Chiropractic care is not just for adults; children as young as infants can benefit from gentle chiropractic adjustments. Treating a number of ailments, from ear aches to digestive issues, chiropractic care is becoming a welcome, holistic option for infants and young children. Dr. Fiske, who has trained through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, discusses the benefits and common concerns of this approach.
Question: How old should you be before you’re adjusted?
Dr. Fiske: A few hours is enough (really!)
Chiropractic is a great way to support a growing body! From the position your baby developed in, to the birthing process, and all the bumps and falls it takes to go from tummy time, to crawling, to walking, running, and playing - routine chiropractic checkups keep your little one’s foundation in optimal alignment!-
Q: But you can’t possibly adjust a baby!
Dr. Fiske: Adjusting newborns requires no more pressure than what it takes to massage your temples or pet a puppy and is totally safe. Because babies are growing so quickly, their bodies are very responsive and require only the gentlest of pressure.
Q: Okay, so you can adjust a baby, but why would you ever need to? They’re brand new!
Dr. Fiske: No matter how optimal the birth process was for mom and baby, it was still very physical. When you watch a baby being born (naturally or via cesarian) it’s a verrrrry snug fit!
Misalignment of the baby’s spine often occurs during the birthing process and a shift in those segments can contribute to:
- TMJ and latching issues, making breastfeeding less successful
- Torticollis, where its physically uncomfortable or impossible for your baby to turn its head in certain directions
- Earaches/ear infections
- Digestive issues (spitting up, reflux, constipation, gas)
Additionally, chiropractors can help with babies born with plagiocephaly (flattened portions of the head), which is a safer and more effective alternative to helmets, which can constrict the cranial bones during the most critical developmental stages of life.
Q: Wow, are there other benefits to pediatric chiropractic?
Dr. Fiske: When the spine is well aligned, it allows the Central Nervous System (the brain) to communicate clearly with the rest of the body via the Peripheral Nervous System (down the spinal cord and through all the nerves that run throughout your body). When communication is clear from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, every part of the body functions more optimally! Benefits of this that we can see include:
- Better quality of sleep
- Improved coordination
- Stronger immune function
- Better concentration and focus
- Better temperament and communication
Q: But if I take my baby to a chiropractor, does that mean they have to keep being adjusted for life?
Dr. Fiske: That depends on your goals. If you go to your chiropractor to solve a particular problem, you will find resolution within a set period of time. However, if you’re like me and a growing number of families out there - you’ll learn from your chiropractor that kids benefit greatly from chiropractic because of many common reasons:
- Their bodies are always growing - periodic chiropractic “check ups” keep their spine (their infrastructure!) in proper alignment, making growing and development that much more optimal.
- Their bodies are always moving - from all the bumps and spills that are associated with being an active kid, chiropractic can help keep a growing kid and teen stay injury free or help rehab them should a sports injury occur
- They’re sitting most of the day - from overloaded backpacks, to sitting at a desk all day, to the ever increasing use of technology, kids are starting to show the effects of “office syndrome” and “text neck” - postural stress that builds from day to day. Chiropractic helps counterbalance this stress, keeping their bodies from building up poor posture habits so early in life.
- Their nervous systems are always engaged - from birth through adulthood, there are a LOT of "firsts" to process, which while normal, definitely puts stress on the nervous system. Proper alignment of the spine allows the Central Nervous System (the brain) to communicate with all the nerves running throughout body more efficiently. By keeping their spine aligned and their nervous system running as optimally as possible, kids can focus and develop better!
The great thing about our younger patients is that they don’t have years and years of wear and tear built up in their bodies - meaning a single session, while very gentle, is also very powerful. Kids usually respond very quickly to chiropractic sessions and require fewer visits to keep them operating at their best!
Q: This is amazing! What type of chiropractor should I look for to see my baby and children?
Dr. Fiske: The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) offers extremely thorough training for certification in Prenatal care, Pregnancy, and Pediatric Chiropractic (for children of all ages).
To find a chiropractor with this training, you can search by zipcode at: http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/.
To find out more about Pediatric Chiropractic, and to check out the ICPA’s amazing quarterly magazine for holistic and conscious parenting, go to: http://icpa4kids.org/
As a side note, most Pediatric Chiropractors also see "normal people" (adults!) too, and often will be able to book appointments to treat everybody at once! Talk about a well adjusted family!
And, as always, if you have questions for Dr. Fiske - just reach out to our office and she’ll gladly speak with you one on one!
Dr. Laura Fiske is certified through the ICPA. She is passionate about helping her pregnant patients have a healthy, comfortable pregnancy and achieve their birth goals through gentle alignment. She has completed additional training through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and is certified in the Webster Technique, an assessment and treatment protocol that helps restore proper pelvic function, resolve discomfort, and support a more positive pregnancy, labor, and delivery.