A child encounters many physical stresses during their growing years. The resulting problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth. One of the most common reasons for parents to seek chiropractic care for their child is physical trauma from an injury of some sort. The spinal misalignments that may occur at the time of the injury will not necessarily result in immediate pain or symptoms. In addition to physical stress, parents should be aware that emotional and chemical stress affect the child’s nervous system and may also warrant a spinal checkup.
The earliest challenge a growing spine faces is the position it is forced to adopt in utero. If this position is less than optimal, it can result in a longer and more difficult trip through the birth canal, which can compound the spinal problems. In this way, even natural birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system—not to mention interventions such as induction, forceps, or cesarean section. The latter (which account for an alarmingly large percentage of births in the U.S.), while appear to offer a less traumatic birth for the child, can actually create additional traumas and compromises to the infant’s future health and well-being.
The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be traced to nerve system irritation caused by spinal misalignments. Since significant spinal trauma can occur at, or prior to birth, many parents elect to have their newborn’s spine checked right after birth. Many developmental milestones such as learning to hold up the head, sitting upright, crawling, and walking are all activities that are affected by spinal alignment and are important times to have a child checked by a pediatric chiropractor. Additionally, falls, sports injuries, playground bumps, heavy school bags and sitting all day in the classroom are all physical stresses to the growing child’s spine and nervous system.