Is chiropractic safe for young bodies?
Many parents have found value in introducing their children to their own Chiropractor or to a different Chiropractor who specializes in chiro care for children.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control say that around 3 per cent of children have received chiropractic or osteopathic care and the numbers of paediatric visits to Chiropractors have continued to rise. A 2000 survey found there were 30 million paediatric visits and by 2009 that number had increased to 68 million. According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, some 17 per cent of chiro patients were under the age of 18 and of that 17 per cent 7.7 per cent were five years of age or younger.
Controversies about chiropractic care for children
A Boston study (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.) looking at chiropractic care for children determined that chiropractic is often inconsistent with recommended medical guidelines. There is concern that chiropractors claim they can treat a range of health issues, despite a lack of solid scientific evidence to support their claims. Such claims include treat of colic, digestive issues, allergies, asthma, recurrent otitis media, cancer and general illness prevention.
Despite this, many chiropractors take a more ‘middle of the road’ approach, by addressing clinically observable health challenges. These chiropractors focus on care that contributes to changes that may increase comfort levels and posture habits in children.
Have a look at how Chirolife approaches chiropractic care for children.
How Safe is Paediatric Chiropractic?
The surest indicator of the safety of the patient is malpractice insurance rates, and Chiropractors enjoy the lowest malpractice insurance rates in the country according to a study done by Vohara et al. in 2007. Actuaries set their rates using advanced statistical analysis and their experience with all healthcare providers. Paediatric Chiropractors have the same rates as chiros who treat adults. Therefore, parents should feel confident their child will receive safe paediatric chiropractic care.
As children’s joints are still forming, the emphasis is on mobilizing, rather than manipulating the joints. Think; less pressure is required to be placed on the spine during the treatment session. What is really being accomplished is that joints are getting specialized assistance to form and align correctly – an ongoing series of gentle adjustments toward perfect spinal health as they grow into adulthood.
In the case of spinal injury, a visit to the Medical Doctor (MD) is in order, who may suggest or prescribe chiropractic or osteopathic treatment for your child. Usually, these injuries are sustained as a result of some contact sport impacts, which is where chiropractic care really shines.
What About Babies?
Common complaints are colic, sleep issues, nursing dysfunction, plagiocephaly and torticollis.
In utero, a baby can get stuck in one position for weeks or months, which can cause directional issues resulting in one side of the body being much stronger than the other. Chiropractic care in such cases can facilitate more robust growth on the weaker side and specialized exercises developed by Chiropractors can be provided to the parent to help strengthen the weaker side of the baby’s body on non-chiropractic session days, or while travelling and unable to keep the scheduled chiropractic appointments.
Other symptoms unique to babies can find some remedy via chiropractic care, even breastfeeding problems can be solved via chiropractic treatment as babies that have problems latching, usually have high rates of breastfeeding failure.
Finally, during pregnancy is a good time to meet with your Chiropractor to discuss possible treatment during the pregnancy where the focus is on the spinal health of the mother, which, at the very least, can result in a much more comfortable gestation period.
As always, in the case of spinal or neck injury (young children and even babies can be passengers in motor vehicle accidents and sustain neck and spinal injury) your MD might prescribe or recommend chiropractic treatment for your child.