The Benefits of Pediatric Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Therapy / February 28, 2024
Chiropractor giving a child an adjustment.

Pediatric chiropractic benefits are often a topic of discussion for parents, social media support groups, and those interested in holistic wellness treatments. Today, more and more parents are steering toward all-natural solutions to help with all aspects of their children’s lives. A quick internet search will yield thousands of results pertaining to holistic wellness and how to implement the practices into your daily life. Pediatric chiropractic care is a big one that’s gaining traction.

In recent decades, many parents have relied heavily on Western medicine, with prescription medications for pediatric conditions like acid reflux, over-the-counter medication for growing pains, and surgical solutions like ear tube insertion for health conditions. Now, the benefits of pediatric chiropractors are entering the realm, as many love the non-invasive option as a first-line treatment for minor ailments. The benefits of pediatric chiropractor care are endless, whether your child is just a few months old, going through that middle school growth spurt, or on the varsity high school sports team.

At ChiroCare of Florida, we’re here to provide parents with information regarding children’s spinal health and development, common issues we see as kids grow, how chiropractic care for kids works, and the improvements you can see in your little one’s health as a result. Keep reading to learn more.

Understanding Pediatric Spinal Health

The first step when discussing the benefits of pediatric chiropractors is to look at spinal health in the younger years. The human spine only fully comes to form once an individual is in their 20s. That means the entire time a child is growing (and into early adulthood), their spine is changing, too. Spinal development begins in the womb, at just eight weeks of gestational age. With so many years between formation and completion, a child’s spine goes through quite a lot.

Developmental Stages of a Child’s Spine

A fully-formed and well developed adult spine has an “S” shape, curving at the neck and lumbar back. However, a child’s spine is quite different. Infants’ spines have a “C” shape. They slowly develop the standard “S” shape as they grow, allowing them to sit, crawl, turn their bodies, and lift their heads.

In children, the pelvic bones don’t fuse until approximately eight years old and their bones remain more “soft” compared to adults. This is why proper calcium and vitamin D intake are so crucial in those early years. Over the years, a minor’s spine continues to lengthen. It grows at a rate of 1.3 cm per year between birth and five years old. From five to ten years old that rate slows down to 0.7 cm per year and then increases again to 1.1 cm per year during puberty. By age 25, an adult spine is fully formed, fused, and hardened.

Common Spinal Issues in Children

Several common spinal issues in kids can vastly improve due to the benefits of pediatric chiropractors. Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves the wrong way, leading to posture and pain issues. Muscle strains are also common in minors, as they’re highly active in climbing, running, and eventually getting into sports.

Some children present with uneven shoulders and tilted pelvises or experience back pain from inflamed discs. Since the spine is still nimble, and the pelvic bones are not yet fused, this makes it easy for chiropractors to use gentle techniques to aid in proper spine development and correction.

How Pediatric Chiropractic Care Works

One of the most prominent benefits of pediatric chiropractor care is that the process is gentle. When adults undergo spinal adjustments, providers often use fast, abrupt, and intense motions to move bones back into place. This comes with the “cracking” sound so many people know.

However, pediatric chiropractic treatment is less intense. Since the bones are still correctly forming and fusing, less force is needed. Instead of such brash motions, providers use stretching and light pressure techniques in the appropriate areas. They never twist the spine at all. This makes for a more pleasant and mind-easing experience. On infants, chiropractic treatment can resemble light massage therapy. Often, providers need just a few fingers with a soft touch on babies to see an effect.

Before seeing a pediatric chiropractor, always check with your child’s primary cary physician. If they’re under the care of a specialist for an underlying health condition it’s essential to seek the provider’s advice, too.

Benefits for Infants

There are several main benefits of pediatric chiropractor visits for infants. The first is that many babies undergo physical trauma as they pass through the birth canal. This is a normal part of the birthing process, but it can negatively impact them nonetheless. We commonly see these complications in forcep births, breeched births, and births where an infant’s shoulders become stuck in the process. This can cause them postnatal pain, affecting their sleep and overall comfort. Usually, simple adjustments can realign their spinal columns and alleviate any symptoms.

