Why would my child see a chiropractor?
A chiropractor can help your child heal, grow, and thrive in optimal health. When spinal, cranial, and limb joints are not moving properly, they are not able to send clear, concise information to the nervous system. The nervous system runs throughout the body and controls all its functions, both conscious and subconscious. It relies on accurate communication coming in from the joints and muscles (called proprioception) to function and develop optimally. It is not all about pain! Sometimes poor brain-body communication can lean to struggles in function that don't hurt right away, as is the case in gait disturbances and feeding struggles.
Chiropractic care supports musculoskeletal health in all people, including those in their crucial growing years. By restoring proper joint movement, function, and communication, we are allowing your child’s body to move, heal, and develop at its best.
More Questions (& Answers)
First, come when there is a problem. If your child is experiencing any physical health problems, a chiropractor who works with children and infants can determine if the problem is related to or worsened by a joint not moving properly or faulty communication between the body and the brain. With children, there is not usually a pain complaint related to joint dysfunction, so we need to be watchful for other clues of biomechanical perturbations. Because of the impact that spinal adjustments have of sensorimotor integration and autonomic function, the conditions that tend to improve with care may expand past the physical complaints.
Second, come when you are interested in preventative care and addressing problems before they get out of hand. The everyday challenges that our children face - from passing through the birth canal to tumbling out of trees to sitting at a computer - can cause the joints to lock up, muscles to tighten, or the nervous system to compensate. Just like going to the dentist a couple times a year to have an expert oral health take a look inside your mouth, it is a good habit to check in with a chiropractor every few months even when everything is going great.
Because our chiropractors work with infants so often, we have also created a special kind of checkup for babes within their first year (or until walking) called "Developmental Wellness Visits". These are well-babe check ups with an added emphasis on educating and preparing parents on what to be aware of for the next steps in motor development. These visits are so much fun and a favourite for parents and our clinicians.
Children respond very quickly to chiropractic care (much faster than adults!). In our experience, most often there will be change noted within one to three visits. The amount of treatment needed will depend on your child’s unique situation and complaint, but after your first follow-up appointment, the chiropractor will lay out a customized plan and let you know what to expect. No surprises here.
For wellness-based care, visit frequency can range from anywhere between once every couple weeks to only a couple times a year. We do not have a cookie-cutter approach to care. Even your wellness care, should you choose to continue once the primary issue is resolved, will depend on your child's activity level and health status.
No. You never have to do anything you do not want to do when it comes to your child's healthcare. You also do not have to continue taking your child to the chiropractor after their original problem is resolved. That being said, you may want to. Many parents choose to bring their children in periodically for a check-up because they observe the benefits their child receives during chiropractic care and they want a proactive approach to healthcare, or just because they have lots of questions that they would like to explore as their child grows. We find this to be especially true in the first year when developmental markers are more time sensitive.
Our chiropractors are always here to do one-off checkups after a bad tumble, car accident, or injury whenever you need us too. Concussion screens, sports injuries, and athletic support are all in our tool belt as well, although we will refer to a more sports and rehab focused practitioner if we feel it would serve your child best.
No, actually. All Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) receive basic paediatric training as part of their core curriculum during 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, our AltaVie chiropractors have chosen to spend their time and money to take countless hours of advanced training in pediatric and pregnancy care. They do this because they care and they are passionate about elevating the standard of family care. They are trained in special techniques that cater to the special needs of these populations, from craniosacral therapy and tethered oral tissues to Webster technique and BirthFit. 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 and infants.
At AltaVie, all of our chiropractors have done advanced course work in infant and pediatric treatment techniques. We have a whole slew of treatment options to choose from and we will guide you through the best choices for your child's individual health status, complaint, and developmental stage.
A typical office visit may include a combination of gentle spinal adjustments, craniosacral therapy (CST), extremity joint mobilizations, and exercises to help address any joint dysfunctions and restore optimal brain-body communication for your child. All treatments are modified and catered to a child's developmental stage and their specific needs each visit.
