Whenever I introduce myself as a pediatric chiropractor I’m generally met with a look of confusion. And even though parents have been taking their kids to chiropractors for over 100 years, it still seems to be misunderstood. Let me be perfectly clear, I believe that every child should be taken to visit a chiropractor shortly after birth. If that seems odd to you, let me explain why your child might be due for a check up.
A recent study showed that rates of chronic childhood conditions, such as asthma and ADHD, more than doubled from 1994-2006. This study, which looked at data during a 12-year period, is now nearly 12 years old itself and rates have continued to rise. According to the CDC, 14% of boys between the age of 5-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD and 8% of all U.S. children have asthma. Although there are many studies to show this growing trend, most of us don’t need research studies to see what is happening to the children in our lives. Our kid’s health is in a steady decline and few researchers have come up with a convincing reason to explain it.
In my office, I have the opportunity every day to work with kids suffering from ADHD, asthma and many other common childhood issues. Getting to know these kids and their health history, I can’t help but to notice the prevalence of trauma in nearly all of their birth stories. These traumas include abnormal positioning in the uterus during pregnancy, stress to the spine and nervous system as the baby journeys through the birth canal and stress created in the delivery process. The more I work with these kids, the more I have started to see this as a common thread that links them together.
Giving birth, as beautiful an experience as it is, involves a lot of stress on the mother’s body. But it is very stressful for your baby as well. In a normal hospital birth, without significant complications an obstetrician uses between 60-90 lbs of force to pull the baby through the birth canal. And when the use of forceps, vacuum extraction or C-section are used, it requires even more force and all of that force is being applied to your baby’s head and neck. A German medical doctor, Dr. Gotfried Guttman, looked at 1,000 newborns and found that 80% of them had undiagnosed spinal injuries that had resulted in interference in nerve and immune system function. Furthermore, another study conducted in America found that at least 90% of babies they looked at had suffered some form of birth trauma that had resulted in a strain to the neck and cranial areas. Due to of all of the delicate neurological structures located in your child’s neck, injuries to this area can have lasting consequences throughout childhood. Because the nervous system is our body’s tool for reacting and interacting with the outside world, when it’s not at it’s best our body is unable to adapt to outside forces.
Whenever the spine, whose purpose is to protect the brain stem and spinal cord, experiences traumas, big or small, it can disrupt the flow of the nerves it is meant to protect. Chiropractors call these areas of nerve system disturbance “subluxation”. As a pediatric chiropractor, my objective is to check every child for nerve dysfunction (subluxation) that is created as a result of birth trauma, or trauma and stress after birth. Once a subluxation is found, I can correct it with a gentle adjustment, using very little pressure, similar to what you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato. These adjustments are not like what you may be used to, if you’ve been to a chiropractor yourself. Because your child’s spine is still developing, it isn’t necessary to turn or bend the neck and there is no “pop” or “crack” sound. These adjustments help to relieve the pressure to the nervous system and restore proper function.
Chiropractic care for kids is safe, effective and very important. If you feel like your child may have experienced trauma at birth or that they could benefit from being adjusted, please reach out and let me help or direct you to someone that can.
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