Many parents also report that pediatric chiropractic care helps infants with acid reflux. Acid reflux is a tricky condition that leads to increased spit-up and vomiting, poor sleep, stomach aches, crying, and fussiness. Often, the cause is a misalignment in the spine that a provider can help address.

Benefits for Toddlers

Toddlers are true busy bodies. They’re always on the move. They’re opening cabinets, climbing on couches, making dare-devil dives off the dining room table. They’re exploring the world and learning so much as they develop both gross and fine motor skills. This is the age where they balance on one foot just for fun, spin in circles around the living room, and spend an entire day walking backward. All of this is normal and healthy and is an excellent sign that your toddler is hitting vital developmental milestones.

However, this is also the age where postural issues can arise. “Baby containers,” like swings, seats, bouncers, and more, can limit a toddler’s movement. This restricted motion may prevent them from developing all their necessary motor skills. Even without baby containers, some kids need a little help. Some have tight leg muscles, which can impact how they walk. Seeing a chiropractor can help ensure your toddler’s spine health is in excellent condition so they can keep on moving.

Benefits for School-Aged Children

School-aged kids can seem even busier than toddlers! They may no longer throw rolls of toilet paper down the stairs just for fun, but they might be getting into organized sports. They’re also having fun riding bikes, climbing on the jungle gym at recess, and spending hours outside in the summer. With this comes a lot of movement!

All these activities are so healthy for our kids, but they’re also growing so much during this time. Pants that fit today might not fit next week. It’s common for parents to hear, “My legs hurt!” This is what we call “growing pains” and it’s a very real condition. Sometimes, parents say over-the-counter meds are the only thing that helps–but one of the benefits of pediatric chiropractor care is easing growing pains through adjustments, too.

If they’re in sports, it can be even more helpful. Chiropractic care can help kids maximize their flexibility and range of motion and shorten recovery time from injuries so they can get back out there and have fun.

Conditions Treated by Pediatric Chiropractors

Aside from regular adjustments for growing pains, sports injuries, or common infant and toddler conditions, pediatric chiropractors can also help treat:

The Role of Nutrition in Pediatric Chiropractic Care

Having a healthy body weight is crucial to support spine health. Extra weight puts undue stress on the skeletal system, leading to back pain and more. At ChiroCare of Florida, we can provide nutritional guidance and diet information for your growing child’s needs. We’ll provide information on anti-inflammatory foods to help prevent illness and avoid chronic health conditions. We’ll advise on the proper protein intake and nutritional supplements that may benefit your child.

Parental Involvement in Chiropractic Sessions

At ChiroCare of Florida, we strive to educate parents on the process and benefits of pediatric chiropractor visits while creating a supportive environment for all. Parents are present at all sessions and we’ll discuss everything with you before we begin.

Let us know if you have specific health concerns you want to address. We can review your child’s complete medical history, documentation from their pediatrician, and any imaging like X-rays or MRIs they’ve had in the past. We’ll develop a treatment plan you’re comfortable with and chart progress as we go so we can reassess if necessary.

Addressing Common Misconceptions

There are many common misconceptions about chiropractic care and even more about pediatric chiropractic care. We’re here to assure you that as a holistic, non-invasive treatment method, there are little-to-no side effects of treatment. The providers working with you and your child specialize in pediatric care, and all hold Doctor of Chiropractic degrees.

Long-Term Effects of Pediatric Chiropractic Care

Pediatric chiropractic benefits can last well into adulthood. It also helps the spine maintain proper alignment as it grows and forms; there’s less likelihood of chronic back issues arising later in life. Ensuring that the pelvic bones are correctly aligned before they fuse at the age of 8 is vital, and monitoring the spine’s curvature from the beginning “C” shape into the correct “S” shape of an adult is key.

Many parents and patients state that follow-up visits help them significantly as they manage pain or health conditions and have a healthy foundation for growth. Schedule an appointment at ChiroCare of Florida today and request a pediatric chiropractor for your child.

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