When it comes to chiropractic care, there are some significant differences in how a doctor will treat a child, versus how they’d handle an adult.
This makes sense, given that there are some substantial differences between a child’s body and an adult’s body, and they both need different things.
Despite that truth, virtually all patients can benefit from proper spinal care. Regardless of whether a person is 8 or 80 years old, good spinal care and tailored adjustments can help promote excellent health and a sense of overall well-being.
If your child has recently been involved in a bicycle injury, for example, here are a few things you should know about chiropractic care, and what a chiropractor can do to help.
Why is Chiropractic care so Good for Children?
Children’s bodies are changing all the time. Because of this, they tend to respond faster and more completely to chiropractic care. A child’s body is very elastic and, generally, hasn’t been exposed to the same extent of injury and abuse as, say, an 80-year old’s body.
That said, some children don’t recognize the signs of orthopedic injury, which means parents need to watch for “tells.” These “tells” may include postural changes (a child who suddenly hunches, for example, or a baby who will only breastfeed on one side), sudden balance issues, or complaints of pain in areas like the back and neck.
While childrens’ spines are mobile, this can work for and against them. The mobility is an excellent factor when it comes to chiropractic care, and means that younger patients are very likely to experience positive, long-term effects after their treatments. But it also means that children may be more prone to spinal injuries than adults, who have less fluid spinal structures than their younger counterparts.
Need more evidence that pediatric chiropractic care can have outstanding benefits? Here’s what the American Chiropractic Association has to say about the practice:
“According to CAA, there are more than 1 million pediatric visits to doctors of chiropractic in Australia each year. Research indicates there is also significant utilization in the United States; a 2007 study in the journal Pediatrics estimated that there are 30 million pediatric chiropractic visits annually.1 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously reported that chiropractic was the most common form of doctor-directed complementary or alternative medicine used by U.S. children.2
The safety of pediatric chiropractic care is supported in scientific literature. A 2008 study of 781 pediatric patients under three years of age (73 percent of whom were under 13 weeks) who received a total of 5,242 chiropractic treatments at a teaching clinic over a three-year period found no serious adverse events.3”
The organization goes on to say the following:
“The practice of chiropractic in the United States, as in Australia, is regulated to protect patients of all ages. State chiropractic boards in the U.S. issue practice guidelines to DCs on a variety of subjects. Likewise, the Chiropractic Board of Australia has established codes and guidelines for practitioners to ensure that treatment of pediatric patients is appropriate and safe. We are confident the Board can render an appropriate decision in the case at hand based on its previously published guidance.”
3 Ways Chiropractic Care Helps Kids Grow
Here are a few of the standard benefits of chiropractic care for kids:
- Better Sleep. Because chiropractic care can relieve tension, discomfort, and dysfunction caused by injuries and pain, kids who undergo regular chiropractic care may fall asleep and stay asleep easier.
- Improved Attitude. Anyone who has dealt with an overtired or uncomfortable child knows it’s not fun for anyone involved. By reducing tension in the neurological system and treating subluxations, though, chiropractic care can create better attitudes and behavior in children.
- Improved Immune Function. Chiropractic care creates better immune function in children. Since young patients have relatively immature immune systems, subluxations can easily impaired neurological function and make it hard for a child’s body to fight off bugs and germs. Correcting said misalignments will go a long way to support effective immune function in children.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care After a Bicycle Accident
One minute, your child was cruising along, as happy as could be. The next, they were coming into contact with hard, unforgiving concrete. If your child has suffered through a bike accident, both you and the child know the experience can be scary and painful.
In some cases, bike accidents lead to nothing more severe than some bumps and bruises. In others, though, they create real and long-lasting structural damage that can cause ongoing pain. This is where a chiropractor comes in.
The truth of childhood is that bike accidents happen. The process of learning to zip around on these fun, two-wheeled vehicles is exciting, but it can be dangerous. And because bikes don’t stay upright on their own, learning to ride one requires balance and, yes, spills.
When a child falls off, crashes, or loses control of a bike, injuries can take place. Commonly, these injuries are spinal or joint injuries that result from the hard impact of the bike hitting the ground. In addition to hurting for an extended period, these injuries can have long-lasting effects on your child’s mental health and wellbeing.
Sure, scrapes and bruises will heal on their own. But it’s essential to ensure you’re seeking out professional care for more severe conditions, such as chiropractic and orthopedic injuries.
What the Doctor Recommends: 3 Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
Now that you know how vital chiropractic care can be for children let’s talk about what a doctor will recommend for a child who has just been in a bicycle accident. Here are a few must-dos to keep your child happy and healthy:
1. Take a Break From Physical Activity
Even if the bike wreck wasn’t serious, there might be underlying bone or tissue soreness that can get worse if the child doesn’t cease activity for a while.
With this in mind, children should generally take about two days (or more if the injury was severe) off of physical activity after an accident. This allows some time for both psychological and physical recovery to take place, and for the child’s body to return to a state of normal after a somewhat traumatic experience.
If your child is very reticent to take a break from physical activity, consider incentivizing the break and offering your child a treat or a reward for staying quiet for a few days.
2. Invest in Protective Gear
If your child isn’t already wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and gloves when he or she rides, they should be. With that in mind, now is the time to invest in new (or better) safety equipment.
Helmets are essential to protect a child’s skull and brain, and protective gear, in general, can go a long way toward preventing injury, absorbing shock, and keeping your child healthy as they maintain their standard activity levels. If you’re not sure how protective gear is supposed to fit your child, head to your nearest sports store and speak with a professional. That professional will be able to guide you toward the gear that will best protect your child.
3. Focus on Wellness
Once there has been one chiropractic injury, your child is more prone to additional injuries. With this in mind, consider establishing an ongoing chiropractic adjustment schedule for your child. This can help resolve pain, promote health and wellbeing, and ensure that your child isn’t growing with misalignments and discomfort.
If you’re not familiar with the practice of pediatric chiropractic care, talk with your local chiropractor. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you understand why chiropractic care can be so helpful for children, especially.
Getting Your Child the Care He or She Needs
If your child is going to learn to ride a bike, they’re going to fall off every now and again. While this is to be expected, ensuring your little one gets the proper care in the wake of those accidents is essential.
Although there are many ways to approach said care, chiropractic services are a great foundational option. Designed to help resolve pain and soreness in the muscles and joints, good pediatric chiropractic care can help promote mobility and ensure ongoing flexibility in your child’s growing body. To learn more about pediatric chiropractic care and how it can help your child recover from that nasty bike wreck, contact our offices today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and help you schedule your first appointment today!
Dr Francis Murphy is a National Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic and a Longtime resident of Northeast Arkansas. He graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in 1995 and moved back to Jonesboro to serve the community in both his clinic and by becoming a community activist. He is deeply involved in the Jonesboro Lions Club and with the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce Community Outreach Program.