People of all ages can enjoy chiropractic care at our office. Some times people are just unaware of how both pregnant women and children can benefit from chiropractic. Often areas that have been physically stressed from spinal trauma during labor and delivery and later with normal childhood activities. As the body is growing and changing, maintaining good spinal and nervous system health is especially important. We may naturally think to put ice on a bump or bandage on a bruise, but with balance of a growing skeleton may initially seem invisible. Chiropractic childhood spinal checkups are one way to identify and prevent some health conditions that they may later see as adults.
During pregnancy is a unique time when the body will change in dramatic ways within a relatively short period of time. That means a woman’s posture, weight, physiology is all challenged. In many cases I am working with a woman that has been symptom free prior to her pregnancy. During the months that follow a new pregnancy these are some of my general recommendations.
IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER
- I normally advise my patients to not change anything with their chiropractic routine
- Call in if you need to come sooner
- Take a high-quality prenatal vitamin and omega 3 supplement
- Continue or implement light to moderate exercise that makes you feel safe and empowered
IN THE SECOND TRIMESTER
- Be sure to book a chiropractic appointment in advance about 4 weeks apart
- Feel free to come sooner if you are having symptoms that make you uncomfortable
- Consider investing in a prenatal sacroiliac belt
- Schedule massage appointments with a therapist trained in treating pregnant women
- Continue with light to moderate exercise with more emphasis on modified core and hip strength
- Look into prenatal yoga classes that offers a supportive practice for your changing body
IN THE THIRD TRIMESTER
- Increase your chiropractic office visits to twice a month
- Call in if something shifts in your body or you have concerns about your baby being breached
- Decrease the intensity of your workouts
- Continue with prenatal massages and yoga practice
There are also specialized techniques that are often incorporated during the care of the pregnant patient. Webster Technique was created by Larry Webster, DC. He was the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and developed a specific protocol that addresses alignment of the sacrum and the way it can affect torsion of pelvic muscles and ligaments. It has been reported through both obstetric and chiropractic literature that the proper pelvic neuro-biomechanics can ease the birthing process and reduce intrauterine constraint. I usually begin using Webster Technique in the second trimester to ensure optimal fetal position and reduced round ligament pain. Really there are so many ways your chiropractor can support your pregnancy! Some of the other benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
- Reducing the spinal imbalances that may lead to painful conditions like sciatica
- Maintaining alignment that will support a regular exercise routine
- Decrease need for medications for common aches and pains like body stiffness and tension headaches
- Offering natural methods of addressing acid reflux
- Nutritional advise
- Reducing uterine constraint and round ligament pain
- Treating pubic symphysis pain
- A low cost and gentle form of self-care
IN THE FOURTH TRIMESTER (POST PARTUM)
Follow up care with your chiropractor in the Fourth Trimester can be extremely beneficial for both mother and baby. This is a time of transition where hormones are shifting and our connective tissue is healing. You may be sleep deprived and hurting in new places or you may have tremendous relief from aliments from during your pregnancy. Common post partum complaints include: headaches, neck and shoulder tension, upper and lower back pain. All chiropractic treatments, stretches and adjustments can be modified for the patients needs, even if you had a cesarean section. I encourage my patients to come as soon as they are ready.
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamins
- Schedule a chiropractic check up within the first 4 weeks
- Get outdoors when possible
- Consider establishing yourself with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
Common Questions About Children and Chiropractic
How effective is chiropractic care for children?
Most chiropractors, even those who do not specialize in pediatric chiropractic safely and effectively adjust both younger children and teens. Without efficacy, parents would have long ceased to seek out a doctor of chiropractic for their children. A 1992 survey showed that the most common conditions for which children visit a chiropractor are: earaches, neck pain, check-up, headache, upper respiratory, low back pain, allergies, asthma, enuresis, and thoracic pain. Other reasons are ADD and ADHD, colic, torticollis, insomnia, growing pains, and persistent crying in infants.
How do most children react to an adjustment?
Most children must become comfortable with their family chiropractor first. We often recommend that they come with you to an appointment and into the treatment room so that they have an opportunity to experience the relaxed environment and friendly staff. Both children and teens often laugh or smile when they have an adjustment. For an anxious child we usually try getting the parent involved by holding them or playing games. People are often surprised at the various techniques that are available to make the experience so easy and how their child looks forward to their visits.
Why should I bring my child for chiropractic care if they are not ‘sick’?
Chiropractors do not treat diseases, they help to correct spinal misalignments that can cause health problems. Through regular adjustments, counseling on proper nutrition, exercise, and posture, the chiropractor can help you raise a child who is structurally and functionally sound.
May people forget that the main cause for illness and injury in kids are accidents. They say that most of us will fall more before the age of 4 than any other time in the rest of your life. Another example of spinal stress include athletic activities. Think about how the “sack” of a quarterback could twist a young spine or how pitching a ball can throw a vertebra out of alignment. These underlying injuries, if left uncorrected, can cause serious problems as the child grows into adulthood. Your family chiropractor can also help improve performance on and off the field by helping the body to function at its best.
Through the lifecycle there are various stressors that can lead to imbalances in the body. When a chiropractor finds a vertebral subluxation in your child it is a response to a stressor. Unaddressed stress can and at some point will lead to an expression of symptoms. Here are some physical mental/emotional and chemical stressors in infants, children, and teens.
|PHYSICAL STRESS||MENTAL/EMOTIONAL STRESS||CHEMICAL STRESS|
|extended periods in baby seats||crying it out||toxic household products|
|separation anxiety||bullying||food dye|
|falls||sleep deprivation||hormones in food|
|posture from gaming, texting & tablets||pressure to succeed||incongruent foods|
When is the best time to start my child with chiropractic care?
This is a personal decision. I like to say if you want to give your child the best opportunity for healing you should consider a conservative, drugless approach to health care first. It is important to at least have a chiropractic exam during the first year of a child’s life as spinal trauma can occur during birth, as well as from tumbles while learning to sit up or walk. Don't forget, your child’s spine grows almost 50% in length during the first year. It’s this kind of tremendous growth and developmental changes which make a complete chiropractic examination so important in the early stages of a child’s life. I suggest to most patients to have their children checked at least once a years and to consider quarterly check ups to optimal spinal maintenance. Instead of allowing a child to grow into dysfunctional movement patterns or endure unnecessary stress on their nervous system it is better to identify small problems before they become big ones. The earlier a problem is corrected the less likelihood there is of it becoming a chronic or more serious problem later in life.