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Children and Chiropractic

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It is never too early to start Chiropractic!

Spinal pain is usually thought to be the problem of adults, so most people ignore the fact that children and babies, even newborn, can also be affected by symptoms arising in the spinal column.

Qualified chiropractors are experts in diagnosing spinal dysfunction, and are therefore able to identify specific areas that may be causing the problem and then treat the spine of your child.

For children, very gentle painless adjustments and other techniques are used to realign articulations that are not working properly. If children with spinal problems are treated in early stages of development and given regular check ups, they can avoid many problems which arise in early adulthood.

According to Dr. Larry Webster, there are seven moments during the first year of life when an examination of the spine is particularly important:

  1. Soon after birth
  2. When the baby begins to hold up his head
  3. When the baby starts to sit alone
  4. When crawling begins
  5. When baby starts to stand alone
  6. When walking starts
  7. After any kind of trauma

A spinal check up of your child’s spine ensures a  better resistance to illness and a healthier neuromuscular system. People are generally more used to dental check ups, than spinal check ups, although in many ways a healthy, well aligned spine without dysfunction is at least as important as healthy teeth.

Here is a list of some of the signs that indicate that your child’s spine may be not functioning properly:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Infantile colic
  • Continual tiredness
  • A raised shoulder
  • Shoulder blades which stick out
  • Hyperactivity
  • Frequent falls
  • Joint pain
  • Uneven walking or shoe wear and tear
  • Turned or angulated neck
  • One leg shorter than the other
  • Anxiousness

We, as chiropractors do not treat specific diseases or problems outlined above, but many of these problems improve completely when the spine is treated and the nervous system is in order. All children deserve to grow up with their spines in excellent condition and to enjoy a full and healthy childhood.

“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

Making sure that your child has the best possible start in life is something we all wish.  Have you had your child’s spine and nervous system being examined recently?

Common conditions that Chiropractors care for:

Infants:

  • KISS syndrome
  • Colic
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent Ear Infections
  • Some respiratory conditions

KISS syndrome – The baby in this video was suffering from KISS syndrome. The baby couldn’t turn her head/neck to the right, she always looked left. She was distressed after being fed, wasn’t eating much, couldn’t burp, showed pain and discomfort in bowel movements and was not sleeping much. Dr. Pamela Leader found out that the baby had a C curvature in spine, she started a course of chiropractic treatments, this video shows gentle palpation of the neck to help correct the neck and spine.  Dr. Pamela also used various forms of chiropractic treatment to help the baby. After several treatments the baby was able to turn her head to the right and all other symptoms improved drastically.

WARNING: Always take your baby to a qualified Chiropractor or Orthopedist, please do not try to perform any treatments yourself. Dr. Pamela Leader has 20 years of experience as a qualified chiropractor.

  Children:

  • Bed wetting
  • Frequent Colds
  • Growing Pains or painful joints
  • Headaches
  • Poor Concentration/ADHD
  • Postural Problems
  • Scoliosis
  • Sinus Problems
  • Stomach Aches or Poor Appetite

Bedwetting or Nocturnal Enuresis

Few parents realise that bedwetting after the age of 4-5 years old can impact self-esteem of a child greatly, causing feeling of shame, guilt, embarrassment and impaired social skills. Especially when the child starts having sleepovers away from home with friends or family.

At Chiropractic Dubai our doctors know that a child’s inability to stay dry at night may be a sign of an underlying problem. We approach these cases with sensitivity and compassion. While chiropractic is not a treatment for bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis), many children have been helped by using gentle chiropractic care.

One distressed mother brought her 4 year old daughter to our clinic for bedwetting. Dr. Pamela looked at the child’s medical history: having a normal birth the child suffered from frequent colds and had a mild asthmatic cough.  After a chiropractic examination, Dr. Pamela found the child had a reduced curve in her lumbar spine, Left C1 translation in the upper neck and muscle spasm in the back. An indication that this could be affecting the nerves for bladder control.

There are two important muscles that control emptying the bladder called the detrusor and trigone muscles. Nerves that exit the spinal column in the lower back and sacrum control these muscles. During the early years of life, the sacrum has five separate segments. Later, they fuse together to form the triangular-shaped bone that adults have at the base of the spine. If these segments misalign through falling, learning to walk, riding a bike for example, they can compromise nerves responsible for bladder function.

