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An Early Start to a Healthy Spine

11 Dec 2019

As the old adage says, prevention is better than cure—and that’s what chiropractic care seeks to do. Many adults seek out chiropractic care to manage and prevent spine-related issues, and it is also now growing in popularity as a form of therapy for children. Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation to improve joint motion and function. They often work in tandem with other healthcare professionals such as Orthopaedic doctors, Physiotherapists, Chinese Medicine practitioners and Podiatrists. In the United States, for example, chiropractic care is the most common integrative medicine practice utilised by children, and this practice is slowly growing internationally as well. “Even if your child is in excellent health, minor traumas from falls or having poor posture could result in pain during his or her teen and adult years,” says Tay Pei Shen, a chiropractor with IMU Healthcare. Problems can range from larger issues like scoliosis, to something simple like postural issues due to text neck (the strain on the neck caused by looking down at electronic devices) and heavy school bags, shares Tay. Spinal adjustments, gentle soft tissue therapy and postural correction exercises are ideal to improve one’s bodily function. “By making sure that our spine is in good alignment, it leads to an overall better disposition and improved quality of life,” Tay says. In general, chiropractic care for children is painless, except for cases of recent injury, where there is acute inflammation. The affected area in such cases would be tender even with the lightest palpation. As such, Tay explains, the treatment protocol would be different where reduction of inflammation would be the primary focus before any other manipulation is tailored accordingly. “Chiropractors aim to reduce a patient’s pain and improve his or her functionality,” says Tay. “Most parents report that their children look forward to their next visit because ultimately they are getting relief.” Chiropractic care also reduces one’s dependency on drugs for pain management. “Chiropractic care is a welcomed and natural approach for children to alleviate aches and pain, and improve one’s quality of life,” says Tay. Managing scoliosis in the young Chiropractic is also known as an approach for scoliosis care. Scoliosis, a three-dimensional torsional deformity of the spine, is a common spine problem found in adolescents. Idiopathic scoliosis (there is no identifiable cause), the most common type, is more apparent during an adolescent’s growth spurt. Parents usually notice their child having uneven shoulders or hips, or a hump on their back when he or she bends forward. Tay was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child and says that chiropractic care helped her tremendously in the monitoring and management of her condition. “Chiropractors usually examine children and adolescents for scoliosis and parents will be informed of their child’s condition and given a proper management plan, which may include working with other healthcare professionals,” she explains.

Growing up can be painful
Chiropractic care also helps with growing pains. While the cause of growing pains is not known, they are real and common. These pains come and go for many years, but usually disappear by mid-adolescence. “Chiropractic adjustments can help in providing relief. It is very beneficial as the pain experienced by your child may impact his or her life,” Tay says. Advice for self-management such as heat therapy and soft tissue therapy is also usually shared with parents. However, Tay does caution that it is also advisable to consult a medical doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these growing pains.

Sports and chiropractic Young athletes also benefit from chiropractic care. It is especially attractive because it is non-invasive, drug-free and known to help in pain management and improving performance. At the clinic, Tay sees many gymnasts and athletes because of IMU Healthcare’s proximity to sports-related institutions. “Managing misalignments in athletes reduces tension while increasing mobility can also improve one’s form as muscles become more agile. In injury, as well, chiropractic care offers a lot of support in reducing inflammation, and speeding up healing and recovery time,” she says.

So, should my child see a chiropractor?
Tay advises that one should schedule regular chiropractic check-ups in order to identify potential spinal dysfunctions, which could result from day-to-day stresses on the spine, because these adjustments may help to enhance a child’s quality of life. “Many parents claim to have seen significant improvements in their children after starting chiropractic care. If you remain unsure about what to do, have a chat with a local chiropractor after you have read up on the subject so you can ask the right questions to put your mind at ease,” she adds.

World Spine Day is celebrated every year on Oct 16. It is organised by the World Federation of Chiropractic on behalf of the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health.

References: 1. 2. 3. Bergmann, T. F., & Peterson, D. H. (2011). Chiropractic technique: principles and procedures. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Mosby. 4. 5. 6. Spigelblatt L, Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee. Chiropractic care for children: Controversies and issues. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2002;7(2):85-89. 7. Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Côté P, He Y, Hogg-Johnson S, Silver FL, Bondy SJ. Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics. 2009;32(2):S201-S208. 8. Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Côté P, Hogg-Johnson S, Bondy SJ, Haldeman S. Risk of carotid stroke after chiropractic care: a population-based case-crossover study. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. 2017;26(4):842-850. 9. Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 2009;5(5):290-295. 10. 11. Płaszewski M, Bettany-Saltikov J. Non-surgical interventions for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis: an overview of systematic reviews. PloS one. 2014;9(10):e110254. 12. Alcantara J, Davis J. The chiropractic care of children with “growing pains”: a case series and systematic review of the literature. Complementary therapies in clinical practice. 2011;17(1):28-32. 13. Related article: Chiropractic Helps Reduce Pain in Children This article is brought to you by IMU Healthcare.

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