Most of us when thinking of Chiropractors tend to think about bad backs, necks and maybe headaches, strange clunking noises and bones. Few people would consider taking their child along for a check-up.
However, this may be the best time for anyone to see a Chiropractor. Remember Chiropractic care is about spine and nervous system function. The reason for spinal joints and bones to be restored to normal function is to decrease negative stresses on the nervous system and brain.
So even in an adult with back pain the underlying aim is the same as for a newborn or a toddler with no pain at all. It’s all about making sure the spine is functioning well so that the body can do the healing and repairing, growth and the development it is designed for.
What are the things to look out for that could be clues to your infant needing spinal function correction or at least a chiropractic check-up?
- Difficulty feeding-especially if it difficulty feeding on only one side
- Hates tummy time- this should be a fun, engaging time without tears
- Bum crack deviation- huh? Remove the nappy and lie face down (that’s junior not you). Gently squeeze the bum cheeks together. The gluteal cleft (anatomical term for bum crack) should be straight up the midline without any deviation to the left or right at the top. Deviations may suggest change in pelvic balance.
- Head rotation to only or mostly one side when lying on back
- Extended “bum scooting”. That’s shuffling forward whilst sitting up rather than actively crawling. Usually one leg, the same one, will be tucked closer to the body than the other.
- Consistent one-sided commando crawling
It’s very important for development that movements and actions are symmetrical in nature. Variations from left to right other than a mild handedness preference as they get older can be indicators of more serious issues.
Sadly, funding and personnel for scoliosis checks in schools are no longer available. That means we risk our kids developing significant imbalances before an opportunity arises to detect them.
As children get older, one of the best things to check is their posture. Look for:
- Head tilt- low on one side
- Shoulder tilt- again low on one side, not level or particularly rounded over shoulders
- Rib Hump- one side of the rib cage being further to the back than the other. Have them bend forward to touch the toes and look along the spine. Each side of the rib cage should be at the same height.
- Standing with one leg bent when standing up “straight”
If you spot any of these issues, it’s time to find out why. Solving little issues are always better than trying to treat big ones.
Remember Chiropractors are skilled at modifying their techniques and approach to suit patients of all ages. I certainly don’t adjust my 93-year old patients in the same way that I correct a 21-year old’s spine. Kids and babies require special gentle techniques too.
Dr. Andrew Iggo is in private practice in Sydney, Australia. Working from state of the art premises in Fairlight, his focus is on providing not only relief from pain, but correction of function and the provision of wellness care for families and individuals. With a young family of his own comes a natural inclination toward the care of kids and Mums-to-be. A strong sports and dance background also give him a unique perspective on performance enhancement and injury recovery. We are sure you’ll be in great hands.