Chiropractic Care For Children
When is the best time for a child to be evaluated by a chiropractor?
Should a child ever be evaluated by a chiropractor?
Well, we get our new cars checked regularly by a mechanic, we get our children’s teeth checked for cavities by a dentist and straightened by an orthodontist, and we have their eyes checked by an optometrist.
So doesn’t it make sense that a child's spine should be cared for
by a chiropractor?
The following is a true story about a young girl, and her mother’s decision to bring her into my clinic for chiropractic care. It will take a few minutes to read, but I think it's worth it.
A Child Falls Down Some Stairs – A Chiropractic Story
I had an interesting conversation with the mother of a young child a number of years ago. Mom was a patient of mine under weekly care when she told me that her daughter had recently fallen down a short flight of stairs at home. She said that her daughter was okay, but I suggested to her that she should bring her daughter into the clinic for a check-up to make sure she hadn’t been injured. Mom repeated that she felt that her daughter was fine because “she only cried for a few minutes then stopped, so she must be okay”.
It’s a perfectly understandable perspective. But when the little girl stopped crying, did it really mean that the fall down the stairs no longer had any effect on her? Was she really okay? In reality, the lack of pain (and tears) doesn’t mean that we’re all better and in good health, but you can’t fault mom for thinking this way. This is how most of us think.
I inquired again about the little girl at mom’s next appointment the following week, and she repeated her belief that her daughter was just fine and suffered no consequences from her tumble down the stairs. I kindly repeated my concern and the offer of an evaluation to see if everything was indeed okay. This time mom thought about it a little more and agreed to bring her daughter in for a check-up the following week. After all she thought, “what’s the harm?” She was right. Chiropractic is safe and effective, and the health of a child’s spine is too important to overlook.
So next week arrives and mom brings her bright and beautiful little girl in for an assessment. We took care of the initial paperwork, spoke in more detail about the way she fell, and began the physical exam. On initial appearances, everything looked great. She didn’t walk with a limp, she was able to bend and twist without any pain or apparent limitation. But on closer inspection, something just didn’t seem quite right…
I had the little girl lay on her tummy on my adjusting table and when I stood at her feet and held her ankles next to each other, her left leg looked like it was an entire inch shorter than her right one! How is this possible? Either her left leg is actually an inch shorter than the right leg, or more likely, there is some sort of imbalance in her pelvis which is pulling her left hip higher, making her legs appear to be different lengths. I thought, I bet I know where the problem is.
When I checked the little girl’s sacroiliac joints (the two large joints at the base of the spine where it connects to the pelvis) the left sacroiliac joint was unnaturally tight. Now you might think that this should hurt, but it didn’t, and it often doesn’t. The vertebrae can become restricted in their movement and mal-positioned without any pain (we call this joint dysfunction or subluxation) and it can cause all sorts of problems later on if not corrected.
After a few other simple tests, it was my feeling that when this little girl fell, she must have “jammed up” her left sacroiliac joint, and that’s what was pulling her left leg higher as she lay on my table. Obviously the fall had only hurt for a brief moment before her pain went away, but as often happens, the problem - the restriction & imbalance - remained. And it would have remained undetected if it weren’t for a little persistence of a chiropractor and the caring and thoughtfulness of her mother.
With mom’s permission (and the little girl’s too), I had the little girl lay on her right side on my adjusting table in a manner that would let me put my hand on her left sacroiliac joint and perform a very gentle, and very appropriate “spinal adjustment”. What happened next left mom speechless!
During that one adjustment we all heard a very distinct “click” in the joint (the kids often call that “popcorn”) and when I lay the little girl back onto her tummy to check her legs again, they were perfectly even. Not even off by a millimeter. The sacroiliac joint was now moving freely again and her pelvis was nicely balanced. She really needed that adjustment and neither she nor her mother had known it.
This was one of those moments where it really paid to be pro-active, to get the checkup and to adjust a child when it didn’t seem to a family to be necessary. What would be the consequences of not having that adjustment?
Well, there is a very strong likelihood that with the tension and lack of proper movement in the sacroiliac joint that the little girl’s pelvis and lower spine would have continued to shift unnaturally over time. This could certainly be the cause of many problems for her in the years to come.
It’s simple really. The healthier and more balanced the spine and pelvis are, the healthier and more balanced the child is. There’s an old saying that goes: “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
To finish our story, I adjusted the little girl another four times over the next two weeks. The fall had been very jarring and it took a few repeated adjustments to fully correct her spine and pelvis. With balance and mobility restored, mom was very happy and continued to bring her daughter in for periodic chiropractic check-ups from then on.
It’s always an honour for me to be entrusted with the care of a child, whether it’s to fix a specific problem or to help keep that child growing straight, balanced and healthy.
I encourage all children to get a checkup. My philosophy is always “let’s take a look”. If everything is fine and there is nothing more to be done, then great, it was time well-spent. But if there is a little problem developing, let’s get it corrected now before it turns into something more difficult to manage later on.
Please don’t ever hesitate to call me if you’re concerned about
your child’s health, growth and development. I’ll listen, answer your questions, and give you my best advice, guidance and care.
We’re here to help!