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Baby Chiropractic: Trend or Lasting Treatment?

When my husband threw his back out years ago, he started receiving chiropractic adjustments regularly to treat the inflammation and pain around his spine. Although he still kept his appointments with our regular family doctor, every time he saw his chiropractor he always left feeling more flexible and a lot less pain.

Seeing a chiropractor regularly can also improve other problems in your body that may seem unrelated to the spine. For example, if you have chronic migraines, sleep difficulties or attention problems, keeping your spine in a healthy alignment may help these issues improve over time. Think of your spine like a motherboard connected to all the nerves in your body. When your spine functions properly, all the other areas in your body will work better, too!

But, chiropractic care isn't just for grownups anymore. More parents are taking their babies in for regular treatments. According to the American Chiropractic Association, a 2009 survey data indicated that the percentage of chiropractic patients younger than 17 years old had increased by 8.5 percent since 1991. If your little one suffers from colic, had an especially difficult delivery, suffers from chronic ear infections or has special needs, chiropractic care could help them.

Baby Chiropractic Treatments and Benefits

As a parent, you might worry that if you take your baby to a chiropractor that someone will start pressing down really hard on your baby's delicate back. Seeing someone working on the spinal column of your little baby without understanding the process could trigger your protective instincts. In actuality, chiropractic care for babies and children involves using a very gentle type of treatment that carefully manipulates your baby's spine without causing injury or harm. Chiropractors often use specialized adjustment instruments in a mild and soothing way while targeting specific areas along your baby's spine that appear abnormal. Your chiropractor will not treat the cause of your baby's health problems but will simply help reduce stress caused by a misaligned spinal column so that your baby's body can function properly and heal more quickly.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, Sherman College of Chiropractic and Dr. Jason L. Skolar, chiropractic treatment may benefit children who suffer from:

  • Constipation
  • Bed wetting
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Immune deficiency issues
  • Difficult or medically induced birth
  • Birth defects
  • Failure to thrive
  • Weak latch and other nursing issues
  • Asthma and Allergies
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Trauma or injury
  • Recovery from an illness

Find the Right Doctor

Although you might think that chiropractic care will benefit your little one, you can feel more confident in your chiropractor by doing a little background research first. Make sure to locate a chiropractor who specializes in babies and children. Ask if he or she has a received a Certification in Chiropractic Pediatrics (CICCP). This postgraduate certification requires an additional 180 hours of specialized training in working with infants and children and ensures that the chiropractor understands how to properly handle your baby. You do not want anyone manipulating your baby's spine who has not been properly trained, so make sure to ask first!

The Flipside

Although the many supporters of pediatric chiropractic care claim that adjustments and spinal manipulation can help babies and children, many studies also exist that suggest that this type of treatment has no proof of providing benefits. According to studies published by the ​New England Journal of Medicine and the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, multiple clinical trials exist that demonstrate that colic, ear infections and asthma do not improve with chiropractic treatment. In fact, these studies suggest that manipulating the spines of prepubescent children could possibly damage vertebral cartilage and may even prevent spinal growth plates from developing properly. As a parent, you want to know all of the possible risks involved when it comes to seeking alternative medical treatments for your little ones. If you feel that your baby could benefit from seeing a pediatric chiropractor, make sure to do your research first.