Recent press reports concerning children and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines have re-opened discussions on the levels of medical intervention our children require. An Associated Press report in October of 2008 claimed 7,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to complications or reactions from OTC medications. Drug companies reported that such medicines were ineffective in children less than four years of age, often with dangerous side effects.
Conflicting reports on the efficacy of such remedial health care increases confusion about how to treat and protect the fragile nature of a child’s developing body. One trend sees parents seeking symptomatic relief from chiropractors for children with common ailments like ear infections, asthma, headaches, and colic. In this way, it is easy to understand how individuals might misinterpret how chiropractic care affects our musculoskeletal and nervous system’s ability to promote general health.
General practitioners are trained to assess and treat such common ailments, and should be allowed so to do. In turn, a Doctor of Chiropractic knows the symptoms and associated complications of spinal neurology and neuro-muscular stress. The primary reason for wanting children to visit such a professional is the prevention or treatment of known conditions that can benefit from specific adjustments.
Children are not adults, and should not be treated as such. Administering adult-strength medications, even in smaller doses, can have serious complications. By the same token, children do not have unique physiological characteristics that accelerate their healing process. Their bodies simply haven’t had the opportunity to develop sufficient antibodies and disease-fighting abilities that adults take for granted when they ail. Knowing this helps us understand why children seem to get sick more often.
The dominant chiropractic concern for children is upper cervical specific subluxation, which concerns the misalignment of the first two vertebrae in the neck, which can contribute to neurological dysfunction. The potential for these traumas begin at birth, since labor sometimes stresses the spine and especially the upper neck of a newborn baby. Such stressors increase the potential for nerve damage or other misalignments later in life.
It is not unusual for parents to bring an infant to an upper cervical specific chiropractor. More importantly, as the child advances through growing pains and puberty, the likelihood that such initial trauma may be complicated by accidents and “growing pains” through adolescence increases dramatically. Minor subluxations accumulate over time, just like hairline cracks in eggshells compromise the integrity of an egg.
Most parents rarely consider a chiropractic evaluation for their child until a trauma is experienced, a sports injury, for example. Often, initial chiropractic assessment may reveal dormant traumas that have no symptoms, but may require additional chiropractic support to reverse. These realities raise the level of awareness parents should consider for their child’s overall health.
Should nature be allowed to take its course? In terms of chiropractic care and nervous system health, perhaps not. Some measure of prevention is certainly worth many times its weight in post-traumatic cure. Despite debate on the efficacy of such, one opinion regarding kids and chiropractic is universal, that such procedures are safe and effective for children, as much, if not more, than they are for adults.
New warning given on cold medicine for kids, Associated Press, October 8, 2008.
Why Should Children Have Chiropractic Care?, Jeanne Ohm, D.C., located at http://www.icpa4kids.org/why/whychiro.htm