Kids Need Chiropractic Too!

[originally published in KCN, July 1998]kids-need-chiropractic

As my daughter, Paige, enters into her eighth month of life,  it’s not uncommon for people to make a joking remark, here and there, that she has “wonderful posture” and “appears to be well adjusted” — of course that’s what you’d expect from a chiropractor’s child, right?   Then the same people will ask with a concerned look on their face, “You don’t really adjust her spine do you?”

Well, I am pleased to respond that I DO adjust my child’s spine, and it’s not, as you may be thinking, to treat pain.

Most parents understand the importance of regular exams for their child’s eyes, ears, nose, throat, hearing , and teeth, but overlook routine spinal check-ups.  Ironically, routine spinal check-ups can be one of the most important exams a child receives.

Along with diet, exercise, proper rest, emotional and spiritual support, a properly functioning nervous system is essential for overall health.  Chiropractors take a special interest in the functioning of the nervous system  and its relationship to the spine.  The communication that exists between your child’s brain and body is the vital link that controls the growth, repair, and function of every tissue and organ.  From the brain, the spinal cord sends messages to each and every cell of the body via billions of nerve fibers.  Any interference, irritation, or pressure on these nerves, as they exit out between the movable bones of the spine [chiropractors refer to this as a subluxation], places your child’s body in a state of disharmony — which can lead to decreased immune function and sickness.


Our children’s spines are subjected to many instances where  subluxations are likely to occur.   For starters, the birth process itself can put stress and strain on a child’s delicate spine (even more so if forcep or vacuum extraction is utilized).  Add to this the miniature traumas that your child’s spine will undergo as he or she learns to hold their head up, sit up, crawl, and walk.  According to the the National Safety Council, nearly 50% of children fall headfirst from a high place (changing table, bed, etc.) during their first year of life — many of which go undetected.   And if that weren’t enough, your child’s spine grows more than it ever will in the first five years of life, even more than during the adolescent growth spurt.  It is during this time of rapid spinal growth that many of these tiny bumps and falls can compromise the health of your child’s spine and nervous system.   Because children’s body’s are so resilient, immediate symptoms of spinal subluxations may go undetected and, instead, may end up being the root of many future unexplained health problems.

Many chronic and frustrating conditions may be the result of structural interference placed on the nervous system  by spinal subluxations— and I’m not just talking about back and neck pain, which, by the way, accounts for only about 25% of children’s visits to chiropractors.  Ear infections, headaches, asthma, colic, ADHD, bed wetting, learning disorders, and allergies are some of the more common conditions that chiropractic care has had a positive impact on in children.  Parents who have  children under chiropractic care  with these conditions  often find that they are able to reduce or eliminate their children’s medications and in some cases avoid surgeries.  This is not to say that we are treating these conditions specifically,  but we are evaluating and treating the child’s spine for subluxations which may have an effect  on his or her particular health condition.  By  treating the spinal subluxation, the nervous system is able to function better, and the body is able to heal itself.   Better yet, by routinely checking a child’s spine many of these conditions can be avoided or lessened before symptoms even appear.  Spinal subluxations are an overlooked aspect of health problems that many children face and have to grow into as

Incidentally, chiropractors are not the only health professionals treating children’s spines in this manner.  Surgeons in Germany have had tremendous success treating newborns and infants with techniques similar to those of chiropractors for a variety of symptoms.  In one study out of the Journal of Manual Medicine, they concluded that although this type of treatment  “cannot be the  universal remedy for all children…it should be considered as on of the most efficient therapies available.”

Today, many progressive parents are choosing conservative chiropractic care to help maximize their child’s own natural defenses.  Parents of children who receive regular chiropractic care often report that their kids seem healthier than other children, they get fewer colds and other childhood diseases.   An interesting study out of the Journal of Chiropractic Research adds some credence to this observation.  The study surveyed 200 pediatricians and 200 chiropractors regarding the health of their own children.  Because of their different backgrounds in training and experience, one could safely propose that the children of chiropractors would be more apt to receive a natural-based approach to their health care (spinal adjustments, nutritional and herbal therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture) with less emphasis on antibiotics and other drugs than the children of pediatricians.  The results of the study found that 69% of the chiropractic children reported “no occurrence of middle ear infection” compared to 20% of the pediatricians’ children.  “No tonsillitis” was reported in 73% of the chiropractor’s children versus 57% of the pediatricians’ children.

Without a properly functioning spine and nervous system, true health is impossible to achieve.  Maintaining your child’s spinal health is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your child.  For this reason, millions of families each year are choosing to receive chiropractic spinal check-ups, including my own.   Health is so much more than simply not being sick.  Health is about being well and staying that way.  Your doctor of chiropractic is ready to answer any questions that you may have and assist you and your family in achieving a lifetime of wellness.


Sources used for this article:
Biedermann, H.  Kinematic Imbalances Due to Suboccipital Strain in Newborns.  Journal of Manual Medicine. (6)1992.
Fysh, Peter.  Evaluating and Adjusting the Pediatric Spine.  Palmer College of Chiropractic West. 1997.
van Breda, W and van Breda, J.  A Comparative Stud of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of Chiropractic and Allopathic Medicine.  Journal of Chiropractic Research.   (summer: 101-3) 1989.
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2 Comments on “Kids Need Chiropractic Too!”

  1. Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of fluid in the ear, and allows a child to build up their own antibodies to fight off an infection more quickly. Depending on how chronic an infection has been, children generally need to get several treatments. Once they fight an ear infection themselves, kids tend to not to get further ear infections unless they have an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or other risk factor. Chiropractic is safe and effective and should be tried before giving a child antibiotics and certainly before inserting tubes in their ears.

  2. drlamar Says:

    Well said Dr. Devine!

    Your comment echos an article I wrote on children and ear infections and how chiropractic can be beneficial:

    Dr. Lamar

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