I am often asked by patients if they should bring their children in for a spinal exam and adjustment. After I tell them that it would be an honor to care for their child, I am usually hit with a series of questions. Is it safe to adjust children? How old to they need to be before their first adjustment? Do children even need to be adjusted?
First, it is 100% safe for your child to be adjusted. Your chiropractor will likely use a different technique when adjusting your child as opposed to the way they adjust you.
In general, chiropractors take a much lighter and gentler approach when adjusting children, so you don’t need to worry about your chiropractor dropping their weight on top of your son or daughter. Also, their is little to no risk of injury to your child, and their growth will certainly not be stunted by an adjustment.
There is not a minimum age for a child to get their first adjustment. Personally, I was adjusted for the first time when I was three months old. Another chiropractor in our office adjusted one of their children immediately after they were born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck several times. When adjusting children this age, we are not looking for the “crack” typically associated with an adjustment. In this case, the adjustment relies much more on applying light pressure to the joint as opposed to making a thrust.
Finally, do kids even need to be adjusted? If you child is suffering from neck or back pain, then yes, they absolutely should be adjusted. Children respond much quicker to chiropractic care than adults, so it generally takes much less time to fix their problems. In adult patients, I often find that their pain is not the result of any single event, but is instead due to a combination of micro traumas over time. Many of these micro traumas could have occurred during childhood.
Consider all of the times that we fell when learning to walk or ride our bike. All of these minor falls can add up to cause spinal issues later in life. My point is, children put there bodies through a lot, so they should have their spine checked for any early signs of spinal misalignment. Fixing minor problems now goes a long way towards keeping them out of pain as they grow older.
Chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for children of all ages. Not only will it help children who are currently experiencing pain, but it can also help spinal problems from occurring in the future.