As parents themselves, pediatric chiropractors Dr. Katie Sleigh, Dr. Quintin Sleigh, and Dr. Nicole Brashier use a gentle, nurturing approach to keep your child’s spine healthy and treat other “normal” childhood conditions, such as allergies, asthma, ear infections, colic, digestive problems, and more.
Many people wonder why kids need to see a chiropractor when they do not complain of aches or pains. To understand the need for pediatric chiropractic care, we first need to discuss the birthing process, which is extremely difficult not just for mom but also for baby. Whether born vaginally or through a c-section, newborns are almost always pulled out by the medical provider at the head and neck. In fact, more than 80% of infants suffer trauma to the cervical spine at the time of birth, directly impacting how their nervous system functions. This trauma causes misalignments of the bones of the neck, creating stress on the nervous system, switching it from the parasympathetic mode (resting mode) to the sympathetic mode (protective mode). When left untreated, kids become more susceptible to colic, reflux, ear infections, difficulty sleeping, constipation, torticollis, allergies, delayed milestones, and so much more.
Pediatric chiropractic care removes misalignments of the spine, switching the nervous system into the parasympathetic mode (resting and calming mode), allowing kids to grow, learn, and develop optimally. It is an excellent natural, non-invasive remedy for many developmental issues, childhood illnesses, and injuries. Many parents choose to continue the maintenance of chiropractic care to ensure proper growth and development in their kids, especially as they begin learning new skills. As kids start learning new milestones, they tend to tumble and often fall, which can create subluxations or misalignments in the spine leading to altered nervous system function.
The Best Time for a Child to See a Chiropractor
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How We Treat Kids At Each Stage In Their Development
Newborn/Infant Chiropractic (Birth to First Month)
The birthing process can be very stressful for both mom and baby and is commonly the cause of your baby’s first subluxation – a misalignment in the spine that creates stress on the nervous system. Whether born vaginally or through a c-section, newborns are almost always pulled out by the medical provider at the head and neck. In fact, more than 80% of infants suffer trauma to the cervical spine at the time of birth, directly impacting how their nervous system functions. The resulting stress on the nervous system switches it from the parasympathetic mode (resting mode) into the sympathetic mode (protective, flight or fight mode). This means babies will have difficulty doing the three things they are supposed to do: eat, sleep, and poop.
At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, we believe having your newborn examined by a pediatric chiropractor is essential. Chiropractic care is extremely gentle and very specific for little ones. Most babies actually sleep through the entire adjustment. An infant adjustment looks very different than an adjustment for an adult. The amount of pressure used is about the pressure you would feel comfortable putting on your eyeball. The goal of pediatric chiropractic care is to remove misalignments within the spine, reducing stress on the nervous system and switching it back into resting mode. This allows your little one to grow and develop just as they should.
Chiropractic for Toddlers (1-3 Years)
Throughout development, kids are constantly growing and learning; as they hit their milestones, they fall and tumble quite often. These falls and tumbles create misalignments in the spine, but deeper than that, they create stress on the nervous system, causing it to switch from a resting mode (parasympathetic mode) into a flight or fight, protective mode (sympathetic mode).
The nervous system controls and coordinates every cell and function of the body. When your child’s nervous system is stressed, they will not likely complain of back pain, neck pain, or headaches like many adults experience. Instead, your child may have chronic ear infections, difficulty sleeping, constipation, sensory issues, or hyperactivity.
Pediatric chiropractic care for toddlers is very gentle and specific, and many times parents are shocked at how still their children will lie for their adjustments. Our chiropractors at Sleigh Family Chiropractic focus on relieving the stress and tension on your child’s nervous system so they can function as best as possible.
School Age (5-12 Years)
Not only can starting school be stressful emotionally, but it also can create physical stress on kids’ bodies. Carrying heavy backpacks and sitting for long periods are two common causes of subluxations in children. A subluxation is an area of the spine that isn’t moving properly or aligned correctly, resulting in a lack of proper nervous system function.
When kids are subluxated, their nervous system is stuck in the sympathetic or protective mode. You can imagine this as having your foot stuck on the gas pedal of a car. The nervous system is in overdrive and cannot slow down. Chiropractic adjustments improve the spine’s proper alignment and cause the nervous system to switch back to the parasympathetic or the resting mode, allowing kids to grow, develop and learn properly.
