Chiropractic care may be the first treatment you seek when your back hurts, but there are several common problems that can be solved naturally with the help of your chiropractor. Even children can benefit from chiropractic treatments. There is also more than one way to adjust the human body. Chiropractors learn many techniques during their training and use the most appropriate, depending on the patient. Contrary to common belief, many chiropractic adjustment techniques are gentle—gentle enough to use on babies.
Chiropractic Care for Babies
Birth trauma is a very common reason to visit a chiropractor with a newborn. In case the idea concerns you, adjustments for babies require only slight finger pressure. If your baby is cranky, colicky or not nursing evenly (preference for one side during breastfeeding), he could need a chiropractic adjustment. You see, when babies are delivered (even during Caesarians), they are pulled out and into the world. This tugging can cause rotation of the baby’s head or an imbalance in the shoulders, which then cause misalignment and discomfort.
The spine encases the spinal cord, which connects all the nerves in the body to the brain. Nerves are also connected to all the organs. Misalignments in the spine affect the communication between the brain and the spinal column. When proper alignment is restored by a chiropractic adjustment, normal function is restored. This is why misalignment in a baby can present as digestive upset or general crankiness.
For newborns, as soon as you’re released from the hospital and cleared by your doctor, arrange to check in with your chiropractor to ensure your baby’s head, neck, shoulders, hips and spine are aligned to prevent unnecessary discomfort. Adjustments early on also help prevent ear infections, which we’ll talk about next.
Chiropractic to Prevent Ear Infections
Did you know that the ear drums of young children are situated more horizontally than in adults? This horizontal orientation makes it harder for the ear to drain; that’s why kids get ear infections more often than adults. The bones of the upper neck (right below the skull) are very movable. When the bones of the upper neck are out of place, this causes the head to tilt. You might even notice your child holding his head at an angle! You might also notice that your child gets ear infections in the same ear. This can be a sign that the neck bones are out of alignment. Chiropractic adjustments correct the tilt and allow the ears to drain naturally. As kids learn to walk, fall down and generally act like kids, misalignments will happen. Regular chiropractic care for kids is a wise preventative move.
Chiropractic Care for Headaches & Migraines
Headaches and migraines can be triggered by circulation issues. The muscles that wrap around the back of the head extend down through the neck and shoulders. In fact, your trapezius muscles (yes, the ones that get those knots in them) eventually attach to the base of your skull. Hunching over a computer and constantly looking down at your smart phone are activities that stress your muscles and cause misalignments as they constantly contract and compensate. This causes limited range of motion or pain as the muscles pull to one side or the other and pull the skeletal structure out of place. Chiropractic adjustments return balance to the body, which relaxes the muscles of the shoulders, neck and lower skull. The relaxation of the muscles may mean alleviation of headaches and migraines. That said, your headaches or migraines may be the result of a combination of factors. Which is why it’s beneficial to have a chiropractor who practices functional medicine, or is able to refer you to a respected integrative physician.
Chiropractic Care for Joint Pain
The leg bone’s connected to the . . . knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the . . . ankle bone . . . This silly tune is not that far off base. It has been shown that arthritis and other inflammatory conditions are improved by mobilization of the joints. In other words . . . movement! Your joints connect your bones; therefore, proper alignment of your bones will ensure your joints don’t have to compensate for misalignments in painful ways. Of course, chiropractic treatments can help with that.
However, there is another way to help inflammatory joint conditions, and that is through laser therapy. A laser uses red and near-infrared wavelengths of light to increase the circulation in the affected area. When you increase circulation, water, oxygen and nutrients are drawn to the inflamed area, creating an optimal healing environment. Laser therapy has been used by physical therapists, nurses and doctors in Europe since 1970. The FDA cleared laser therapy for use in the United States in 2002. Many chiropractors use laser therapy in conjunction with adjustments for optimal healing. Studies have shown laser therapy can help with:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Tennis Elbow
- Ligament and Muscle Strains
- Repetitive Stress Injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Shoulder, Back and Knee Pain
- Sports Injuries
- Auto and Work-Related Injuries
Chiropractic has been in use for over 100 years; however, it seems that our current way of life presents us with even more ways to take advantage of the healing options available. In fact, more and more young adults in their 20’s are beginning to exhibit “dowager humps” and rounded shoulders from the bad posture effected by today’s lifestyle habits. It’s happening to both sexes, but girls are more prone. Telling your kids to “sit up straight” is needed more than ever before!
Ask your chiropractor how he or she can help. You may be surprised by all the good chiropractic care can do.
Image of Baby Copyright: artranq / 123RF Stock Photo