This morning I was talking to a patient who will be keeping his 3 month granddaughter over the weekend so his daughter can get some R & R. I think that is so awesome. Even though the daughter has an engage partner, it's always good to get a break now and then.
My patient mentioned that the baby was having some stomach distress this morning and he hoped it was nothing significant and it would clear up. Of course, anyone would. It got me talking about my experience with chiropractic and children.
All my children got chiropractic care from birth on. They were rarely sick and almost never missed school due to illness. Even though they might not get regular care now, they have been healthy as adults as well. Only two of my three children ever had an ear infection and both were resolved through chiropractic care. There were a few times my daughter got antibiotics, when it was apparent the body was not going to handle the problem on it's own but for the most part, we reduced the interference to brain-body communication through chiropractic care and allowed the body to heal itself.
I've had the privilege to take care of children over the years, though not as much as I would like. There is precious little published studies about chiropractic care for children. This does not mean that chiropractic care is not effective in helping children have normal, healthy lives. It only means the studies haven't been done. There are some who would go so far as to hypothesize that chiropractic care should not be applied to children.
Chiropractic care for children is applied differently than care for adults because their spines are smaller and the bones are still ossifying, so a lot of times the care is much more gentle with a minimal application of force or even just a light touch.
In my practice I have experience some truly remarkable results from chiropractic care. I had a 7 year old come in who had chronic ear infections. He had used antibiotics and had tubes in his ears since age 6 months. The day after his first adjustment he saw the ENT. She was so surprised that she could not see fluid behind his ears that she did a tympanogram. The child continued to have good ear health after his course of care.
Another child I saw was a 3 month old who had been put on Omeprazole for excessive regurgitation. Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid in the stomach. The main reason you have stomach acid is digest proteins and to facilitate the absorption of minerals and B12 from our food. I think it is a travesty to prescribe Omeprazole to anyone especially a growing and developing infant.
Regurgitation occurs in babies partly because the diaphragm which helps keep contents of the stomach from going up into the esophagus is not fully developed. The right amount of acid in the stomach helps close the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
I gently adjusted the child's back between the shoulder blades and did a maneuver to help drag the stomach down. I showed the mom how to do the maneuver and put the baby on an infant probiotic. As far as I know the baby's regurgitation resolved and the parents did not need to give the child any more medication. The last contact I had was when the child was about 3 1/2 years old.
So while there is little published evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic care in children's conditions, remember, children have spines and nervous systems just like adults do. The nervous system must be free from interference to allow for proper communication between the brain and all parts of the body and back. While children, especially infants don't usually complain of back pain, they can still have nerve irritation at the spine causing other symptoms such as earache which can be helped through chiropractic care.