Should children get chiropractic adjustments?

Dr. Don's grand-daughterThere are two basic approaches to the philosophy of chiropractic. We see this among both doctors and patients. The most essential difference I see is pain relief vs. wellness. This isn’t really about chiropractic technique or whether a doctor uses nutrition and other supportive measures or if he/she just simply does adjustments. It’s a question of intent. If we approach chiropractic as some kind of therapy designed to simply reduce pain and improve function from an orthopedic standpoint, its focus is simply symptom relief, following a more medical model. On the other hand, chiropractic can follow more of a wellness model, that is maximizing health potential by improving the functioning of the nervous system.

The question of treating children with chiropractic adjustments, in my opinion, is where the rubber meets the road in pain relief vs. wellness. I haven’t run across many young children who complain of back or neck pain. Therefore, under a medical model, it would rarely be appropriate for small children to be adjusted. However, if we consider the importance of a properly functioning nervous system in achieving and maintaining good health, and if you understand the relationship between chiropractic adjustments and the nervous system, it would make great sense to adjust children when there are spinal misalignments (subluxations).

After nearly 27 years of being a chiropractor, I’ve never witnessed any ill effects of chiropractic adjustments on even very young children. Yet I’ve seen many children helped significantly by them. My own children, and now my grand-daughter (shown above), are prime examples of this. I listened to other parents talking about how their children frequently got sick and suffered from earaches, sore throats and so on. It was extremely rare that we had to deal with anything like that. From the time that they were small babies, I checked them regularly and kept them in proper alignment. I don’t “pop” little baby’s necks or backs, but rather just apply very gentle specific pressure on the vertebrae. As the child gets bigger, I can do a little more. (A chiropractic adjustment does not require a “pop”, and certainly not all pops are specific enough to be considered an adjustment.)

I’ve often wished that adults would respond as quickly or dramatically as young children. Adults are generally healthier under chiropractic care as well, but often times, they have long-standing problems and many other complications that make the response slower and less extreme. I’m not saying that chiropractic is a cure-all and that children under regular care will never have any health problems. I hesitate to list conditions that chiropractic can help with. On the one extreme, I don’t want to promise that chiropractic will definitely help with any particular condition. At the other end of the spectrum, I don’t want to put limitations on it. The body is a wonderful and amazing creation. When nerve interference is the main problem, using chiropractic adjustments to reduce that interference can have fantastic results, especially on children, who are resilient and free from long-standing problems.

I highly recommend having children checked by a competent chiropractor. Chances are they’ll be much healthier for it. You can also refer to an article in USA Today for further thoughts on it.


3 Responses to “Should children get chiropractic adjustments?”

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