Should You Take Your Child to a Chiropractor?

A new trend has surfaced in which many people are now taking their children to chiropractors to treat anything from ear infections to body aches. Some chiropractors even encourage parents to bring in completely healthy children for periodic adjustments for the sake of maintaining health. Before taking your child to the chiropractor, however, you should be aware of the potential risks of subjecting children to chiropractic adjustments.

Potential for Serious Adverse Effects

Chiropractic adjustments always carry risks for serious adverse effects such as arterial dissections that can cause strokes and nerve damage that can cause paralysis. The incidence rate of these types of adverse effects happening to children following chiropractic adjustments is low, but death or lifelong disability may follow if adverse effects do occur.

Pre-Existing Conditions Increase Risks

While many people that take their children to chiropractors do so because there are pre-existing health conditions that they wish to have treated, these conditions can increase the risks of adverse effects. In most cases in which children have suffered injuries after receiving chiropractic care, there was at least one condition present beforehand.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear whether the condition caused the adverse effect to occur, the chiropractic manipulation caused the adverse effect, or the two factors combined caused the incident. More study is needed to conclusively determine the reasons behind adverse effects, but the fact remains that children are more likely to suffer injuries after chiropractic care when conditions were present before.

Children’s Bodies Are Different

Children’s bodies differ from adults in some ways. Depending on the age of the child, joints may not be fully formed, so there may be more cartilage than bone. This makes children more flexible, which changes the way that chiropractic care must be administered.

Due to the differences in children’s bodies, chiropractors must perform smaller movements and exert less force than with adults. Faster movements also have a tendency to work better with children. The fact that chiropractic manipulations must be done slightly differently with children increases the potential for mistakes, especially among chiropractors that have not worked with children before.

Work Closely with a Doctor

Before deciding whether to take your child to a chiropractor, speak to a doctor that understands your child’s health and any conditions he or she may have. A doctor may be able to provide advice about specific questions to ask the chiropractor before receiving care. If you do decide to take your child to a chiropractor, continue to also bring him or her to regular doctor visits so that any issues can be quickly spotted.