Chiropractic Care for Children… Part 2

Chiropractic Care for Children… Part 2

What does chiropractic care involve? The first thing a chiropractor will do is to conduct a thorough history of your child’s health and any complaints. This is followed by a complete physical examination of the child’s spine. Most chiropractors are trained to evaluate paediatric spinal problems, and will use gentle, specific skills to find and adjust any involved spinal areas.

When I tell people that I care for many children and babies in my practice, their initial reaction is often one of surprise, as they assume that I use the same techniques on children as I do on adults. Chiropractic care is ‘tailored’ to the individual and their particular spine, and children are no exception. We offer specific, gentle adjustments appropriate to the infant and child’s spine and cranium.

Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments. This amount of “force” is often not more than a finger touch. This is usually sufficient to restore mobility to spinal joints which have become locked and are causing interference to the normal nervous system function. Occasionally, the adjustments will make a ‘popping’ sound when the spinal joints are moved; however, this is not always heard when children’s spines are adjusted. Other techniques involve the use of hand-held instruments which offer specific and gentle correction.

Does it hurt? In general, chiropractic care for children is painless, except in cases where the child has an actual injury. In these areas, the child may be sensitive to touch; however, once the adjustment has been made and the area can heal more effectively, the sensitivity is alleviated. Overall, most parents report that their children enjoy their spinal adjustments, and that they look forward to their next visit.

How long will it take? A child’s spine will generally respond much faster than an adult’s spine to chiropractic adjustment, and will often require only a few adjustments to restore normal function. The actual number of adjustments will vary depending on many factors such as the length of time the problem has been present.

Is it safe? The risks of a child suffering notable injury from a spinal adjustment are extremely minimal. Chiropractors have been adjusting children’s spines for more than 100 years and have an excellent safety record.

A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the United States, Canada, and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. These preliminary data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available. Australian ICPA chiropractors will be participating in a similar study as well.

How can I tell if my child has spinal problems? is_23172083-children-grasping-overhead-bars-200x300

Unless a child has an obvious problem it can be difficult for a parent to recognize when a child’s spine is not working correctly. There are some signs which can indicate spinal problems. These include:

  • disturbed sleeping patterns
  • breastfeeding difficulties in the very young
  • restricted head or neck movement to one side
  • one shoulder higher than the other

Common childhood disorders can also be linked with spinal dysfunction, these include:

  • recurrent ear infections
  • persistent sore throats and colds
  • colic/reflux
  • asthma
  • scoliosis
  • headaches
  • bedwetting and/or constipation
  • growing pains
  • ADHD

One of the most common reasons for parents to seek chiropractic care for their child is physical trauma from an injury of some sort. The spinal misalignments that may occur at the time of the injury will not necessarily result in immediate pain or symptoms. In addition to physical stress, parents should be aware that emotional and chemical stress affect the child’s nervous system and may also warrant a spinal check up.

Regular chiropractic checkups can identify potential spinal dysfunction resulting from these stresses, and chiropractic adjustments may help to enhance future function and well-being.

Chiropractic Care for Children… Part 1

Chiropractic Care for Children…  Part 1
Chiropractors have been caring for adults and children for more than 100 years.  It is well-known in the scientific literature that many common ailments respond extremely well to this safe, natural form of health care.  In recent years more and more parents, especially those who have been treated themselves with chiropractic care are seeking chiropractic care for their children.  This week’s FaceBook article attempts to answer some of the frequently asked questions asked by parents about their children’s health.

Let’s start here:

What is chiropractic? Chiropractic is based on the important relationship between the spine and the nervous system.  One of the most basic ideas in chiropractic is that dysfunction in the spine and its joints can lead to dysfunction within the nervous system and since the nervous system controls and coordinates all the systems of the body, spinal dysfunction can have wide ranging effects on the body’s health.  As Chiropractors we are trained to evaluate how the body is functioning as related to the spine and treat areas of dysfunction.

Why do my kids need chiropractic? A child encounters many physical stresses during their growing years.  The resulting problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth.

Dr. Mark examining 5 year old Trevor's cervical spine after school last week.

Dr. Mark examining 5 year old Trevor's cervical spine after school last week.

The earliest challenge a growing spine faces is the position it is forced to adopt in utero, there are many fetal positions that can cause problems with labor and delivery, some are: brow, breech, transverse, posterior and ascynclitic.  What is less well known is that these fetal positions can also cause problems in the baby’s spine as well.   Spinal segments can lose functional activity or motion, often times are pushed or jammed out of place which can jeopardize the health of your child.  Additionally birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system not to mention interventions such as induction, forceps, vonteuse suction, or caesarean section.  The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nervous system irritation caused or complicated by dysfunction within the spine.  Since significant spinal trauma can occur at, or prior to birth, a recent trend for many parents is to have their newborn’s spine checked right after birth. Many developmental milestones such as learning to hold up the head, sitting upright, crawling, and walking are all activities that are affected by spinal dysfunction and are important times to have a child checked by a chiropractor. Additionally, falls, sports injuries, playground bumps, heavy school bags and sitting all day in the classroom are all physical stresses to the growing child.

