At Family First Chiropractic, we love taking care of kids! 25% of our practice is under the age of 18. Maybe you’ve never thought about why a chiropractor would see children. Today’s parents are finding that kids are designed to be healthy. Our job as chiropractors is to help kids grow and develop optimally. There are many physical changes and challenges throughout infancy and childhood, and pediatric chiropractic care helps to ensure proper physical and neurological development.
Still confused? Here’s what we know: the nervous system controls all functions and healing in the body. It is our master system! The spine houses the spinal cord, and nerves exit through spaces between each joint, branching out to reach every organ and tissue in the body. When a spinal bone is out of place, it impedes the messages sent along those nerves. This nerve dysfunction can cause kids to experience symptoms like asthma, allergies, ear infections, colic, digestive problems, and many more common childhood disorders.
How does a bone get misaligned? The birth process is the first chance for a misalignment, or subluxation. Then, consider a child’s daily life; they are active and curious. By the time a child is five years old, they have had at least 2,000 falls—200 of which are considered serious. Even regularly looking down at mobile devices can cause a misalignment in the spine. The only way to know if there are misalignments present in your child’s spine is to get checked by a chiropractor.
At Family First Chiropractic, we make it a priority to check children because young bodies can repair themselves faster than older ones, and chronic childhood conditions that progress into adulthood lead to increased dysfunction and degeneration. Children in all developmental stages can benefit from chiropractic care.
How Our Chiropractic Care for Kids Works
1. Help Them Advance Early
Our mission is to improve the alignment of the spine and the nervous system, which are essential for the proper development and function of the body and the brain.
2. Keep Them Healthy
Chiropractic care can prevent or treat common childhood issues such as ear infections, colic, asthma, allergies, headaches, and more, by enhancing the immune system and reducing inflammation.
3. Optimize Their Outlook
Our goal is to foster a positive attitude and a sense of well-being in your child by relieving stress, pain, and tension and promoting a healthy lifestyle and habits.
How We Treat Kids At Each Stage In Their Development
Newborn and Infant Chiropractic Care
The first question we hear from parents of a newborn is usually: “Is it safe to have my newborn or infant’s spine checked and adjusted?”
Many people do not realize that medical research has shown more than 80% of all infants suffer from injuries to the cervical spine (neck) during birth. Dr. Towbin, a researcher at Harvard Medical School’s pathology department, found that “the birth process, even under optimal conditions, is potentially a traumatic, crippling event. Spinal cord and brain stem injuries occur often during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis.” At the Rockefeller Institute, Dr. Arpad DeNagy determined that interference to the nervous system due to spinal stress resulted in serious damage within a short period of time, and he recommends stabilizing biomechanical care begin as soon after birth as possible.
Chiropractic Care for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Studies at Columbia University have shown that the average child loses 70% of their biological potential by 17. Complications arising from misalignments of the spine can result in immediate symptoms of pain or dysfunction or diminish a toddler’s capacity to heal and thrive over time and should be dealt with immediately. Misalignments, or subluxations, are often caused by everyday childhood activities such as learning to walk, ride a bike, and various playtime occurrences. Despite the efforts of well-intentioned parents, young children interact with multiple devices and screens starting earlier than ever, which causes postural disruptions and promotes nervous system interference. In a study completed for the early European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 60% of children three years old and younger interact daily with electronic technology, including tablets, computers, and the internet.
Chiropractic For Teens
Data concerning mobile device usage from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the average daily hours by age group.
Children 8-10 years old: 6 hours
Adolescents 11-14 years old: 9 hours
Teens 15-18 years old: 7.5 hours
This equates to over 40-hours+ per week that teens and preteens spend on their personal devices, which does not include the hours spent using school computers and tablets. The stress on the nervous system from subluxations in the spine caused by improper technological posture can lead to poor sleep, hormonal imbalance, and difficulty in the classroom. In addition, with food delivery apps and strategically located fast food restaurants, teenagers have easy access to many more unhealthy food options to partake in. Workshops and educational materials at Family First Chiropractic have been educating the youth of West Omaha for over a decade on proper nutrition habits and lifestyle choices.
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Common Childhood Conditions That We Help
Because chiropractic care focuses on restoring nerve function, many children under chiropractic care see changes in how their body functions and experience a reduction or complete resolution of the symptoms of their health struggles.
Colic is commonly defined as unexplainable and uncontrollable crying in babies 0-3 months of age, more than three hours a day, more than three days a week for three weeks or more, usually occurring in the afternoon and evening. This common condition affects some 20-40% of children in their first year of life. Colic is stressful to parents and children alike. Given the lack of effectiveness of various pharmaceutical interventions in treating infantile colic and concerns about the adverse effects of these drugs, parents are turning to more conservative methods of care, such as chiropractic.
Wiberg and colleagues published a study examining the short-term effect of chiropractic treatment in children with colic. A controlled clinical trial in a private chiropractic practice placed children into two randomized groups. One group received pediatric chiropractic care for two weeks, while the other was treated with the often-prescribed drug dimethicone for two weeks. Changes in daily hours of crying were monitored and registered in a colic diary. By the end of the first week of care, the number of hours of crying was reduced by one hour in the dimethicone group compared with 2.7 hours of crying reduction in the chiropractic group.
In addition to chiropractic adjustments, the doctors at Family First Chiropractic utilize other ancillary care approaches for a colicky baby. Depending on each child’s health history and examination findings, these can include dietary changes, herbal remedies, and behavioral interventions.
