From the Doctor’s Desk:More and more parents are turning to chiropractic as a natural alternative for their children. Many of the problems that adults have with their spine and their overall health can be traced back to childhood and even back to birth.
Examining the birth process, under the best of circumstances, birth can be and is traumatic to the baby's spine and head. Sometimes trauma exists even before birth, while the baby is still in utero. As stress is put on the baby's developing nerve system and spine, irritation can develop. This may be the cause of many newborn and toddler health challenges and issues.
The trauma of birth and the connection to neck (cervical) strain was the subject of an extensive research project by two German medical physicians. Dr. Guttman concluded that approximately 80% of all children are not in autonomic balance balance of the autonomic nervous system) and may have a subluxation (misalignment of vertebrae). Dr. Guttman stated that he was "constantly amazed how, even with the lightest adjustment with the index finger, the clinical picture normalizes, sometimes gradually, but often immediately." (1)
His colleague, Dr. Frymann examined a random group of 1250 babies, 5 days post partum. Manual examination revealed cervical strain in 95% of this group. Dr. Frymann noted improvement in breathing, coloring, digestion, and other health related concerns when a gentle adjustment was given to these newborns. (2)
Another study was conducted concerning 'Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome,' a condition involving the nerves surrounding the top vertebra of the spine, which is called 'atlas.' The study showed that the Syndrome was corrected with gentle adjustments, and it showed that 40 out of 43 children who were suffering from ear infections also improved without additional measures.(3)
Many other childhood illnesses and issues can be linked to nerve system stress and irritation. Because these problems can begin at birth, parents should have their newborn checked by a chiropractor right away. As a baby advances through the various stages of development, such as holding up his head, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and learning to walk, chiropractic check ups are vital to normal development. As the child becomes more active and participates
in sports and playing musical instruments, traumas and stresses are placed on his spine and nerve system. A caring chiropractor will check for these traumas, and with gentle adjustments he will help eliminate the stresses and help improve the spine and nerve system.
As the child continues to grow, regular check ups with one's chiropractor will become a natural part of a wellness approach to life. Traumas to the spine, whether minor or more significant can alter the normal progress of the body. If left unchecked, these traumas can become serious ailments and challenges in adolescent or adult life. Proper spinal care is vital to a normal
healthy life. Good habits, such as not sleeping on one's stomach should be learned in infancy, practiced through adulthood, and passed on from generation to generation.
Parents often take their children to a chiropractor with common childhood ailments such as ear infections, colic, digestive and respiratory challenges, sinus problems, headaches, allergies, asthma, failure to thrive, etc. (6) Many of these parents have informed themselves through the internet or talking with other parents who have said that chiropractic care could help.
Chiropractic then becomes part of the parents' wellness approach to life. The chiropractor can be the first health practitioner a parent consults when a health crisis or concern arises. The chiropractor assesses quickly whether a visit to his office would be the best first approach or if a visit to another specialist or the emergency room would be best. A chiropractor does not diagnose a disease or condition. He is a practitioner who seeks to help the body help itself. No medications or over-the-counter drugs are recommended, dispensed, or suggested. He views his job as a facilitator or mediator on behalf of the body's innate ability to heal itself. Assisting the body to maximize its healing abilities and not confusing it with symptom-chasing drugs helps the body gain additional resources without the negative 'side-effects' of medicines or over-the-counter drugs.
The chiropractor takes a case history, gets a sense for the general state of health or 'disease' and then performs an examination to determine the presence or absence of subluxations in the spine. Misaligned vertebrae or subluxations can interfere with the body's nerve system and general body function, and movement is impaired. The nerve system controls all functions in the body. The digestive, respiratory, circulatory and immune systems all are supplied and regulated by the nerve system. Interferences to the communication or function of the nerve system can result in 'disease' and lack of proper function and health in the body. The chiropractic adjustment removes or reduces subluxations. This can restore normal nerve system function, which in turn allows for increased body function and greater health.
Chiropractic adjustments are given based on the age, size and individual physical and emotional needs of each person. Gentle infant adjustments are invariably done in Mom's lap. Toddlers are among the most eager of patients in the chiropractor's office. They seem to sense that the adjustment helps their bodies, and they are relieved to see that no shots or medications are given. Children and adults who get consistent chiropractic adjustments notice a remarkable increase in their body's ability to thrive and an increase in their level of health and vibrancy. In 1954, the Kentuckian Center for Children was the first pediatric practice of notoriety, and it has continued to flourish in Louisville, Kentucky ever since. This center specializes in helping children with special needs through a multi-disciplinary approach. The clinic director is a chiropractic physician. (7)
Another successful pediatric center is the Oaklahaven Children's Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was started in August 1963 and continues to serve indigent and severely handicapped children with chiropractic care and other disciplines. (8)
In 1975, Larry Webster, D.C. founded the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to further the cause of pediatric chiropractic through information, seminars, and research. Go to the ICPA website (www.icpa4kids.com) for a plethora of research articles concerning childhood illnesses and treatment options, or to find a pediatric chiropractor near you.
1) 8) 'Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome in Babies and Infants', Gutmann G, Manuelle
Medizin (1987) 25:5-10)
3) Froehle, R.M., J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 1996 Mar-Apr;19(3):169-77
4) Chiropractic Textbook, vol XIV, Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1948. and
The Science of Chiropractic, Palmer, BJ, Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1920.
5) Pediatric Chiropractic, Anrig, Claudia D.C., Plaugher, Gregory, D.C., Lippincott Williams and
7) Kentuckian Children’s Center: a dream come true. J Chiropractic 1982;19(7):32
8) Oaklahaven Children’s Center. Today’s Chiropractic 1985; 14(5):67.