Frequently Asked Questions
- Newborn to 12yo
- 80% of my clients are under 1 year of age
Chiropractic care for children is very different to adult chiropractic both in knowledge and in treatment techniques. The topic of paediatrics is not comprehensively taught in general chiropractic training and needs to be obtained through post graduate qualifications. Care includes growth monitoring and regular assessment of development. Practitioners need to be extensively trained in all things paediatric.
As a nurse and chiropractor I work within a model similar to Maternal and Child Health Nurses checking children at intervals to ensure they are meeting appropriate developmental criteria. This includes height and weight together with milestones appropriate for age. Appointment times are long and histories extensive.
When searching for a chiropractor who works with children it is important to check the level of training. Industry standards vary considerably within the profession. I believe a two-year post-graduate paediatric course is the minimum standard required for a practitioner to have adequate knowledge for safely working with children. Chiropractors will use different techniques however there is never any situation that requires a baby or small child be manually adjusted (cracking). Always enquire about technique before booking a chiropractic appointment for your child.
In this practice treatment is delivered using a gentle touch to specific areas of the body. I use a technique called Neuro Impulse Protocol (NIP) that involves NO “cracking” and is very gentle and safe. Babies and small children should NEVER EVER be “cracked” as their bones are very immature and the joints are mostly yet to mature from cartilage into bone.
The initial consultation is conducted over 1 hour and involves a detailed history, comprehensive examination and treatment.
The examination will be specific to the age of your child and involves a comprehensive head to toe physical and neurological assessment.
Information obtained from the examination is then discussed with the caregiver prior to treatment and includes an explanation of the type of treatment required, the estimated length of care, and the expected results at completion. Treatment can only occur with the full consent of the parent/guardian. Should you choose to refuse treatment at any stage that is your right and the consult will cease.
- Sleep with their head always looking towards the left or right?
- Experience difficulty attaching to the breast?
- Strongly dislike tummy time?
- Have a dislike of placing arms into sleeves of outfits? Is it hard to wash under their armpits?
- Have unexplained refusal to crawl or walk?
- Have delayed motor milestones in rolling or reaching out for objects?
- Complain of pains in the legs at night?
- Walk with a foot turned in or out?
- Was the birth traumatic?
If you answered yes to any of these presentations which are commonly caused by musculoskeletal restrictions, then chiropractic may be able to help.
As a paediatric nurse/midwife I also take an active interest in working with babies and children who present with the following issues providing education, useful tips and advice on treatment strategies
- Constipation which includes lots of squirming and grunting between bowel motions
- Silent reflux
- Sleeping issues
- Excessive irritability and crying periods
- Faecal soiling or urinary leakage/bedwetting (I have completed training in this field)
- I work with babies with slow weight gain looking specifically at feeding and how this may impact growth
A common misconception is that all chiropractors focus purely on ‘cracking’ the bones of the spine, and that they only treat headaches and back pain. This is not the case.
Chiropractors are extensively trained to treat a variety of conditions and use a combination of methods to achieve results. Their specialisation is the nervous system and treatment is focused on optimisation of nervous system function. Chiropractors who work exclusively with babies and small children do occasionally treat headaches and back pain however it is not a common complaint in this age group. Each age group has its common presenting issues. Please contact me if you require further clarification.
A common presentation involves babies that can only turn their head one way (torticollis) and develop a flattened area (plagiocephaly) on the back of the head due to the constant pressure. Early chiropractic treatment for your baby may help assist normal head rotation and therefore reduce or prevent this condition in susceptible babies.
You may well ask does every GP have an identical approach to patient care? Do some GP’s appear to be much more comfortable and knowledgeable about children than others? Chiropractors are similar to GP’s in that they all complete basic training requirements then naturally grow to develop an area of special interest that they will excel in. It may be, for example, back pain, sporting injuries, pregnancy or paediatrics.
Each chiropractor will have a special area of treatment interest/focus meaning that their skill in this specific area should be well refined. It will also guide the treatment techniques that they choose. For example, my area of interest is paediatrics and I only work with this age group, therefore my skill and knowledge is immensely greater in this area than it is in adult conditions. My area of focus therefore denotes the type of treatment methods I choose and all care is delivered using gentle touch, which is much more suitable to a growing child’s body.
I believe chiropractors who choose to work with babies and small children should complete a minimum of 2 years post-graduate training specific to learning all things paediatric. Currently this is not mandatory so it is important to clarify when enquiring about care for your child. Children present with completely different conditions to adults and are assessed and treated differently. If you are unsure then ask your chiropractor what post graduate training they have completed.
In my experience babies respond beautifully to skilled and gentle chiropractic care. They require very minimal treatment and some positive results should be seen by the second visit, indicating that chiropractic is helping with the issue. If you are not sure or have been advised they need lots and lots of visits, then please seek clarification. It is important that babies are not over treated. Likewise it is very uncommon for babies and small children to need an x-ray before treatment.
Please do not confuse my job title with paediatrician. They are medically trained paediatric specialists. If I believe your baby/child requires this level of care I will refer you.
For any other questions about chiropractic care for your baby or child, please click here to contact me.