Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care for Children
The Chiropractic care that we provide is an effective and affordable program that addresses children's health conditions associated with the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Gentle, noninvasive and drug-free, chiropractic adjustments treat, resolve and prevent a wide range of health problems. Recent research by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) ICPA4Kids.org found spinal adjustments safe and successful in caring for children of all ages.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care and Acute Conditions in Children
Acute conditions may result from birth trauma, sports mishaps and accidental injury. Chiropractic care benefits children by correcting the spinal alignment to improve their overall health. When vertebral joints are misaligned (subluxated) during birth or from a blow or fall, muscle tissue and nerves may also be affected. Spinal adjustment frees joints, restores motion and balances and reorganizes the nervous system, which may be the cause of additional ailments. Parents report successful treatment of children's health issues such as acute earache, upper respiratory infection, muscle pain, neck pain and accident trauma.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care and Chronic Conditions in Children
Chiropractic America reports that natural, drug-free chiropractic care is sometimes more effective than traditional medical approaches for chronic earache, scoliosis, and neck pain. Headaches and sleep disorders of nonspecific causes respond well to spinal adjustments, which affect and repair interrupted neural pathways. The symptoms associated with asthma, allergies, and patterns of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder and autism spectrum disorder may also be helped with upper cervical chiropractic care.
How does Upper Cervical Pediatric care work?
Well, as is the case with so many questions, the response to this one is going to be multi-faceted. However, it will also have one recurring theme… and that recurring theme will be our focus on the Central Nervous System.
Anyone who knows anything about pediatric conditions knows that the nervous system is greatly affected and the challenges this brings about are responsible for many of the issues seen in children with autism, such as hyperactivity, attention issues, sleep challenges, behavior problems, social issues, sensory processing issues, and more. In addition, the nervous system is so intimately linked with the digestive and immune systems (the other two systems most commonly affected in autism) that it can also contribute to things such as bowel and bladder problems, autoimmune challenges, and more. From here on out we will look at these systems in a “triangular” sort of approach with the nervous system being the link between them.
Let us first start with possible ways the nervous system can be damaged or injured. There are numerous ways to discuss, so we will focus on the major one. The primary mode of injury we see in our office is what we term Traumatic Birth Injury. For many of these children their nervous systems have been damaged right from the outset due to this birth injury, or even prior to that due to in-utero constraint issues (i.e. breech positioning).
Unfortunately, in the United States we have levels of birth intervention that even the WHO has termed to be at “epidemic” levels, especially the use of Cesarean delivery. The WHO states that C-section rates around 10% are normal and necessary, while anything above 15-20% “likely does more harm than good” – in the US 33-50% C-section rates are the norm for most hospitals.
It must also be realized, that even most vaginal deliveries are now induced or “augmented” as well. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics showed an increase in autism later on in life for induced births, confirming what we’ve been talking about in pediatric chiropractic for a long, long time.
The area that is most commonly injured during the birth process is the upper neck and skull. The risk of injury to these areas, and the resultant issues from it, go up exponentially as intervention levels go up. C-sections, forceps, vacuum extraction, and prolonged pushing all lead to greater risk of traumatic birth injury to the infants head and neck.
Unfortunately, no one in the medical system is really trained to check (or address) these sorts of injuries, so most of the time they go completely unmentioned to the parents… If the injury were addressed by a pediatric or upper cervical chiropractor shortly after it occurred, most of the neurological injuries associated with it may be prevented. This is a vital first step.
Once that injury occurs, it can put pressure on the brain stem and spinal cord, as well as the spinal nerves in the vicinity. What is more, by creating a misalignment and joint fixation complex (subluxation) in the area, it leads to improper neurological “signaling” or “communication” into and out of the central nervous system. This challenge to the communication system of the body is one of the primary reasons so many children with autism have challenges with sensory processing, social interaction and behavior, and learning.
All of this eventually puts the nervous system into a chronic or permanent state of stress. This is often referred to as the stress response, or fight/flight response. It is a response that is vital for short term reactions, but detrimental when “stuck on” for extended periods of time. Most children with autism, ADD/ADHD and/or sensory processing disorder have been in fight/flight from their first moments. This is why we see such a high correlation with infantile colic, ear infections, digestive disorders, and autism.
Getting back to our triangle example, this chronic state of stress wreaks havoc on the immune and digestive systems as both of them are “down-regulated” during chronic states of stress. Speaking specifically about the digestive system, sustained neurological stress responses can lead to an increase in decreased motility, constriction, cramping, and inflammation. When the digestive system is in this state it does a very poor job of breaking down foods and other substances, leading to even further inflammation and irritation that can spill over into the bloodstream and cause an immune response.
The immune system faces the same challenges… when we are in a constant state of neurological stress the immune system dysfunctions and leaves a child susceptible to allergies, asthma, eczema, and other inflammatory type reactions. All of this leads to more and more inflammation and irritation, and the cycle continues. This is why so many of these reactions and challenges are what we refer to as “viscous cycles” that essentially continue to feed each other and lead to greater and greater challenges. Somewhere, this cycle must be broken, and that is where chiropractic adjustments come into play.
By addressing the injury and resultant upper cervical subluxation, a specific chiropractic adjustment restores proper balance and alignment to the neuro-spinal system, and thus can help restore balance and function to the central nervous system. Depending on the severity and duration these injuries have been present, sometimes repeated adjustments can create positive change in a step-by-step process that leads to an improvement in behavior, digestion, immunity, learning, sleep, and more. As I have stated many times before, the sooner we start, the better our chances of having success with such care.
In summary, most every child who enters our office (who has been previously diagnosed) has two major challenges at the root of their issues: An overstressed nervous system that is stuck on the “gas pedal” and thus in protection mode right from the beginning of life, or even before. Therefore an amazing quote by Dr. Bruce Lipton summarizes both the cause behind the issue, and if we really understand it, the solution as well. His quote states, “You can’t be in growth and protection at the same time.”
Translated to our analogy here, a child’s nervous system cannot be on the “gas pedal” (stress/protection) at the same time as it’s on the “brake pedal” (growth/development/organization/healing). A subluxation, specifically to the upper neck and brainstem area “locks in” the nervous system to that stress mode. A specifically trained Upper Cervical or Pediatric chiropractor is the only provider trained to find and locate that subluxation, and if found, correct and resolve it. Doing so is analogous to “pumping the brakes” and getting the growth, relaxation, and healing system working again!
We believe that when a family has a child who is challenged, the number one thing they need is someone who can support them and help them make the proper decisions. Unfortunately, despite the enormous growth in children’s health disorders, most pediatricians are quite lacking in their understanding of how neurology, nutrition, and toxicity play a role in it. Thankfully, Pediatric and Upper Cervical Chiropractors are experts in this area, and you can be rest assured that you will get the support and care your child needs to overcome these challenges and lead a bright and promising life!
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care and Prevention
Periodic ongoing adjustments at a young age may help stave off the above ailments before they begin. Proper spinal alignment now improves the immune system, optimizes growth and development in the critical years and may delay or prevent degenerative bone or joint disease, such as osteoarthritis. In addition to maintaining children's health, regular visits to our office will help instill the value of proactive health care in kids. They'll be more likely to monitor and manage their health as they grow up and less likely to be afraid or in denial of any health problems. Encouraging good lifelong health habits and showing children that health comes from within versus turning to an outside-in (turning to pills and drugs) is one of chiropractic's best benefits for kids.