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Chiropractic for Children

Most responsible parents realize the importance of regular checkups for their child’s teeth, eyes, ears, nose and throat, but few think of checking the health of their spine. Ironically, a spinal checkup is probably one of most important your child can have.

The spine is the lifeline of the body: running through it is the spinal cord, a cable-like structure containing billions of nerve fibers whose job it is to send messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and vice versa, in order to ensure the body’s correct functioning.

It is during a child’s formative years that the spine is at its most vulnerable. Even before it is born, a baby’s head, neck and back is placed under a lot of stress as it moves within the womb. This trauma is often further increased during the birth process, especially if this is prolonged, breach or involves a forceps delivery.

Underlying damage

As your child grows up and learns to walk, play and run, the inevitable falls and bumps will often further affect the developing bones of the spine and skull. During their school years, repetitive activities such as carrying a heavy bag laden with books, slouching over a desk to study, sitting on a badly-designed chair and participating in a variety of vigorous sporting activities can also result in underlying damage to your child’s spine.

What’s the damage?

The reality is that these frequent stresses and injuries often result in your child unconsciously tightening the muscles in his/her neck and back, which, over a period of time, gradually forces the bones of the spine out of their normal position.

Whilst usually imperceptible at the time, if left untreated this can lead to problems in later life, including back pain and migraines, and, in the most extreme cases, spinal deformities such as scoliosis (an ‘s’ shaped curvature) and premature osteoarthritis.In addition, these spinal misalignments often place pressure on the nerves surrounding them, (a process known as ‘subluxation’) which can lead to irritation and malfunctioning.

The result is a general weakening of the body and a lowered resistance to disease. Specific neurological disorders may also occur including: asthma, prolonged crying, colic, sleep and feeding problems, breathing difficulties, enuresis (bedwetting) and frequent infection. In order to prevent these future problems, you should take action now.

What to expect from a chiropractic treatment

When you take your baby or child to visit a chiropractor, he or she will take a thorough medical history and conduct several (non-invasive) neurological and orthopaedic tests to determine any possible malfunctions.

Treatment then consists of a series of gentle adjustments to the parts of the spine which are misaligned, as your practitioner aims to remove any nerve stress and return the body to a state of ‘wellness’. Your chiropractor may also give you nutritional and postural advice.

Possible signs that your child should visit a chiropractor:


  • A traumatic birth, especially if forceps were used or if breach birth
  • Unbalanced facial and skull symmetry
  • Inability to suck properly
  • Frequent (inexplicable) crying
  • Failing to develop common reflexes such as lifting his/her head

Toddlers/Young Children:

  • Developing strange mannerisms such as walking lop-sidedly, foot inversion, not using or ‘holding’ a limb awkwardly, inability to turn their neck to one side, etc.
  • A noticeably curved spine (scoliosis)
  • Complaining of frequent pins and needles
  • Nervousness, bed-wetting or sleep problems
  • Frequent ear, nose and throat infections
  • Asthma
  • Colic

All of these conditions can be improved or alleviated through chiropractic treatment.

Damage limitation: how to ensure your children’s spines stay strong and healthy:

  1. Take your children for regular spinal checkups.
  2. Help them to find a sport that they enjoy and are able to play regularly.
  3. Teach your children to stand and sit up straight.
  4. Encourage them to stretch regularly.
  5. Ensure that your children have a good quality, firm mattress and get enough sleep.
  6. Enforce set meal times and explain to your children the importance of eating a wholesome, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
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