and operates Chiropractie Noordzee with her life and business partner, and speaks English, Dutch, and Mandarin Chinese.