We use gentle chiropractic treatment to reduce these misalignments focusing on the nervous system control which helps restore regulation of the bladder. After few gentle chiropractic treatments the little girl started showing some signs of improvement but was still irregular with bedwetting, then after the sixth treatment her mother reported that the child’s bed wetting had noticeably reduced. By the eight chiropractic treatment her mother was so happy to report that her child had no bed wetting incidents and she really noticed the positive difference this was having on her child.

If your child is suffering from bedwetting past the age of 4 years old, it is wise to get your child’s spine checked out by a chiropractor to help correct the source of any possible problem. (see medical research below).

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curving of the spine, often taking on an “S” shape when viewed from a persons back.  Normally the spine should appear straight from looking at a person in the back.  People suffering from scoliosis may have symptoms ranging from abnormal posture, breathing problems, fatigue when standing or sitting, digestive problems, heart condition and neck and back pain.   For some patients, symptoms of scoliosis can go undetected, but even a mild case can lead to abnormalities in the function of spinal nerves, discs, vertebrae and ligaments which can then become a problem later on in life.

Chiropractors are uniquely trained to help control, reduce or correct abnormalities associated with scoliosis.  With Chiropractic treatment, early detection of scoliosis may avoid the need for costly future surgery or braces.

Do you or your child have scoliosis?

Make the following observations of your or your child’s back:

  1. Is one shoulder higher than the other?
  2. One shoulder blade more prominent (may be higher or stick out more)?
  3. With the arms hanging down beside the body, is there more room between one arm and then body on one side?
  4. One hip higher than the other?
  5. Head tilted to one side?

If you notice anything uneven about your child’s posture, have them checked by one of our chiropractors to see if any treatment is required.

“Text Neck”

A problem showing in teenagers and adults alike is “text neck”.  Too much texting or looking down at a mobile device such as a cell phone or mp3 player, can put unnecessary strain on your neck muscles.  Having your head flexed forward while looking down at the screen on a hand-held device for long periods of time can cause the bones and muscles of the spine to adapt to that posture and functional changes happen.  This can cause a many problems including headaches, poor posture, tingling and numbness in hands. Chiropractic adjustments and healthy back advice are essential to combat our often unhealthy habits.

BackPacks

Children today carry heavy backpacks going to and from school.  Research shows that a person should never carry more than 10% of their total body weight on their back and that carrying a backpack weighing more than 15% of body weight changes all the postural angles in preadolescent children.

Recently, we have noticed a new “cool” way of wearing backpacks, which dictates that the straps must be as long as possible. The backpack ends up looking more like a bottom pack, resulting in the child having to lean forward in a bent posture to carry the load. Imagine the long term damage this could cause to the developing spine and joints. During our “Save our spines” campaign we will be distributing T shirts with this cartoon for children who get their spines checked. Also available as a free gift, while in stock in our office for children between 5 and 12.

Studies have documented reduced disc height and greater lumbar asymmetry for common backpack loads in children.  If not corrected, this can cause spinal problems for life as the child matures with improper biomechanics of the spine.  So weigh your child’s backpack and make sure they are only carrying the necessary items to school and get their spine checked regularly, especially if they complain of pain or you can see poor postural habits developing.

Infantile colic

What is Infantile colic?

In times gone by it was simply called indigestion, but these days there are various criteria which specify this condition. It was never quite clear exactly what it was, nor how to treat it. The clearest definition used to be “crying with no reason” in the newborn baby up to three months of age. This crying usually lasts three hours a day or more, for more than three days a week and continues for three weeks or longer, normally in the afternoon or evening.

It has been estimated that between 8% and 49% of babies suffer from this colic during the first months of life, with an estimated average of 22%. Normally, the condition resolves without treatment at the age of around 3 months; although research has shown that it can persist until six or twelve months, causing enormous stress and frustration to both the child and his or her family.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is the excessive crying, multiple crying bouts or hours of crying without apparent reason. Some say that the tone of the crying is higher than normal crying. Other symptoms include: motor agitation such as flexing the legs toward the tummy, extending the trunk, legs or arms and tightly gripped hands.

How can we help you as chiropractors?

Chiropractors have been treating babies with colic for many decades now, but a recent Danish research trial (1999) has clearly illustrated the benefits of chiropractic, which has proved to be   safe and effective. The effects of spinal manipulation were contrasted with the standard medical treatment for this condition; a medicine for indigestion called dimethicone. Chiropractic manipulation causes spinal reflexes which can positively affect the movement of the contents of the intestines, whereas the dimethicone is said to decrease intestinal gas production.

