Most of us don’t think of young children as having issues that might require chiropractic care. But did you know many painful ailments that plague adults actually stem from a misaligned spine due to an undetected childhood spinal injury?
How Do Children Injure Their Spines?
The first few years of a child’s life is all about exploring surroundings. From infants gaining mobility to the toddler years to elementary school—seemingly harmless bumps and falls happen every day; it’s only natural as a child explores the world around them. But over time, even minor injuries can cause trauma to a child’s spine. Spinal bones can shift from their normal positioning during this stage of rapid growth, resulting in permanent deformities that may show up later in life.
The Three Windows of A Child’s Spinal Development
There are specific windows of time during which a child’s spine goes through major increments of development:
- Birth through age five. The most critical time by far, this is when a child gains mobility, balance and coordination, and his or her spine experiences the greatest amount of minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries.
- Age five to 10 years old. As a child starts school and engages in playground activity and organized sports, repeated falls and tumbles are bound to happen, sometimes resulting in undetected spinal injuries.
- Age 10 to 15 years old. The spine goes through its final stages of development as your child eases into adulthood. While this stage seems relatively uneventful by comparison, it’s actually when your child’s spinal growth can be affected by things like improper backpack loading and carrying, poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, or at the other end of the spectrum, repetitive sports movements. Even if your child never seems to sustain a sports injury during this time of life, repeated impacts due to playing sports take a toll over time. The “invisible” effects of participating in high-impact sports and other activities often show up as an adult — and it can be painful.
Injuries that show up in a more outward, dramatic fashion (like a concussion, whiplash, etc.) can benefit certainly from the gentle pressure of a chiropractic spinal adjustment. What many parents don’t realize is that any active child — especially one who plays sports — is quite likely to experience a spine injury, regardless of whether they have painful symptoms right now.
Your child’s trip to the chiropractor now can prevent plenty of adult onset-pain – we’ll talk more about that in a moment.
What Is Happening To Your Child’s Spine?
After the almost-constant bumps and falls that occur in the first few years of life, the vertebrae protecting the spine can lose their normal positioning, exposing the spine to trauma.
Spinal trauma can have lasting effects, including:
- Delicate nerve tissue damage, resulting in interference with the brain’s ability to send nerve impulses to your organs, tissues, and muscles
- Discs, blood vessels, and other soft tissues can swell and become inflamed
- Bone spurs and abnormal bone growth as the body compensates to protect the spine
These realities can come as a surprise to parents, as pain and other obvious symptoms aren’t always present.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Kids
When young adults seek out chiropractic care, they often don’t realize their back pain is the result of a trauma they received 10-20 years ago. You can shield your child from experiencing the same discomforts by scheduling a pediatric chiropractic exam. Chiropractic care can uncover spinal problems that would normally go undetected in children. Left unchecked, spinal problems can grow into much more serious medical issues later in life.
You’re most likely already aware of the benefits of chiropractic care — perhaps you (or someone you know) have experienced the often instant relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. With the gentle pressure of a chiropractic adjustment, your child’s normal spinal and nervous system function can be restored, too. Why not give your child this same opportunity? With proper alignment, your child’s body will be free to heal itself, enabling your child to grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system.
Would you like to learn more about ensuring your child’s spine is healthy not only now, but in the future? Make an appointment online or call us at (865) 675-2050. We look forward to creating a customized treatment plan for your child.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.