We also provide nutrition guidance, exercise rehab, kinesiology taping, and other home care so that you can continue to good work started in the office and maintain lasting impacts. Our goal is to make you not need us.
At AltaVie, our initial exams are 1-hour and our regular office visits are 15-30 minutes. You will not be rushed through and we can accomplish a lot in those minutes!
Chiropractors address the neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscles, and bones). They are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of hundreds of conditions throughout the entire body, not just the spine. Problems within this neuromusculoskeletal system sometimes seem disconnected from the symptoms presenting, but as we resolve the physical issues, you will notice an improvement in the body’s ability to heal and self-regulate. These improvements are seen most dramatically in children and infants who may not be able to express their discomfort in any way other than crying, fussing, and outbursts. Your AltaVie chiropractor will analyze and address any dysfunctions in your child’s neuromusculoskeletal system and explain how certain dysfunction may contribute to your child’s condition.
A healthy newborn can be brought in for their first check-up as soon as you are ready to leave the house. There is no time that is too early (or too late). Considering the 9-month adventure you and your baby just had with the culmination of their entrance into this world, for an "uneventful" birth, we recommend the first check-up between 2-4 weeks of age so that we can assess and remove any locked elements before they become a problem. This allows your baby to have a nice healthy early start.
If there were any problems during pregnancy, labour, or delivery or if you sense something is wrong, bring your baby in as soon as possible. Newborns can be safely treated from the day they are born. Some parents even arrange for their first appointment on the way home from the hospital. We have worked with preemies as little as 3 lbs and our techniques are modified according to your baby's developmental stage.
Structural asymmetries and physical strains from delivery are common. Musculoskeletal screens for newborns are safe, but certainly not standardized. Here is an article on Early Musculoskeletal Assessment from the British Journal of Midwifery if you would like learn more.
Learn more about Baby's First Visit at AltaVie.
If you really want to maximize the benefits of chiropractic care for your child, you don't have to wait! You can start by taking care of mom while baby is still in the womb. Click here to learn more about chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Chiropractic care for children and infants is both gentle and safe. Chiropractors are highly trained natural health experts who have been treating children for over a hundred years. In addition to the four-year doctorate degree focused on studying anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopaedics, and nutrition, our AltaVie chiropractors has advanced post-graduate training specific to addressing the unique needs of childhood. The chiropractic techniques used when treating children vary from those used for adults and are so gentle that infants often fall asleep during their visit!
Here are a few references if you would like to learn more:
Medical Doctors and paediatricians are not usually taught about chiropractic care (especially for kids) in medical school and a generally not familiar with how chiropractic care works unless they have been in themselves. A chiropractor does not replace medical care. Your paediatrician or GP will be available for crisis care and infectious diseases and to provide medications and referrals when necessary. Your family's chiropractor will focus on musculoskeletal health, quality-of-life care and boosting the body’s natural ability to thrive.
Chiropractic care is different from medical care in focus and in treatment tools. Chiropractors focus on the neuromusculoskeletal system and optimizing your body’s ability to heal and thrive on its own. Medical care typically focuses on keeping you alive and managing severe symptoms. Medical Doctors (MD) primarily use pharmaceutical agents to effect chemical change and surgery to affect physical change, whereas Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) effect physical and neural change using primarily their hands and encourage chemical balance using nutrition and lifestyle modifications. The least invasive therapy should usually be approached first. Both medical and chiropractic care are important and they can collaborate together and complement each other for the best care for you and your family. They are not a replacement for each other.
Because chiropractic care is new to many medical practitioners, we are always available and more than happy to answer any questions from any other providers on your healthcare team. We can open discussion and provide them with the latest research on chiropractic care for infants and children. If you would like us to connect directly with anyone on your health team, please let us know and we will be sure to get the appropriate consent to do so. Don't worry; we play well with others. 🙂