The study included 316 children at the age of up to one year old who had symptoms of infantile colic. After the first treatment from a chiropractor there was a dramatic reduction in the colic, which was cut to about half the original crying time and by the end of twelve days treatment, the success rate was 66% decrease in hours with colic. There were also no adverse side effects reported. The medical treatment had about half the reduction, but there was a large drop out rate due to the babies having worsening colic.

Neurophysiologists have made detailed explanations about the possible reasons chiropractic helps relieve colic, and in short they follow these 3 possibilities:

  1. Pain in the joints of the spine simulates and is mistaken for abdominal pain. Correction of the purely spinal problem brings relief.
  2. Probably, in most cases, a gastrointestinal problem is initiated by pain and other results of joint dysfunction. Pain in nerve roots originating in the spine causes reflexes which alter the function of the intestines, causing gastrointestinal pain. Correcting the spinal restriction which initiated the vertebral joint pain relieves the symptoms.
  3. A relatively mild bout of indigestion produces a reflex spinal muscle spasm and spinal joint dysfunction. Spinal reflexes aggravate the gastrointestinal disorder, producing the discomfort that initiates the crying response. Correction of the spinal problem again brings relief.

The latest Danish trial is convincing because of its scientific rigor and because it confirms earlier findings. The treatment period was kept short (3 to 4 treatments), to exclude the possibility of spontaneous remission of symptoms, but better results are found in practice when slightly more treatments are given.

It should be remembered that from parents’ point of view, the chiropractor may appear to be treating symptoms, in this case colic. In fact, the chiropractor is simply treating the spine to improve its function which thereby relieves intestinal symptoms. This example of infantile colic may be a very significant factor in many disorders remote from the spine which are present due to changed biomechanics, referred pain and other neurophysiology. For infantile colic, this study has shown the logic and success of chiropractic treatment for a condition once thought to have had other origins.

The Chiropractic Report November 1999, Vol 13, No 6.
Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J. and Nilsson N.
The Short-Term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomised Controlled Trial with a Blinded Observer. J Manipulative Physiol Therapy, 1999:22(8):517-522.

OTHER REFERENCE for Infantile Colic

  • Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J, Nilsson N. The short term effect of spinal manipolation in the treatment of infantile colic: a randomised controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer. Journal of Manipolative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1999:22(8), pp517-522.
  • Barr RG, Rotman A, Yaremko J, et al. The crying of infants with colic: a controlled empirical description. Pediatrics 1992:90, pp14-21.
  • Rubin SP; Predergast M. Infantile colic: incidence and treatment in a Norfolk community. Child Care Health Dev. 1984:10(4), pp219.226.
  • Stahlberg MR. Infantile colic: occurrence and risk factors. Europrean Journal of Pediatrics 1984:143, pp108-111.
  • Parkin PC, Schwarz CJ, Manuel B A. Randomised controlled trial of three interventions in the management of persistent crying of infancy. Pediatrics 1993:92 (2), pp197-201.
  • Klougart N, Nilsson N, Jacobsen J, Infantile colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases. . Journal of Manipolative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1989: 12(4), pp281-88.
  • Biedermann H, Kinematic imbalance due to suboccipital strain in newborns. Journal of Manual Medicine 1992:6, pp151-56.
  • Nilsson N. Infantile colic and chiropractic. European Journal of Chiropractic 1985:33, pp264-65.
  • Hewson P, Oberklaid F, Menahem S. Infantile colic, distress and crying. Clin Pediatrics 1987:26(2), pp69-76.
  • Moesgaard K, Rasmussen LR. Children in Danish chiropractic clinics: a descriptive questionnaire study. European Journal of Chiropractic. 1989:37, pp117-124.
  • Bedwetting research:
  • Chiropractic treatment for primary Nocturnal Enuresis, 11 patients. There was a 66% resolution rate within 1 year in 33 consecutive children and teenagers. (JMPT Aug 2009).
    • A study of 46 children received chiropractic care for a 10-week period. A quarter of those receiving chiropractic care had 50% or more reduction in the wet night frequency, while none amongst the control group saw a reduction. (JMPT 1994 (Nov-Dec);17 (9): 596-600 )
    • Children with a history of persistent bed-wetting received eight chiropractic adjustments. Number of wet nights fell from seven per week to four. (JMPT 1991 (Feb);14 (2): 110-115)
    • The lumbar spine of an eight-year-old male bed wetter was adjusted once and at a one-month follow-up. There was a complete resolution of enuresis. “This happened in a manner that could not be attributed to time or placebo effect.” (JMPT 1994 (Jun);17 (5): 335-338)