Next week we will discuss the scope and nature of chiropractic care including common childhood disorders, the examination process, the actual treatment procedures, safety concern, the “does it hurt” question and others.

Here is the link to a very recent and local news article that talks about the benefits of chiropractic care for children and babies

For Exercise in 2013, Just Try Walking

For Exercise in 2013, Just Try Walking

A sedentary lifestyle has a debilitating influence on your health as you age, therefore exercise is imperative. While some fitness enthusiasts relentlessly seek out the latest, trendiest exercise crazes, many others are returning to good, old-fashioned walking to help them feel great and get back into shape. Whether enjoying the wonders of nature or simply the company of a good friend or spouse, walking can be a healthy, invigorating experience. And thanks to its convenience and simplicity, walking could be right for you too.

Benefits of Walking

You don’t need to become a member of an expensive gym to go walking. And except for a good pair of walking shoes, it requires virtually no equipment. And for those of you that say, “I’m just too tired after work, school or by the end of the day for exercise”, I say you will be impressed at how much better you will feel once you commit to a walking program. Walking accomplishes all of the following and more:

• Improves Cardiovascular Health

• Restores your Body’s lost Energy

• Helps to Tone the Muscles of the Lower Back, Abdomen and Legs

• Burns calories

• Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Many Others

Getting Started

“Disclaimer” Consult your doctor before beginning any walking, running or exercise program. Begin slowly. If walking in your own neighborhood start by walking 5 minutes (or less) at a pace that does not cause discomfort in any one direction before turning around and heading back towards home. This will insure that you don’t get a far from home and find yourself out of breath sitting on a park bench. Continue this for about two weeks, then start to increase your pace and the length of time you are walking. Eventually – depending on your age – you can build your endurance to “target” your proper heart rate “pulse” according to the following formula:

Target Heart Rate

Step #1: After a few moments of walking find your pulse on the underside of your wrist.

Step #2: Count the number of beats you feel in 10 seconds.

Step #3: Multiply your number of beats in 15 seconds by 4. That will give you your “beats per minute.”

Step #4: Subtract your “beats per minute” from 220 and multiply the answer by 80%.

Example: 15 beats (per 15 seconds)    x    4  =   60 “beats per minute”

220  –   60 “beats per minute”   =   160  x  80%  =     128 Target Heart Rate

Walking just 10 minutes every other day can offer important health benefits. But in order to increase the health benefits of walking try to build up your endurance and walk 20 to 30 minutes three to four days a week. Holding your “Target Heart Rate” as explained in the example above at 128 “beats per minute” for 20 minutes three to four times per week would be ideal.

Important Points on Walking

To be considered “active,” adults should try to take 10,000 steps each day. Purchasing and wearing a “pedometer” is an easy way to track your progress. Pedometers are inexpensive and can be found at most drug stores and pharmacies.  The following tips can help you getting started on your walking regimen:

• Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg.

• Manage proper posture when walking. Avoid looking down as you walk or excessive forward leaning of your body as this will challenge the curves of your spine and neck, which will cause you to carry your weight improperly leading to injury.

• There is no need to carry weights or dumbbells while walking. They are better used as a separate part of any exercise regimen.

• Expect a little soreness in the thighs, calves and lower body for the first week or two. If you experience more than soreness, check with your doctor of chiropractic as there may be postural concerns or other health issue that need to be addressed.

• Walk briskly, with “purpose.” Simply sauntering, while relaxing and enjoyable, is not an effective form of cardiovascular exercise. However if you are able to reach your “Target Heart Rate” and maintain it for 20 minutes you are accomplishing your overall goal for your walking program.

• Drink 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day to help keep the kidneys active, dilute and remove toxins from the body, and replace lost fluids. (Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are diuretics/dehydrators. Don’t substitute them for water.) If you perspire during walking, you may need to drink even more.

• Walking on a cushioned or rubberized track is ideal, because the cushioning of this type of track absorbs most of the impact of your walking. Many recreation centers offer this type of track free of charge.

• Grass is another good surface, but watch out for hidden dips or holes in the ground.

• Walking on a surface with no give, such as concrete or a mall floor, is not your best choice, because this type of surface will not absorb much of the impact your body will experience. If you do choose to walk on such a surface, be extra careful to select highly cushioned shoes.

Pain and Injury

You may experience pain or injury in a particular area such as the knee or a hip, but the root of the problem may lie somewhere else. Injuries of this nature are not regional, or isolated, but systemic. A problem in the foot or ankle can create an imbalance in every step, leading to discomfort or injury that moves to the knees, hips, low back or neck. If you suffer from pain beyond typical muscle soreness, chiropractic care offers a wide variety of treatment options and wellness programs that can reduce or eliminate the cause of your pain or injury and get you back on the road to improving your health in 2013.