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According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, approximately 1.9 million children in America have been treated with chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. This means that not only is spinal adjustment effective for kids, it is also one of the most sought-out forms of complementary and alternative medicine. It is even more popular than to meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.

Chiropractic Care Long Term Benefits

As a health and wellness remedy, chiropractic care is often doubted and questioned about its long-term benefits. But it has shown repeatedly that the benefits of pediatric chiropractic care are long-lasting. That is if it is done properly.

Treating this demographic takes a few special skills. Children are not mini adults. Chiropractors need to consider the nuances and developmental milestones of children, babies, infants, and toddlers. Otherwise, chiropractic care might be detrimental to their development. Because of this, chiropractors who work with children require proper training.

“Providing chiropractic care to kids is a privilege that needs to be taken very seriously,” says Jack M. Bourla, D.C., A.C.P. of Providence Chiropractic Center in Redwood City, California. Bourla also serves as Chairman of the Board for the International Federation of Chiropractors and Organizations (IFCO). IFCO is an organization that strives to reinforce the safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic on a global level.

Chiropractors need to take a board-certified program specializing in pediatrics and pregnancy before they can work with children. The International Chiropractic offers a Diplomate in Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics for this very purpose. Bourla says the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is another organization that serves as a valuable resource in areas related to chiropractic safety for pediatric patients Just like when working with adult patients, chiropractors should also obtain a detailed medical history for younger patients.

“Taking a thorough health history—albeit brief, yet powerful in kids—is key to understanding the needs of that patient and offering the most appropriate care,” Bourla said.

This history should include the mother’s gestation, labor, delivery, and nursing habits, among other vital details. Bourla says this “can give important clues as to the types of stress or challenges that child may be facing”.

Clinic Atmosphere

Chiropractors should note that knowing more is always better than knowing less about a patient. Another important factor to consider when working with children is the atmosphere of the clinic itself. The goal should be to create a more child-friendly environment. Is there a dedicated area where kids could just hang out and play? Does the clinic make them feel comfortable and safe? Can the child rest is they need to? Are the sounds and smells in the area pleasant? Tables should also be adjusted for the patients’ smaller frames.

“A good pediatric chiropractor will recognize that understanding the individual child and her personality (maybe just that day) is paramount to almost anything else that occurs in that encounter,” Bourla added.

Knowing how to ‘read’ children can go a long way: learning about the behaviors they display and how to work with them. “If you have a child that is reserved, tentative, and withdrawn, you can’t be Bozo the Clown and shriek in a high-pitched voice in an attempt to bring them to your desired level of behavior. Rather, you need to mirror them and then gently proceed with your analysis and chiropractic care of that child.”

Finally, chiropractors need to use appropriate force when working with children. Younger patients do not need forceful thrusts. Proper training will teach a chiropractor when not to do the adjustment at all.

“Never force an adjustment on an unwilling child,” says Bourla. In such cases, no adjustment will benefit the child, whether physically or emotionally.

Visit a chiropractic clinic near you today and learn more about chiropractic practices for children.

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