We are often asked by our patients, "Should I get my child adjusted?" The answer is always a resounding YES. Dr. Loomis has been adjusted since he was born, so he experienced the benefits of a healthy nervous system as he grew up. He was rarely sick as a child and has only needed antibiotics twice his entire life! Restoring health and function to the nervous system in children has a realm of benefits we will discuss here in this blog, one of them being a strengthened immune system.
Statistically, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ most recent practice analysis found that about 17% of chiropractic patients were under age 18, with 7.7% of all chiropractic patients being 5 years old or younger.1 Chiropractors are treating almost twenty percent of their patient population as kids! We want to see that number grow each year as parents are educated about the safety and benefits of getting their children adjusted, thus creating a healthier next generation of adults than we have today.
The biggest misconception surrounding pediatric chiropractic care is that it’s not safe. It is not a criticism of concerned parents - it’s lack of knowledge and awareness about how safe adjustments are for children. Chiropractors have been adjusting children’s spines since chiropractic was first established.
2 In a practice-based study of 577 children, it was found that of the 5438 office visits, there were only 3 instances where adverse effects where observed.3 To put that in perspective for you, that’s only about a 0.00055% chance of occurrence. A separate review found and estimate of 0.53%-1% mild adverse events for pediatric chiropractic manipulations.1 In fact, a check through the largest insurance carriers that provide malpractice insurance coverage for chiropractors in the U.S. showed that there hasn’t been a single claim filed for injury to a child in the last 5 years.2 In fact, chiropractors have the lowest rate for malpractice insurance of all primary health care providers in the United States. And this rate does not change if they are adjusting babies or adults.1
If that’s not enough, here’s the most amazing research study we found:
A 2007 meta analysis of peer-reviewed literature by Vohra et al. found nine serious adverse events and five mild to moderate adverse events over a 110 year period of any physician performing spinal manipulation on children. That's 14 adverse reactions out of millions of adjustments over 110 years! In contrast, an average of 585,000 pediatric adverse drug events requiring medical attention occur each year. 1
The takeaway with the research is: chiropractic care for children is incredibly safe and beneficial for children!
An unfortunate fact is that most people wait until they’re in pain to seek out chiropractic care. When it comes to infants though, it’s difficult to discern if a child is in pain. Crying is their only way to communicate hunger, fatigue or discomfort, and parents get exasperated trying to decipher the type of cries their babies make. The first month of life is the period where mortality is highest in infants, so it’s crucial to have your child monitored continuously.4 Pediatric chiropractic care can help to take the tension off from day one, allowing for optimal growth and development.1 It helps relieve a variety of symptoms associated with colic, torticollis, ear infections, bedwetting, speech delays, sleep issues, attention problems, asthma, allergies, and more! The spine can be shifted out of alignment while your child is still in the womb if the baby gets stuck in the same position for a prolonged period of time. Dr. Emily Watters, DC, who practices in Portland’s Whole Mama Whole Child chiropractic and craniosacral clinic had an interesting way of putting it. Think of it this way, “if you were stuck in one position for 2 months, wouldn’t you be hurting too?”1
One of the most common reasons children visit a chiropractor is chronic ear infection.1 “With babies, their eustachian tubes are flat and therefore don't drain easily, hence the reason why so many children under age 1 get chronic ear infections. “Chiropractic adjustments help the canals drain appropriately and prevent infection from ever occurring,” says Dr. Lance Loomis of Carney Chiropractic Center. When the muscles around the eustachian tubes are spasming, it can close down the tube’s opening, trapping fluid. Chiropractic care improves ear infections by reducing those muscle spasms, allowing fluids to drain properly.1
As quoted by Dr. Jennifer Brocker, DC, a pediatric chiropractor in Portland, Oregon, “you can improve their quality of life by keeping their system moving and allowing their nervous system to work the best it can, so their body can reach its fullest potential.”1
Most likely, you and your child are not going to receive the same chiropractic adjustment. The technique has to be altered because the newborn spine is composed primarily of cartilage,4 increasing flexibility within the joint. Also, there’s a much smaller surface area that’s being targeted.1 The adjustments need to be faster, the contacts smaller, and the thrust more shallow with less force.1 Also, sometimes joints are mobilized rather than manipulated. Children’s bodies respond quickly to care and typically only require a few adjustments to restore normal function.2
Although conditions like reflux, colic, gait training and other developmental issues can resolve quickly and naturally with gentle chiropractic adjustments, we encourage parents to get their children adjusted regularly for wellness care to prevent illness and injury in the future. “Getting a child adjusted every 6-8 weeks allows their nervous system to develop the way God intended, and can prevent injury illness and injury throughout their life,” says Dr. Loomis. “Especially the way kids use technology, they should be having their chiropractic teach them proper posture when interacting with screens while checking their cervical spine development - an ounce of prevention today can make a world of difference for them as they grow.”
Dr. Loomis is experienced and certified in pediatric care for children. Call us today at 410-882-0720 to schedule your child an appointment! This month only, we offer parents their first pediatric adjustment FREE under our KIDSTART promo. Start their school year off right with a healthy nervous system.
Shaw, G. (2016, April 19) Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic. Retrieved From https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/ACA-News-Archive/ArtMID/5721/ArticleID/165/Safety-and-Effectiveness-of-Pediatric-Chiropractic
Fysh, P. (1994, July 29) A Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic Care for Children. Dynamic Chiropractic, 12(16). Retrieved From https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=41406
Alcantara, J., Ohm, J., & Kunz, D. (2009, Sept). The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore, 5(5), 290-295. Retrieved From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19733815
Vallone, S., P. Fysh, and L. Tanis. “First do no harm-chiropractic care and the newborn.” J Clin Chiropr Pediatr 10.2 (2009): 647-654. http://jccponline.com/jccp_v10_n2.pdf#page=10