These days, it’s more important than ever for kids to receive the best healthcare that they can. Traditional medical care, of course, but also mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual care. We all know about the normal medical stuff, but what else can we do to help kids not only get back to normal, but take advantage of their unique physiological strengths and optimize their health and growth? Are these things being done on a regular basis? By the time you finish reading this, you will see how the answer is a resounding “NO!”
In over 30 years of serving this community, I have had the opportunity to treat many pediatric patients with a combination of chiropractic and functional medicine. The most common thigs we see are colic, ear infections, bedwetting, and ADD/ADHD spectrum issues. Many of these issues respond very well to a combination of chiropractic and proper supplementation. Working with small children and infants is not a typical part of all chiropractic practices; it takes time to develop the experience and expertise to do it well.
At a recent conference I attended there was a whole session on treating pediatric ear infections. We were reminded that the official recommendation of the American Board of Pediatrics and the AMA is that antibiotics are NOT to be used as a first line of treatment. Quite often these only serve as a temporary help while increasing the risk of secondary infections and the development of asthma and allergies. Yes, asthma and allergies are much more frequent in children who have used multiple courses of antibiotics. They should never be the first option for treatment in ear infections. Chronic ear infections in children are quite often due to a neurologic component that results in a tightening and blockage of the eustachian tube that normally drains the middle ear. Chiropractic adjustments of the upper spine can correct elevated nerve tone to that region and result in natural resolution without risking other diseases.
Another common thing we see is infants with colic. Colic is a neurologic-induced condition that responds very well to chiropractic care. There are a number of studies out of Denmark and South Africa that prove that chiropractic adjustments are more effective than anything else at relieving colic. Again, the ability to adjust infants at the very gentle level that is appropriate yet effective takes years of experience and lots of practice. People who have concerns about a chiropractic doctor working on their infant should know that the pressure it takes to move a baby’s spine is about the same as the pressure you would use to apply eye makeup. And when you correct the problems that lead to colic in infants, quite often you a correcting or preventing other problems that would have shown up in the future!
Bedwetting is another scourge of childhood that responds well to chiropractic. The general rule of thumb is this: if your child has ever had a dry night, then they can be dry every night. The neurologic connections are of utmost importance here. Almost all bedwetters have a combination of two things: poor nerve signaling to the bladder, and very deep sleep. Most of the bedwetters we have treated need both their lumbar spine and upper cervical spine corrected. Once that is done their problem is typically solved. Alarms, holding back water before bed, etc. are notorious for not working well, if at all.
Finally, let’s look at ADD/ADHD. This is another neurologic condition, and while some things are better left to a neurologist, functional neurology has been chiropractic’s forte for almost 150 years. Brain function requires good communication from top to bottom. When nerve signals get “scrambled” right out of the brain, their feedback loops become scrambled as well. Kids with ADD/ADHD typically have upper cervical misalignments that affect brain function and result in various malfunctions of the nervous system, including disequilibrium between the left and right halves. Combine that with nutritional supplementation and you have a powerful and natural way to affect ADD/ADHD. (For those of you who choose to go the medical route in treating your child’s ADD/ADHD, remember that many of those medications permanently change how your child’s brain is wired. Are you prepared for that?)
These kids need less drugs, not more. They need higher levels of function, not just symptom relief. Take some time to read the side effects of your child’s medications. Remember that repeated doses of antibiotics raise the risk of asthma and allergies by up to four times. Remember that medication for ADD/ADHD often changes your child’s brain permanently, and not for the better. Remember that the things you do for your child’s health can improve their health for the rest of their life… if you choose wisely.