Your child may recover from bumps and everyday stresses completely unmarked, but these minor “knocks of life” can significantly affect the still developing spine.
As your child grows, and starts to walk, run, climb, or ride a bike, the inevitable falls and bumps impose stress on the spine. Even minor spinal trauma caused by, for example, improper lifting of the child out of a car seat, can impair the nervous system and interfere with your child’s normal healthy function.
Why Spinal Check-ups are Important
Spinal check-ups are important because many childhood health conditions may be the result of malfunction caused by spine-related problems and stress on the nervous system.
Neglected spinal issues in children can lead to more serious problems into adulthood, which become more difficult to correct. Regular spinal check-ups with a wellness chiropractor allow for early detection of spinal problems, as well as monitoring of healthy growth and development.
When to Visit
As with most things, it is best to treat a child’s spine as early as possible, as misalignments in the spine interfere with nerves that control developing muscles and organs. It is ideal to have a “well-baby check-up” right after birth to ensure a healthy spine.
Spinal and nervous stress can occur even before a baby even enters the world. If a baby’s position in the womb is restricted or compromised, physical stress on the nervous system and spine can occur. Further, the process of childbirth itself can impose significant stress to a still developing fragile spine.
Signs of Misalignments/Subluxations
It is always recommended to take preventative measures when it comes to spinal check-ups and not wait until your child is in pain.
However, here some signs indicating that your child may have a spinal misalignment/subluxation and that a spinal check-up is strongly recommended:
• Head tilt to one side
• Restricted motion of the head to one side
• Difficulty breastfeeding due to limited neck movement or a poor latch
• Altered sleeping patterns
• Changes in appetite
• Tugging on one or both ears
• Colic or long periods of constant, inconsolable crying
• Change in behaviour (withdrawn or aggressive)
The Spinal Check-up Stages
We addressed why wellness spinal check-ups are important for infants, but spinal check-ups are important at every stage of development – for the toddler, pre-school, and school-aged phases.
Toddlers: Toddlers are very active, moving quickly from their first steps to walking, running, jumping, climbing, kicking…you name it! Their physical development is affected by the formation of new motor patterns, changes in foods and environment overstimulation. Spinal check-ups are a must at this age to scan for distortions caused by the stress of their fast-paced movements and developmental changes.
Pre-Schoolers: At this stage, children are being exposed to more environmental stressors such as watching more TV, processed foods, medications/antibiotics and environmental toxins. Their physical movements have graduated to more intensive activities like bicycling, skateboarding, balancing and playground play. New environmental stressors combined with increased physical activity leave the spine and nervous system susceptible to interferences.
School-Aged Children: School-aged children are facing different new kinds of physical stresses on the body such as organized sports, more extracurricular activities, prolonged sitting in school and more exposure to technology. Their nervous system may also be impacted by the heightened school and social pressures.
Wellness Media. Chiropractic and Kids: Your Child’s Way to Wellness [Pamphlet]. Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia: Wellness Media Resources.