Earaches and Ear Infections
The most frequent reason for physician visits for children under 15 in the United States stems from Otitis Media, better known as a middle ear infection. This is the most common reason that doctors prescribe antibiotics for children. Approximately 10% of infants will experience an ear infection by three months, and 50% will experience at least three ear infections by the age of three. The American Journal of Epidemiology states that an infant under six months old who has been on two or more rounds of antibiotics has a 72% higher risk of asthma than children who do not undergo antibiotic cycles.
Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic care and adjustments to help infants and children overcome ear infections. With chiropractic care, 75% of ear infection cases show improvement or complete resolution within ten days. 43% of children with ear infections will improve within one to two adjustments, according to the Journal of Manual Physical Therapies, which results in fewer rounds of antibiotics and fewer surgeries for ear tube placement.
“90% of the stimulation and nutrition of the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” -Nobel Prize Scientist Roger Sperry
Chiropractic uniquely helps children with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders by improving the function of the brain and central nervous system. Every chiropractic adjustment causes the body’s main computer (the nervous system) to reset. A 2014 study of children with sensory processing disorders proved a direct link between the influence of the parasympathetic nervous system and radical improvements in the behaviors of children with ADHD. Chiropractic adjustments increase the influence of the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in improvements in attention span, learning, and behavior.
Every human body possesses the capacity to heal. The Journal of Neurologic Health states health is the ability of the nervous system to send and receive nerve signals. Chiropractors optimize nervous system function and experience unique results for children under duress from an inability to focus at home or in the classroom.
Sports Injuries and Posture
Many adults with chronic back pain can trace the beginning of their problem to years of bad posture habits or injuries in childhood. Because they are growing and more active, children can be at higher risk for injury to the spine. More than one-third of all high school athletes sustain some type of injury. Many childhood stresses and traumas lead to spinal and nerve dysfunction as we age. For instance, children that carry backpacks quite often develop postural problems and regions of spinal dysfunction.
At Family First Chiropractic, our doctors make it a priority to check the family members of patients to ensure they have the best opportunity to grow up healthy and optimally instead of waiting for tragedy to occur or a decrease in the quality of life to take hold. Studies have shown that children who have had their spines taken care of with regular chiropractic care have five times fewer health problems than the average child of the same age. Children under regular chiropractic care have fewer instances of scoliosis, ear infections, growing pains, and other common childhood health problems.
Poor posture extracts a high price because it can limit your range of motion, the organs in your body become less effective, and your mental and emotional state can be affected. The postural disturbances seen in adults often begin with spinal misalignments throughout the growing stages of life. Correcting the issues plaguing young people’s spines saves a lot of stress and treatment down the road.
Breathing is a specific and delicate process that depends on nerve supply to keep it functioning normally. Improper spinal and nerve function, along with food or environmental allergens, generally bring on these potentially life-threatening attacks. Asthmatics commonly feel condemned to a life of bronchodilators and steroid-based drugs, which can include numerous side effects that can be immediate or develop over a lifetime of chronic use. At Family First Chiropractic, we focus on finding and correcting the cause of lung dysfunction. Often, an individual’s posture can significantly affect the development and function of a patient’s lungs. Studies have shown that proper posture increases inspiratory lung capacity by 30%.
The standard medical approach offers no cure for asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Patients are commonly told to avoid physical or emotional irritants and given only temporary relief through inhalers or expectorants. A chiropractor’s objective is to locate areas of nerve interference caused by subluxation and correct them. Many times, these areas are directly correlated to the nerve supply related to lung function, and correcting the misalignments brings about a new level of health and function for the patient. A study done for the Brain Research Bulletin found a connection between the alignment of the upper neck vertebrae and breathing. Stimulating the small neurons in the muscles, joints, discs, and ligaments of the upper neck creates positive changes in the diaphragm, lungs, and associated blood vessels. This research shows why any adult or child with lung or breathing troubles can benefit from a spine and nervous system evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is pediatric chiropractic safe for a child?
Chiropractic adjustments are safe for children of any age once they are thoroughly examined for subluxations and nervous system interference. At Family First Chiropractic, our doctors spend time reviewing each case and determining the best course of action for the health and development of each child.
At what age can a child start seeing a pediatric chiropractor?
The birth process is the very first chance for a bone in the spine to get misaligned; for this reason alone, chiropractors will check the spines of newborn babies. Checking and adjusting newborns is very gentle and specific. The amount of pressure utilized in a newborn baby adjustment is like testing the ripeness of a tomato and differs significantly from an adult’s adjustment.
Can pediatric chiropractic care help to avoid ear tubes?
Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic care and adjustments to help infants and children overcome ear infections. Nearly half of children with ear infections will improve within 1 to 2 adjustments, and two-thirds experience improvement within ten days. This results in fewer rounds of antibiotics and surgeries for ear tube placement.
Can chiropractic help with bedwetting?
There are many factors involved in bedwetting. Many children experience changes in their bedwetting with chiropractic care. If the cause of the bedwetting is from the spine putting pressure on the nerves controlling this function, chiropractic care can help. A spinal checkup can help determine if misalignments exist in that region of the spine.
Is pediatric chiropractic the same as chiropractic for adults?
Pediatric chiropractic care differs in a few ways from adult care. When checking and adjusting a child, the doctor does not need to utilize the same amount of pressure to move the bones back into their optimal position. Sometimes the doctors will use different benches or tables more accommodating to a child’s stature. The biggest difference with pediatric chiropractic care is that correction happens quicker than with adults because the problem hasn’t been there for as long.