Sharp opinions, questions, and myths surround the topic of chiropractic care for infants, children, and adolescents. The facts are that:
1. Children from infancy to adolescence may have significant spine, joint, and developmental disorders.
2. The best medical evidence supports chiropractic care for a range of joint and spine problems at every stage of life.
3. Through a combination of core training and continuing education, doctors of chiropractic are uniquely positioned to provide this type of pediatric care.
Despite the facts, myths still abound. Here are the top 4 myths of pediatric chiropractic.
Myth 1. Children don’t have pain like adults do.
Scientific reports show that low back pain often begins in childhood. 10% of children aged 9–10 have been reported to suffer from it with 2% of schoolchildren experiencing disability because of it. 20% to 51% of school children have one or more episodes of low back pain.
With regard to headaches, the prevalence in pediatric populations are as high as 80–90% over the past year in schoolchildren and ranging downward to 23% in 10–17 year-olds.
Pain from joints and muscle problems in kids younger than 6 years old is hard to study, yet problems in developing infants can result in other common difficulties such as: infantile torticollis, scoliosis, breastfeeding difficulty, delay of motor development, and skull asymmetry.
Myth 2. Kids don’t need chiropractic care.
The amount of growth and neurological development from age 0-4 is astonishing. Balanced joint motion, muscle tone, and activity allow one’s lifelong movement system to develop well. Additionally, the last major growth spurt usually occurs from age 11-14, which is a crucial time for recognizing scoliosis. Thus, prevention and early detection of spine and joint problems should be the first priority for pediatric healthcare. In general, doctors of chiropractic support patients with conservative/manual therapies, nutrition, health education, and healthy lifestyle changes. This pro-active approach to healthcare is most effective in the early years.
Myth 3. Chiropractic treatment may be dangerous for infants and children.
The first problem with this myth is the conflation of “chiropractic care” and “chiropractic manipulation therapy.” While chiropractic care is a broad category, chiropractic manipulation therapy (CMT) is a specific form of manual therapy. The most widely known form of CMT involves a “popping sound” when joints are treated. CMT, when applied by a trained health professional is relatively safe with regard to the benefits, risks, and alternatives. The anatomy and physiology of children changes the way treatments should be administered. The most important thing to do is discuss treatments with your doctor of chiropractic.
Myth 4. Chiropractic doctors don’t have the necessary training to treat kids.
Following four years of undergraduate college education (including biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, and psychology), four to five academic years of professional chiropractic study are the standard. Clinical subjects are related to evaluating and caring for patients. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training. Chiropractic college curriculum includes an average of 4,800 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. Before they are allowed to practice, doctors of chiropractic must pass national board examinations and become state-licensed.
The chiropractic physicians at Cole Pain Therapy Group have post-graduate, specialty training in a variety of fields, and coordinate care with pediatricians and pediatric specialists as appropriate for each individual’s needs.