Parents frequently ask, “Is chiropractic care safe for kids?”
As every parent who falls into bed at night feeling completely exhausted well understands, children are active creatures, prone to accidents, scrapes, and tumbles. Even without factoring in team or individual sports, kids constantly manage to get hurt. Athletic involvement increases children’s risk of injury or misalignment by a lot, whether in contact sports like football or soccer, or even individual sports like dance and figure skating.
Chiropractors who perform care for infants, children, and teenagers will say that their touch is gentle, even gentler than usual, on children whose bodies are still developing.
Some medical experts express concern about the safety of chiropractic care for children and cite studies that show it can cause damage. In one article from the World Chiropractic Alliance, researchers criticized a study that only found nine cases of adverse effects to report, saying it “may have caused unfounded concerns about the safety of chiropractic care for children.” When children account for more than 30 million chiropractic visits per year, the study only cited nine adverse instances, so setting off alarm bells was unnecessary, the researchers said.
Chiropractic care is generally regarded as one of the safest options for medical care because it is non-invasive and drug-free. In addition, chiropractic care is always tailored to the specific patient – so in the case of children, chiropractors are especially aware of the child’s stage in life and specific needs.
Parents take children to the chiropractor for many reasons, including to improve neural plasticity, strengthen their child’s immunity, encourage good spinal posture, assist with asthma and allergies, help with behavioral issues, and improve their child’s overall health and wellbeing. Therapy for sports-related injuries is another main reason parents take their children or teenagers to chiropractors.
What about babies?
Chiropractic care for babies and toddlers is a more often debated subject. ABC News did a segment on chiropractic care for children a few years ago where they interviewed a Manhattan chiropractor who performs adjustments on babies, and she said she is always more gentle with babies.
According to a 2011 article from CBS news, around two million children receive chiropractic care every year. Chiropractors say that adjustments can help children who are born with spinal problems from birth. Although critics of spinal manipulation for very young children disagree, most chiropractors will tell you that the adjustments they make on babies or toddlers are very, very gentle.
There’s always a risk
As with every form of medical treatment, chiropractic care is a risk and should be evaluated as such. There have been cases in which children received adverse effects of chiropractic care. Parents should certainly consider this when deciding to pursue chiropractic treatment, and perform some research on the typical success of chiropractic care for their child’s health issue. Colic, for example, can be treated with chiropractic care, as can bedwetting, teething, and asthma, but parents should talk to chiropractors about any potential risks or adverse side effects if this doesn’t seem like a good idea to them.
But every visit to any doctor is a risk, and chiropractic care as an option for children should only be ruled out for good reason, as it has proven time and time again to be effective for children. When considering taking children of any age to the chiropractor, make sure you choose a doctor who has experience treating children, has a great reputation, and has the required qualifications and education – just as you would when considering treatment from any other medical expert.
Brooke McDonald writes for the Roseville Chiropractors at the Minnesota Spine & Sports Chiropractic. She frequently writes on medical topics and enjoys learning about health and wellness.