There are many common symptoms that school-aged kids experience that may be the result of improper nervous system function, including headaches, anxiety, inability to focus, difficulty sleeping, and digestive issues. Since the nervous system controls every part of the body, the symptoms that a child experiences can vary. Pediatric chiropractic care is a safe, natural, and effective way to help many common ailments in school-aged children.
Common Childhood Conditions We Help in Arlington Heights, IL
Starting to breastfeed is not always a smooth and enjoyable process. Many women experience pain with breastfeeding, which can lead to worry and frustration. The issue often stems from the bones of the neck not functioning as they should. When this happens, it may be more difficult for your little one to turn their head in both directions and latch properly on both sides. Many moms whose babies have dysfunction in their neck tell us that their baby prefers feeding on one breast more than the other. Another reason you could be experiencing pain or difficulty breastfeeding is due to the development of your baby’s palate and jaw.
Our chiropractors are trained in safe and gentle pediatric chiropractic techniques that focus on restoring motion into the bones of the neck and aligning the jaw and palate. Using these techniques, we have helped many infants have a better, more comfortable latch.
Reflux is a very common condition in babies. Typically it presents as arching of the back during or right after feeding, coughing or gagging, or irritability after feeding. Reflux can arise when subluxations or misalignments of the bones of the spine are present. This happens during the birthing process from the force placed on the baby’s head and neck as the medical provider pulls them out. When subluxations are present, it causes stress on the nervous system, which means the nerves going to the stomach cannot function as they should, creating reflux. Pediatric chiropractic care for babies is very gentle and specific. It removes subluxations, reducing pressure on the nerves and allowing your baby’s little body to function the best it can. This, in turn, resolves reflux.
Colic is also known as consistent, intense crying for no apparent reason. The common signs include baby crying suddenly and intensely for no reason, difficulty sleeping, change in posture including clenched fists with legs pulled up, and crying that lasts three hours and occurs three days a week over a three-week period.
Many times colic arises from digestive issues, including a buildup of gas or terrible stomach pain. Parents are often told that their child will ‘grow out of it.’ But to a parent whose child is suffering from colic, each day feels torturous. Many parents don’t know that there is a safe and effective way to alleviate colic for their baby.
Research has shown that chiropractic care has a 94% success rate in treating colic. Pediatric chiropractors, like ours at Sleigh Family Chiropractic, are trained to find and reduce nervous system tension and stress, which helps your baby feel more relaxed and comfortable by allowing their body to function as it should. Many parents of colicky infants report that they were shocked at how much their colicky baby slept after their first adjustment.
Issues With Crawling, Standing, or Other Movements
It can be stressful for parents when a child falls behind the typical timing for achieving motor skills. When our kids are young, we encourage tummy time to increase muscle strength and promote head control. Then we encourage crawling to begin the formation of spinal curves and solidify the cross-patterning of the nervous system. And then, under normal circumstances, our children start walking before we know it. But what happens if your child doesn’t smoothly go through these stages of development?
Pediatric chiropractic care is an excellent treatment for kids who experience delayed milestones. When subluxations, or misalignments, are present within the spine, it causes the nervous system to switch from the parasympathetic mode (the resting and learning mode) to the sympathetic mode (protective mode). In the sympathetic mode, they cannot take in new information or learn the new skills needed to achieve each milestone. In addition, subluxations interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. Your child’s brain may be telling their body to crawl or roll over, but the interference in communication prevents that from happening.
An evaluation by a pediatric chiropractor is the only way to determine if your child has any subluxations. Chiropractic care removes subluxations, taking the pressure off the nervous system and allowing your child’s body to work the best it can. Chiropractic care helps children achieve their milestones by switching the nervous system back into the parasympathetic mode and allowing free communication from the brain to the body. Kids can then take in and process new information, learn new skills, and achieve their milestones.
How Chiropractic Care Helps Kids Walk
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Approximately 5-28% of children suffer from constipation, beginning soon after birth and continuing into development. Constipation often arises from joints of the lower back not functioning as they should, putting pressure on the nervous system. We call this a subluxation. The digestive system is directly controlled by the nervous system, with the nerves in the lower back traveling to the bowels.
When there is a subluxation in the lower back, creating stress on the nerves that control the digestive system, digestion shuts down, and tummy troubles, constipation, reflux, bloating, gas, or irritable bowel syndrome can arise. Suppositories and laxatives are often recommended as a treatment for constipation, but these do not resolve the problem at hand. They are temporarily hiding the symptoms. Pediatric chiropractic care ensures proper motion of the spine’s bones, taking pressure off the nerves and restoring your child’s digestion. In fact, one of the most immediate responses to chiropractic care in children is having a bowel movement.
