Chiropractic for Children, Babies and Pregnant Women
Chiropractic is a health care system that does not use drugs – an important consideration particularly during pregnancy. The many physical and chemical changes in a woman's body at this time can aggravate existing spinal problems, and can also make the spine and pelvis unstable through the relaxation of the ligaments. Together with the postural changes likely to occur as a result of increased body weight, pain in the lower back, buttocks, groin and legs is common during pregnancy.
Chiropractic care can help to correct any restricted joint movement and maintain spinal balance, as well as ensuring that the pelvis is correctly aligned – both before and after your baby is born. Your chiropractor may also advise you on how to exercise to improve your spinal health. Women may find their labour shorter and experience less discomfort if they have received chiropractic care, and many return after the physical stress of childbirth for checkups for themselves and their children.
Birth and early infancy can sometimes be a very difficult and traumatic time for both mother and baby. After the baby's head has engaged, usually during the eighth month of pregnancy, there can be a lot of stress on its head and back as it continues to move within the womb. This stress can increase further during the birth process, particularly if it is prolonged or involves breech presentation or forceps delivery. As the child grows up and starts to walk, climb and run, the inevitable falls and bumps can affect the still-developing bones of the spine and skull. Once at school, the child carries heavy bags, sits on badly-designed chairs and participates in a variety of sporting activities.
These stresses and injuries can result in the tightening of muscles in the neck or back, so causing the bones of the spine to lose their normal motion or position. This can irritate or put stress onto the nerve roots that branch from the spinal cord to the organs and tissues of the body. In babies and young children this, in turn, may lead to symptoms including:
- Prolonged crying
- Sleep and feeding problems
- Breathing difficulties
Instead of treating the symptoms with drugs, or assuming that the child will 'grow out of it', the chiropractor will gently adjust a child's spine to remove the nerve stress and return his/her body to healthy healing.
When you or your child attends a clinic for chiropractic treatment, your practitioner will take a thorough medical history and will conduct standard neurological and orthopaedic tests to determine whether spinal motion is normal. Treatment normally consists of gentle adjustments to the parts of the spine which are not moving properly; your chiropractor will use modified techniques to ensure comfort and safety for pregnant woman and children. They can be used safely in the later stages of pregnancy, and even during labour. The chiropractor may also give you advice about diet, posture and other aspects of lifestyle.
You get your children's teeth and eyes checked regularly, so why not their spines too?