Chiropractic for kids, also known as Paediatric Chiropractic, is a safe and gentle therapy for children. Just as you wouldn’t give the same dose of medicine to your new-born as you would yourself; chiropractic is also varied in its approach towards children and does not involve cracking or crunching.
Our Paediatric Chiropractor, Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quintonwas an unsettled child struggling with sensory defensiveness, frequent headaches and learning difficulties. She has a passion for assisting kids lead a fun, creative and confident life by decreasing their pain, improving their posture and assisting brain development. She has tutored school kids and worked in paediatric chiropractic for almost ten years.
What assessments are performed?
Depending on the age, physical and neurological maturity and presenting complaint, a chiropractic assessment for a child may include:
- Thorough history of your child’s complaint and development;
- Postural assessment including standing, seated at their desk and sleeping;
- Movement pattern assessment including running, jumping, squatting and playing;
- Primitive reflexes and neurological maturity;
- Sensory patterns;
- Sensory and motor integration patterns; and
- Joints and muscles.
When performing the assessment, paediatric chiropractors are looking to answer:
- What is the cause of the concern?
- Is the way your child moves, eats, sleeps, etc contributing to the complaint?
- Is your child’s brain maturing/developing as would be expected for their age?
- Are there any restricted joints and tight muscles affecting their movement and development?
- Is chiropractic advisable for this child or if not, to whom should they be referred?
What treatment techniques are used?
It goes without saying that a 16 year-old is very different to a 16 month-old. As such, the techniques used are very different.
Each child is unique and requires a special approach. This may include a number of the following techniques depending on the child’s complaint and age:
- Cranial therapy;
- Gentle holds;
- Supplements and basic nutritional counseling;
- Low-force, non-cracking adjustments (Activator, blocks or drop piece table);
- Manual adjustments (only for mature bodies after thorough discussion with the child and parent);
- Home exercises or games to play to strengthen the core and encourage brain development; and
- Lifestyle advice such as sleep positions, pillows & mattresses; desk setup; or backpack posture.
Conditions commonly seen by paediatric chiropractors
Children present for a variety of reasons to chiropractic clinics around Australia and the world. Some of the reasons are:
- Slouching or poor posture
- Poor coordination
- Poor sleep due to pain
- Abnormal ‘W’ seated position
- Slow to reach developmental milestones
- Sports injuries
- Knee and hip pain
- Flat feet and knocked knees
- Playground rough and tumble, injuries, pains & check-ups
- Sleeping in weird and wonderful positions
- Falls from strollers, down the stairs or off the swings
Is chiropractic appropriate for babies as well?
Chiropractic care is tailored specifically to the patient, whether that’s days old babies or centenarians. Babies have fragile spines and bodies as well as a developing brain & nervous system. This is why they need specific, specialised care.
A baby seeing a chiropractor will often sleep through their session as the restricted joints are freed up. During the treatment, the pressure placed on the joints is no more than you would use on your own eyeball. It is gentle and soothing and will be demonstrated on you prior to any treatment being performed on your child. A lot of the time, parents remark: “is that it?” as the pressure applied is so light and comforting.
The birthing process can be traumatic, especially on babies’ developing bones and joints, which is why many parents bring their babies to a chiropractor. Other times, your baby may be experiencing:
- Feeding issues due to jaw or neck restrictions
- Sleeping difficulties due to pain
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia or floppy baby)
- General check-up of their neurological maturity (primitive reflexes)
- Crawling, rolling over or movement difficulties
- Flatness over one side of the head (plagiocephaly)
- Poor head control
Is Chiropractic for kids safe?
Oh - what a controversial topic! Yes, chiropractic for children is safe. We first perform a detailed history and examination to assess whether chiropractic may be beneficial or whether a referral is required. If chiropractic care is recommended, as explained earlier, it is a very different approach to typical adult chiropractic “cracks”.
Around 0.5 - 1% of children do exhibit some irritability after a treatment, most commonly lasting less than 24 hours. If manual adjustments are performed on an older child, there is a chance of pulling up a little tender, just like after a massage or going to play footy or netball after the off-season.
If you have specific questions, please feel free to call the clinic on 03 9326 2842 or email email@example.com.