Constipation Relief for Kids
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Over 80% of kids get an ear infection before age 3. Most ear infections are viral, so antibiotic medications are not always necessary or effective. Often, ear infections arise from subluxations or misalignments within the top bones of the neck. This puts pressure on the nerves that travel to the ear. When these nerves are not able to function correctly, the ear is not able to drain. This leads to a buildup of fluid within the ear canal and potentially an infection. Pediatric chiropractic care ensures proper alignment and motion in the bones of the neck, allowing the nerves that flow to the ear to function and the ears to drain properly.
How Chiropractic Care Stops Childhood Ear Infections
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Torticollis occurs in infants due to baby positioning in utero or due to a difficult birth. During the birthing process, there is a lot of stress on the head and neck as the baby is pulled out by the medical provider. This leads to misalignments or fixations within the bones of the neck and stress on the nervous system. Torticollis typically presents with a head tilt to one side, head rotation to one side, flattening of the head on one side, and difficulty breastfeeding on one breast. Pediatric chiropractic care removes misalignments within the bones of the spine, taking pressure off the nerves and allowing your baby to regain full motion within the neck. There are also specific techniques that ensure proper motion in the cranial bones, which can reduce any flattening that might be present.
Anxiety is the sensation of worry or nervousness. You might wonder how chiropractic care can help with anxiety, but anxiety is directly related to the brain and the nervous system. When there are subluxations or misalignments within the spine (which can be caused by poor posture, repetitive motions, falls, and mental stress), the nervous system switches to the sympathetic mode (fight or flight/protective mode). This causes the part of the brain that controls emotions to work in overdrive. Information taken into the brain is perceived as dangerous, creating anxiety symptoms. Pediatric chiropractic care is a great natural form of treatment for anxiety. Chiropractic adjustments reduce stress on the nervous system and switch it back into the parasympathetic mode (rest and digest mode), allowing your body to function optimally.
Sleep is so essential for a child’s physical and emotional development. Stress on the nervous system switches the body into the sympathetic or flight or flight/protective mode. When the nervous system is working in sympathetic overdrive, it is difficult for your child to relax, rest, and sleep. Gentle chiropractic adjustments reduce stress on the nervous system and switch it back to parasympathetic mode. Thus, your child will be able to rest and relax more easily, leading to better sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic safe for a child?
Chiropractic care is very safe for children of all ages. All of the doctors here at Sleigh Family Chiropractic have undergone extensive training in specific treatment techniques for your little one. Chiropractic adjustments on kids are very gentle and very specific.
When should you take children to a pediatric chiropractor?
Subluxations or misalignments of the spine commonly begin during the birthing process, so the sooner you have your child examined by a pediatric chiropractor, the better. If left untreated, you may notice signs of difficulty sleeping, colic, reflux, constipation, and gas in your little one.
How do I know if my baby needs a pediatric chiropractor?
All babies should be evaluated by a pediatric chiropractor soon after birth. The reason for this is that the birthing process creates a lot of physical and emotional stress on your little one. It is during the birthing process which the first subluxation commonly arises. If left untreated, you may notice that your little one may be experiencing gas, colic, reflux, constipation, or difficulty sleeping.
Is pediatric chiropractic the same as chiropractic for adults?
Pediatric chiropractic is very different from chiropractic for adults. The overall goal of restoring motion into joints that cannot function as they should and reducing stress on the nervous system is the same, but the technique we use to adjust is very different. Adjustments on kids are very gentle and very specific. We use the pressure you would use to check a ripe tomato without denting it. When choosing our office, you can be sure your child is getting the best care.
Should a child see a chiropractor for ear infections before putting tubes in their ears?
Chiropractic care for ear infections is a great first step. Often, ear infections can arise from subluxations or misalignments within the top bones of the neck. This puts pressure on the nerves that travel to the ear. When these nerves cannot function correctly, the ear cannot drain fluid, leading to a buildup of fluid within the ear and ear infections. Chiropractic care ensures proper alignment and motion in the bones of the neck, allowing the nerves that flow to the ear to function so that the ears drain properly, potentially eliminating the need for tubes. We believe in always trying the least invasive option first. So we encourage parents to try chiropractic care before putting their child through the surgery to put tubes in their ears.