The primary goal of chiropractic care for kids is to support a thriving healthy balanced life.
There are a growing number of parents who are seeking alternative, complimentary, and natural forms of health care for their families. The amount of information out there to navigate can be quite overwhelming! The purpose of this page is to address some of the common questions folks have about one of the largest CAM professions on the planet.
Why do kids need chiropractic care?
Bones model in response to outside physical stresses placed upon them (a concept known as Wolff’s Law) and proper joint motion is need to distribute these forces for optimal bone development. There are periods of time when skeletal growth is accelerated (commonly known as Growth Spurts) during which balance in the muscles and joints is especially important. Chiropractors help make sure there are no structural restrictions or imbalances during this crucial growing time.
Just like the bones of the skeleton, your child’s nervous system is also developing at a rapid rate. The nervous system includes the brain, the spinal cord, and all the millions of nerves that serve every inch of your body and control most of its functions. Just like the bones need proper joint motion for optimal development, so do the nerves in order to develop optimal communication (or innervation). Chiropractic adjustments facilitate optimal nervous system function, which contributes to your child’s overall health is amazing ways.
Is chiropractic care safe for children?
Yes! There have been several large-scale research studies verifying the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic care for kids. The amount of force used to adjust an infant is comparable to the amount of force you use to test a ripe tomato at the grocery store. Those of you with kids know that they are certainly able to withstand a lot more pressure than that! Chiropractors have been helping kids lead healthier lives for over 100 years. All of our AltaVie Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) have taken extensive course work to advance their care for children and address the specific needs of this special population. They always take care with a very gentle touch and will treat your kids with the utmost of care.
Are chiropractic treatments the same for kids as they are for adults?
Although the basic premise for chiropractic care is the same whether the patient is 80 years old or 8 minutes old, the ever-growing and changing active little bodies of children have distinct needs depending on their developmental stage. Generally, children respond much faster and more profoundly to chiropractic care than adults do. They have not subjected their bodies to the same years of abuse that we have.
Another major difference is that pain is not usually a primary complaint. This can make it more difficult for parents to know when kids need to visit their chiropractor. There are certain “clues” that we can watch for to gain more understanding in this area, such as postural changes, only wanting to breast feed from one side, being off-balance, always tilting their head to one side, and running with a limp. As mentioned above, the amount of force used and the specific techniques utilized vary depending on the unique needs of individual children and what stage of development they are currently in.
When should I start bringing my kids in?
It is never too early to bring your child to the chiropractor. Infants just minutes old are often checked by the loving hands or the family chiropractor and it is not uncommon to stop by the chiropractor’s office on the way home from the hospital. The birthing process is physically strenuous for both mom and baby, so it is best to get them both cared for as soon as possible afterwards. That being said, it is never too late either! Children may enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care at any age or stage of development.
(If you really want to maximize the benefits of chiropractic care for your child, you can start by taking care of mom while baby is still in the womb!)
How often should I bring them in?
Chiropractic for kids will vary as much as chiropractic for adults. As mentioned above, it is often difficult to know when your kids need to see the chiropractor because they do not generally present with pain. To help with this issue, we recommend setting regular Well-Child visits, the same way you would with your dentist and pediatrician. These help catch minor issues before they turn in to major problems and allow kids to truly maximize their healthy potential.
Here is an example of our recommended Well-Child schedule:
- First month of life (ASAP!)
- Every 3 months for the first year
- Every 6-12 months for every year thereafter
Other times to consider bring kids in for an appointment include:
- Major milestones (such as starting to sit up, crawl, walk, etc.)
- Any trauma or falls
- If you notice any signs of imbalance (limping, head tilting, etc.)
What are some common childhood conditions chiropractors support?
Here is a list of common childhood conditions that families have seen great impact from chiropractic care that you may not have thought of as chiropractic issues. Chiropractors do not necessarily treat or cure these conditions, but they have been shown to help in profound ways by treating the children suffering from them and enhancing their general health.
- ADHD & Autism Spectrum Disorders*
- Ear infections
- Common Cold
- Growing pains
- Bed wetting
- Breastfeeding difficulties
- Birthing Trauma
- Sports injuries (like Little League Elbow)
*Dr Amanda Stevens has undergone specific advanced training to be able to address the special needs of children with neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD. She combines her clinical nutrition training with chiropractic care and her passion for this population to provide the unique, tailored support that these families require.
Do chiropractors need special training to work with children?
No. All Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) receive basic paediatric training as part of their core curriculum in chiropractic college when they are earning their doctorates. Chiropractors have been treating infants and children since the beginning of the profession over 100 years ago with a great track record for safety and impact.
However, all of our AltaVie chiropractors have taken countless hours of advanced training in pediatric and pregnancy care. They are certified in special techniques that cater to the special needs of these special populations, from craniosacral therapy to Webster technique. All of our chiropractors are active members of the International Chiropractic Paediatric Association (ICPA). Think of it as the difference between seeing your family doctor versus a paediatrician. We have dedicated our time, energy, and lives to supporting children and elevating the standard of chiropractic care for children.