Answers to Common Questions about Chiropractic Care for Children
Why would my child need to see a pediatric chiropractor?
A pediatric chiropractor can help your child heal and attain true health. Chiropractors look beyond symptoms to address a problem’s root cause. When spinal or cranial joints don’t move properly (conditions called subluxations) they can irritate the nervous system- the nervous system that runs your child’s body. This irritation may lead to problems in various body systems, depending on which nerve gets affected. For example, nursing difficulties, poor sleep and constipation can all result from nervous system irritation. Chiropractic care removes the source of irritation, allowing your child’s body to heal and run properly.
When does my child need chiropractic care?
First, come in when your child has a health problem. We will determine if the problem is related to a spinal or cranial joint that is not moving properly. Improperly moving joints can interfere with the function of your child’s nervous system, which can result in symptoms far from the source of the problem.
Second, visit us when you’re interested in preventative care. The challenge of passing through the birth canal and the typical tumbles of childhood, as well as normal adaptations to growth can cause joints in your child’s spine or cranium to lock up. Since children are so flexible, they are often unaware that anything is wrong. By releasing the joints that aren’t moving properly, we help your child maintain his or her natural state of health.
What kinds of pediatric conditions does a chiropractor treat?
* asthma * nursing difficulties * poor sleep * ear infections * headaches * constipation * colic
* growing pains * sporting injuries * back and neck pain * “fussy” baby * frequent colds
Since these conditions may have many causes, we will thoroughly examine your child on the first visit to determine the source of your child’s problem.
How can treating my child’s spine help all these different conditions?
Your child’s body is run by the nervous system, which is housed within the spine and cranium. If joints in these structures get stuck (termed subluxation), this may interfere with proper function of your child’s nervous system. Since your child’s nervous system runs everything from digestion to coordination to immune function, a problem in the spine or cranium can create symptoms far from its source.
How can a pediatric chiropractor help my child sleep better?
Cranial bones that aren’t moving properly can interfere with the sleep center in the brain and prevent a child from being able to reach a state of deep sleep. In addition, when children have trouble falling asleep or when they wake often, it may be because they have headaches, neck pain or other physical discomforts that keeps them in a shallow state of sleep. Either way, when I release the locked elements, your child is able to fall into a deep, peaceful slumber. Since these conditions may have many causes, I will thoroughly examine your child on the first visit to determine the source of your child’s problem.
Is chiropractic care gentle? Is it safe?
Chiropractic care for children is both gentle and safe. Chiropractors are highly trained health care experts who have been helping children for over 100 years by addressing the cause of illness (subluxation), rather than symptoms alone.
Chiropractors are doctors with a 4-year degree and over 4500 hours of study in subjects including anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopedics, radiology and nutrition. In addition, our pediatric specialists have advanced, post-doctorate training in pediatrics.
Our techniques are so gentle that infants often fall asleep during their visit!
Why hasn’t my pediatrician recommended chiropractic care?
Pediatricians are not usually taught about chiropractic care in medical school and generally aren’t familiar with how chiropractic care works.
Ideally, your child should have both a pediatrician and a pediatric chiropractor. Your pediatrician provides medications when necessary and is there for crisis care when needed. This allows your pediatric chiropractor to focus on quality-of-life care. By keeping your child’s spine and cranium healthy, I allow your child’s natural healing abilities to shine through. The two aspects of health care, medicine and chiropractic, are complementary.
Since chiropractic care is new to many pediatricians, I am always happy to answer your pediatrician’s questions and provide the latest research.
How soon should my newborn be evaluated?
If your newborn is healthy, he or she should be examined at 2–3 weeks of age. That way, I can detect and eliminate any locked elements before they hinder the nervous system and create symptoms. This allows your baby to get an early start towards optimal health.
If, however, your child has a specific problem, or even if you sense something is wrong, bring your baby in immediately. Newborns can be safely treated from the day they are born.
My child seems to go from one cold to the next. Can a pediatric chiropractor help my child stay healthy?
A healthy immune system depends on many things — plenty of rest, good nutrition, proper hygiene and clear communication between the elements of our immune system. Our nervous system is an integral part of this communication system.
Chiropractic care helps on many of these levels. Keeping the joints in children’s spines and craniums moving properly improves their digestion, helping them absorb the nutrients needed to support their immune systems. Keeping the joints in their backs fully mobile encourages full and healthy respiration, which enhances oxygen flow to their cells. Being well adjusted also helps children sleep better and wake fully rested. And, of course, allowing their nervous systems to function at highest capacity helps all the parts of children’s immune systems work together.
How is chiropractic care different from medical care?
Medical doctors often use drugs to treat symptoms, while chiropractors look beyond symptoms to address the root cause of the problem. Chiropractors feel that problems in the spine and cranium can cause improper nervous system function that can result in an imbalance in our body’s natural health and healing abilities. By correcting problems in these structures with gentle hands-on care, chiropractors are able to restore our inborn healing abilities and bring our bodies back into a healthful balance.
For example, the root cause of ear infections is often a blockage in the tube that drains the ear cavity, leading to fluid buildup in the middle ear. This then becomes a perfect place for bacteria to grow, leading to an ear infection. Medical doctors often prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria, but since the tube remains blocked, the fluid often gets re-infected after the antibiotics are finished, leading to repeat ear infections. A chiropractic adjustment can unblock the tube by releasing the spasm in the muscle that surrounds the tube. In this way, chiropractors get to the root of the problem; fluid is once again able to drain, so no re-infection occurs. That’s health care the way Mother Nature had intended!
What kinds of treatment will the pediatric chiropractor use on my child?
We use a combination of gentle spinal adjustments, craniosacral therapy and nutritional and lifestyle advice to maintain optimal health for your child. In addition, our office, Portland Chiropractic Group, is home to massage therapists and specialists in sports injuries, rehabilitation, exercise programs and orthotics evaluation, so these services are readily available whenever needed.
What is craniosacral therapy?
Everyone’s head is actually made up of many bones that move independently. Sometimes, from birth trauma or trauma after birth, these cranial plates can become stuck and not move properly, putting tension on the underlying brain and related nerves. Such tension can irritate the nervous system and hamper its ability to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including colic, nursing problems and ear infections. Craniosacral therapy is an extremely gentle technique that releases these locked elements, thus relieving the nerve irritation and any resulting symptoms. The treatment feels just like a warm hand gently holding your head.
Once my child sees a chiropractor, will she have to continue seeing one for the rest of her life?
No and yes. No, because once your child’s original condition is resolved, I am finished with treatment. Yes, because you may choose to continue with preventative care. Just as children should see a dentist periodically to protect their smiles, they should also see a pediatric chiropractor to optimize their nervous systems and maximize their natural healing abilities.
How much treatment will my child need?
Children respond very quickly to chiropractic care— much more quickly than adults. A child’s health often returns after just a few treatments. Depending on your child’s specific condition, more or less care may be needed. Our pediatric chiropractors will examine your child on the first visit and let you know how much care to anticipate.
Portland Chiropractic Group’s chiropractic philosophy of heath
Chiropractors appreciate that the body has an inherent ability to be well. They understand that the body is an interconnected whole and that impaired function in one area can affect other areas as well. Pediatric chiropractors enhance your child’s health by releasing joints that aren’t moving properly or to their fullest capacity, with the goal of restoring natural nervous system function. In addition, since total health is more than just freely-moving joints, chiropractors also address proper nutrition, postural health and other principles of true wellness to help parents raise healthy children. With these tools, chiropractors optimize the health and inherent healing abilities of your children and help them live life at their fullest potential.