Local chiropractor urges routine spinal checks for children
Brighton and Hove chiropractor, Rebecca Nicholas, of Back 2 Balance is backing calls from a national organisation that parents should consider regular spinal checks for their infants and children. The United Chiropractic Association (UCA), which has 600 members in the UK and abroad, says the spinal checks should be thought of in exactly the same way as dental checks.
The UCA is highlighting the health benefits to children as part of its 2017 Spinal Awareness Week on 15-19 May. The campaign – Checking Future Adults …Today! – points to research where parents reported unexpected improvements in their child’s health after having chiropractic care.
UCA executive board member Dr Jonathan Clarke says despite it being shown that spinal checks can contribute towards children maintaining a healthy body, most parents don’t know about the benefits: “It’s an awareness issue,” he said. “Parents will get their kids’ teeth, eyes and hearing checked as a matter of course; these are standard. But they don’t get the spine checked.”
“This could be because people think of chiropractic as a treatment for symptoms or conditions. This isn’t the case. Chiropractic isn’t symptom-based. It’s about enabling the individual – in this case the child – to function at their best.”
“It should be common place for you as a parent to have your child’s spine checked so that they can keep their nervous system at its optimum for life. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to be super-human. But what it does do is set them up to be their very best so they are able to cope with whatever life throws at them. Let’s give them the best chance to do that,” he added.
Rebecca Nicholas, who runs her own practice in Hove, agrees and explained exactly why chiropractic works so well for youngsters:
“Humans are very mobile creatures by nature and children are notoriously active! Falls and knocks are part of everyday life for children, in general play or in sport. These have the potential to impact on the bones of the body, including the spine. Regular check-ups would see if there’s anything going on that might affect their health and gentle adjustments would be done only where necessary.”
She goes on to say “There have been recent cases nationally of children presenting with RSI caused by using game consoles and of young people displaying early signs of hunch back through over-use of mobile devices and the UCA says members are noticing postural changes in teenagers: The aim of regular check-ups is to prevent that,” said Rebecca Nicholas. She has even written some interesting blogs on the matter.
The UCA is also highlighting how maintaining a healthy nervous system – the brain and spinal cord –benefits not just the spine, but overall health. Research led by the US-based International Chiropractic Pediatric Association looked at the effect of chiropractic care on 812 boys and girls aged from just a few hours old to 18 years. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with 717 showing an improvement with their presenting symptoms. Seventy-four cases also reported improvements unrelated to their presenting complaints and described an increased range of motion, better sleep, improved immune function and improved patient mood. No treatment-related complications were reported.
Some parents are choosing to have their infants checked as soon as possible after they’re born –within 2-4 hours in some cases. Dr Clarke explained why: “Huge forces are applied to the baby at the point of delivery, even during a relatively straightforward birth. This force places potential stress on the spinal cord, the upper cervical area and the cranium. Where intervention is necessary, the forces applied are even greater. Anything from 40-80 lbs of pressure is applied to a baby’s head and neck during delivery.”
“It’s important to make clear that these procedures save countless mothers’ and babies’ lives every day. It’s wonderful. But little or no consideration is given to what impact these interventions have had on the developing nervous system of your brand new baby. To believe it has no impact is wrong. Add to which, the baby’s head is turned up to 180 degrees during the birthing process.”
If any adjustment is needed, Dr Clarke says the pressure applied is minimal: “It is completely safe and natural. Chiropractors are trained to detect and where necessary correct problems with the upper neck that may have resulted from these procedures, therefore helping your little ones heal and recover from such traumatic starts. The touch is very gentle so it takes no more pressure than checking the ripeness of a tomato.”
If you decide to book an initial appointment, the chiropractor will go through your child’s health history such as the birthing process, developmental milestones and sleeping patterns. The chiropractor may also test for muscle strength and movement. At the follow-up appointment, the chiropractor will explain the findings from the initial examination and you are then able to make an informed choice on whether or not to proceed.
Back 2 Balance is reserving some appointments for mini postural checks for children under 16 years of age all week (15-20th May). Just call 01273 206868 to reserve your child their first check up.