04/13/2023 by Dr. Michaela Peterson
10 Conditions Helped By Pediatric Chiropractic
When your baby, child or teen is in pain, it can be difficult to know how to help them. Seeing your kid suffer can cause feelings of helplessness, worry, and frustration. You may feel like you are not doing enough to help your child, or that you are failing them in some way. The stress and anxiety of caring for your child when they are in pain can be a lot to deal with, but we can help.
As a parent, you know that it's important to be aware of the different health conditions that can affect your child's well-being. Many of those conditions have chiropractic treatments that help. We've made this list of some of the common conditions we see in kids to help you know what to look for.
10 signs your infant, child or teen may need chiropractic.
1. Neck Pain
If your child is complaining of neck pain, it's important to get them checked out by a healthcare provider. Some possible causes of neck pain in kids are:
- Birth trauma, especially if your delivery was assisted with vacuum or forceps, or your child was delivered by C-section
- Research shows that 12 babies out of 100 will have misalignments in their upper cervical spine (their neck) at birth. The general cause is the birthing process itself
- 89% of babies with difficulty feeding or sleeping, have a head that’s tilted to one side, or have misalignments at the top of their neck
- Muscle strain or spasm in kids are often caused by:
- poor posture
- bad sleeping positions
- carrying heavy backpacks
- participating in sports or activities that involve repetitive neck movements
- Stuck joints in the neck, which can result from:
- poor posture
- sitting for long periods of time
- previous injuries
- Torticollis, a condition in which the neck muscles contract and cause the head to twist to one side
- Structural problems, such as:
- Herniated disc in the neck
2. Infants: Difficulty Feeding
If your infant is experiencing difficulty feeding, get them evaluated by Dr. Michaela or a similar infant chiropractor. Difficulty feeding can be caused by a variety of factors:
- Latching issues
- Seasonal allergies
- Food allergies
- Allergic reactions to medications or insect stings
- Skin allergies
3. Difficulty Sleeping
Your child can have difficulty sleeping for a few reasons:
- Colic, can cause excessive crying and fussiness, especially in the evening hours
- Growing pains can cause discomfort or pain in the legs, often waking your child up from sleep
4. Ear Aches
If your child is experiencing ear pain, we can evaluate their symptoms and determine the underlying cause of their ear pain. Some conditions that may be contributing to your kiddo's ear pain include:
- Muscle tension: tight muscles in the neck can block the flow of fluid from the middle ear
Falls are common in childhood, but they can sometimes result in injuries. The weight of your child’s head—relative to the strength of their neck muscles—places great stress on their neck during sudden traumas like falls. Pediatric chiropractic treatment can help.
Common falls kids take include:
- Falls from a bed, which can occur when a child rolls off the bed or attempts to climb out of the bed without help
- Falls from learning how to walk
- Falls during play while:
6. Sports Injuries
Sports participation helps kids develop physical skills, social skills and self-confidence. But sports also carry the risk of injury. Some of the sports-related injuries you may see in your children include:
- Sprains and strains when the ligaments or muscles around a joint are stretched or torn
- Concussion: traumatic brain injury happening from a blow to their head or a jolt to their body
- Overuse injuries from repetitive sports-related activities:
- School sports
- Baseball/softball: pitcher's elbow
- Soccer: shin splints, patellar tendonitis and Achilles tendinitis
- Basketball: stress fractures, jumper’s knee and Achilles tendinitis
- Volleyball: shoulder injuries
- Gymnastics: injuries to tendons that support the shoulder, elbow dislocations, cartilage injuries and gymnast wrist
- Tennis: wrist strains, fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Swimming: irritation and inflammation in the shoulders, rotator cuff tendonitis or tears, shoulder impingement, and tears in the cartilage around the shoulder socket
- Track and field: shin splints and knee injuries
- Cross country: runner’s knee
- Alternative sports
- Skateboarding: tendinitis and sprains in the feet, ankles and knees
- BMX: upper and lower back pain, calf muscle strain, Achilles and patella tendinitis
- Snowboarding/skiing: knee, back and lower leg injuries
- Dance: sprains, strains, stress fractures and tendon injuries in the feet, ankles, lower back, hip and knee
- Cheerleading: muscle strains, ligament strains and injuries to hips, lower back, legs, knees, ankles, fingers and hands
- Martial arts: constant repetition of movements can cause injury to any part of the body
- Horseback riding: shoulder, upper back and lower back
- Rock climbing: tendinitis, tennis elbow, climber's elbow, shoulder tear, rotator cuff tear, shoulder impingement
- Surfing: shoulder, lower back and neck
- School sports
7. Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs)
Car accidents can be a traumatic experience for anyone involved, including children. Even if an infant or child is in a car seat, their head and neck are unrestrained. The violent forces during an accident or near-miss can cause pain and damage to your child's spine.
Some possible injuries that children can experience from a motor vehicle accident include:
- Soft tissue injuries: injuries to their muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness.
- Fractures or dislocations: rarely seen in children who have been in MVAs, but they are possible
Colic is characterized by excessive crying and fussiness. If your baby seems to be in distress and is showing signs of colic, it could be from:
- digestive issues
- food sensitivities
- infantile migraine
Dr. Michaela can help with your baby's colic.
Headaches can be a common complaint in children and can have a variety of causes:
- Tension-type headaches: caused by tight muscles in their head, neck and shoulders
- Cervicogenic headaches: caused by misalignments in their neck
- Poor posture
- Lack of sleep
10. Back Pain
While it is uncommon for children to complain of back pain, we do see kids with back pain in our office. Some possible causes of back pain in children include:
- Scoliosis: an abnormal curvature of the spine
- Posture issues caused by carrying a heavy backpack, and spending long hours with a computer, phone or video game
We can determine the cause of your child's back pain and determine if imaging, like X-rays, are needed to rule out more serious conditions.
How do we diagnose the cause of your child’s pain and discomfort?
First we conduct a careful, gentle and thorough evaluation of your child’s spine and/or extremities. We perform a detailed physical exam to rule in/out conditions. Then we create a customized treatment plan based on our findings.
For children under 5 years old, we perform gentle adjustments, either via hold with a finger pad, or with the Activator on the lightest setting. Once your child turns 4 or 5, we may incorporate some manual adjustments as well.
Is your child in pain? Come see us.
As pediatric chiropractors, we specialize in treating your child's pain and discomfort. Children’s bodies often need very few adjustments to resolve whatever complaint they’re coming in with. Their bodies respond to the lightest of forces. We find that they respond much quicker than adults.
We've seen infants, toddlers and school-age children benefit from chiropractic care. Book an appointment online for your child to see Dr. Goldi or Dr. Michaela in our Aptos office.