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A Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic for Kids

A growing number of families in the U.S.—both parents and children—are discovering the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including chiropractic care.  The good news is that you’re never too young or too old to benefit from the types of therapies a skilled chiropractic physician can provide.  Today’s chiropractors generally have the training and experience to work with patients from early childhood through to advanced age.  However, some practitioners also choose to focus on the unique needs of specific types of patients.

How Children May Benefit From Chiropractic Care

As children enter school, they begin interacting with other adults and kids in a completely different kind of setting outside the family home.  This means that they’re exposed to a variety of new environmental and behavioral factors that can threaten their spine and nervous system health.  From poor sitting posture in the classroom to heavy backpacks in the hallways, rough-housing on the playground and electronics use on the bus ride home, there are a variety of new health risks.  Chiropractic care can help address these sorts of risks as well as others that may seem less obvious.

For instance, there is evidence that chiropractic care may help prevent or relieve many common cold and allergy symptoms, including sneezing, coughing and itching or watery eyes.  This is not to say that a visit to the chiropractor will “cure” the common cold or that the underlying illness will be eliminated, even temporarily.  However, the research suggests that spinal manipulation and other therapies frequently used by the chiropractor may help to strengthen a child’s immune system over time.

Treating Infants

Chiropractic treatments are tailored to every child according to their specific circumstances, including their height and weight.  There is no minimum age for receiving chiropractic care, and even newborns may safely benefit.  In fact, chiropractic care is encouraged for babies as a chiropractic physician may be able to detect spinal problems that could lead to colic, ear infection or asthma.  Early detection may help prevent the development of these conditions and other complications while also improving a young patient’s quality of life.

Communicating with Members of Your Child’s Healthcare Team

As both adults and children are turning to alternative medicine as a way to prevent or treat common ailments, there is an increasing need for patients (or their parents) to communicate effectively with members of an expanded healthcare team.   In most cases, your child’s primary care doctor (usually a pediatrician, general practitioner or chiropractic physician) will play a key role in coordinating care.  Remember that a good chiropractor will always tell you when a particular condition may be outside his or her scope of practice and will refer you to other specialists as appropriate.

Many chiropractors who specialize in pediatrics are members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and have completed postgraduate courses that focus on the care of pregnant mothers, infants and children.  The ICPA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1986 by Larry Webster, DC.  The association offers advanced training workshops and seminars for healthcare professionals in addition to its chiropractic certification.  It also has a referral service for parents and publishes a wide variety of materials designed to educate the general public about chiropractic medicine for both children and adults.

Studies have shown that children who visit the chiropractor on a regular basis are likely to grow up with better posture and have fewer illnesses than their classmates.  If you’d like to find out more about children and chiropractic care, please ask us.  We are here to help!

Automobile Safety Tip: Driver’s Seat Position

As anyone who has a long commute to work or drives for a living can tell you, driving can take a toll on your body, especially your back!

Being behind the wheel for extended periods of time can put a lot of stress on the spine, since the normal lumbar curve can easily be affected the typical driving position.  Add to that the bumping and jostling from traveling over uneven road surfaces and speed bumps and you’ve got a recipe for back pain.  Following are a few tips that will help you minimize the risk of recurring or chronic back pain by adjusting your driver’s seat to the optimal placement for driving.

  1. Position yourself properly in the seat.  To do this, ensure that you are sitting as far back in the seat as possible, so that your buttocks are almost wedged between the bottom cushion and the seat back.
  2. Adjust the distance between the seat and steering wheel.  Move the seat forward so you can fully depress both the brake and (if necessary) the clutch, while still keeping your knees slightly bent.  Your leg should ideally maintain an angle of approximately 120 degrees.  If your leg is either too straight or at a 90-degree angle, your seat needs to be moved either closer or further back.
  3. Adjust the tilt of the seat.  Tilt your seat forward or backward until you feel that your leg from hip to knee is fully supported while having your foot on the gas pedal, without feeling that the seat is pressing uncomfortably into the back of your leg.
  4. Adjust the back of the seat.  Your seat should be at an angle that fully supports the length of your back.  It should not be reclined too far, as this can cause you to have to bend your head and neck forward at an angle in order to see the road ahead.
  5. Move the steering wheel.  You should move the steering wheel toward you until it is close enough for your hands to reach the standard 10 and 2 position, while keeping your arms slightly bent.  Having it too close can be dangerous in an accident, but you also don’t want it so far away that you are straining to reach it.  It should be tilted at an angle so your hands are just a little lower than your shoulders while resting on the wheel.
  6. Adjust the head restraint.  The bottom of the head restraint should be level with the base of your skull and should be about an inch from your head while driving in order to help prevent whiplash in the event of an accident.

If your car has a lumbar support feature, adjust it so it supports the lumbar area without pressing into your back. If you don’t have this feature, one or two rolled towels can be used to support the lumbar area.

Try to be sure your knee does not drop to the side while you drive, since this can cause some aggravation to the nerves in the lower back, which can in turn lead to pain in the hip, knee and foot.  Pull your knee in to keep it in line with your body.

If you’re the primary (or only) driver of a vehicle, many of these adjustments need to be made only once.  For the small investment of a few minutes of your time, you can reduce your risk of recurring or chronic back and neck pain.  Trust us, your back and neck will thank you!

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Back or Neck Pain Relief!

Seeing a chiropractor for neck or back pain is a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. If you have neck or back pain Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.