Why should children see a chiropractor?

Do I need to take my child for a checkup?


Why do chiropractors see children?

This is an often asked question. I think it stems from the image that people see why they might go to see a chiropractor. Probably the most common reason a person seeks out a chiropractor is for back pain, and chiropractic often does have a very effective solution for this common problem. However chiropractic is much more than a back pain reliever.

Chiropractic works on the premise that the body works as a whole and is therefore referred to as a "holistic" treatment. The brain is the controller of your whole body. For example, if you want to pick up a glass the brain fires a signal down yor spine to the appropriate muscle group/s and then you are able to pick up the glass. (In reality it is a bit more complicated than that but the preceding was a synopsis of what occurs). So in order to function properly the brain needs to talk to the rest of your body.

The spinal cord is the pathway that leads from your brain, within your spine down your back. From the spinal cord branches of nerves come off to supply the muscles of your body and also the internal organs. The brain therefore controls your whole body, not only the muscles but your breathing, heart, urinary function and every cell of your body.

So if you come in with back pain the chiropractor will ask you not only about the pain, where it is, how long have you had it etc but they will also ask you about the rest of your health. This history gives us an insight as to what is happening in your body. Is the message getting through from the brain to the back and to all areas of the body.? Where might the blockage or interference in the body be located?

As an adult or older child you are able to tell us these things. You are able to say where it hurts, when it started, if you had a fall or sitting long hours at a desk. As a infant or toddler you are unable to do so. You can't say that you were stuck for nine months in an awkward position that put pressure on your neck. You can't say that being pulled out by forceps put pressure on your head and now you have a headache and upsets your tummy. As a toddler you can't say that sitting for hours in the car seat has made you uncomfortable or irritable. That sitting in the one position has tightened you neck so that the fluid cannot drain from your ears and now you have an earache. All you can do is cry, become irritable, not eat properly or digest you food properly, and not sleep well. As this small child you cannot articulate any of these things into words all you can do is show us how you feel.

When a child is seen by a chiropractor with a special interest in Paediatrics they will be given a thorough check. We want to make sure that your child begins life with the best possible potential. Whether your child presents with symptoms or just a check-up a thorough history of the birth and labour process is always taken. This is then followed by a thorough physical examination appropriate for their age. A neurodevelopmental screening then follows. We want to know how your child is developing. Is their brain communicating with the rest of their body so that they are developing appropriately.

Quite commonly the birthing process causes undue strain on the neck and shoulder complex, this might result in plagiocephaly (misshaped head) and/or torticollis.  With the right management this is often easily ameliorated.

So why bring a baby to a chiropractor? So that they might reach their full potential, to give them the best start in life to make sure their development is appropriate, and to dissipate any discomfort.

Comments 23 comments

JAMIE 7 years ago


Chiropractor Gresham Oregon 6 years ago

thank you for sharing your wonderful experience with a Chiropractor.. I am also wanting to try it for my child.. Inspiring..

Will 6 years ago

I have benefitted greatly from chiropractic, as have many others I know. But I am not sure about children, especially babies. It would seem to be a dangerous thing to do when the bones are not fully formed. Or maybe that is the best time? I know that my son was prevented from growing up with a twisted (club) foot simply by massaging the foot into position as he grew. It worked great, so maybe this does have some merit.

backchat 6 years ago

Hi Will,

I am glad your son benefitted from massage in regards to his club foot. Please be assured that chiropractic is safe even for babies. The techniques used are very gentle, the same pressure as you would use to check a ripe tomatois used. No "clicking" of bones takes place.

The treatment protocol is not intended to move bones into place but to have an effect on the nervous system. By helping the nervous system function its best the person is able to function at their full potential

los angeles chiropractic 6 years ago

Great stuff. very incisive post, i really appreciate it. The example you have shown in your post is really good and easily understandable. Thanks for sharing.

concerned parent 6 years ago

I have always been told that popping of the bones through out life will eventually cause arthritus and other similar symptoms. So im not exactly unserstanding why anyone in their right mind would send their infant or small child to the chiropractor. I have a friend that sends her babys to these people two or three times a month. Theres nothing wrong with these children. One is a year old and the other is only a few months, I asked her why she takes them and shr tells me that its because she goes and it makes her back feel better and because the chiropractor sais so. Whatever I say. I guess everyone has to get paid.

babydoctor 6 years ago

To Concerned Parent-

I am a chiropractic pediatrician specializing in infant and toddler care. We don't "pop" bones to make the patient feel better and its great that theres nothing wrong with your friends children and she continues to send them to be seen. A big reason of why there's nothing wrong with her children is because they are seen. Research proves that chiropractic babies and children grow stronger healthier immune systems, they are less prone to colic, to ear infections, and other childhood ailments such as the common cold and flu virus. Birth is one of the most traumatic experiences in the human lifespan placing an almost 70lbs of pressure on the infants head as it passes through the birth canal. The result is many babies suffer neck trauma from being born especially if forceps are used in the birthing process. By having the young child adjusted and removing this interference it allows its tiny immune system to function at an optimal rate and allows the baby to grow as healthy as possible. I ask you this- as a parent, don't you want your children to have the best chance at being as healthy as possible? Chiropractic care for babies is extremely gentle. No "popping" of joints takes place. This has nothing to do with the doctor out to "get paid" it has everything to do with allowing the pediatric patient to grow to thier best and healthiest potential.

Concerned 5 years ago


I have brought my child to chiropractor 3 times now for recurrent ear infections. He gets quite upset and I hope it is not because he is being hurt by the adjustments but rather he is just anxious. Up until yesterday the chiropractor has been using the instrument that taps my toddler or else gentle pressure but yesterday he twisted my sons neck to pop it. He said it was a faster way instead of using the instrument as my son was quite upset. I did not feel comfortable with it and now am really worried he might have damaged him...is it safe for him to do those adjustments on a 13month old?

I really was hoping the chiro would be able to help with the ear infections but now am thinking I should not go back in case he injures him :(

backchat 5 years ago

Hi Concerned,

The kind of adjustment you described is safe to do on a 13 month old. It is unlikely that he is being hurt by the adjustments. However it is not one that I would do. That being said I do not "pop" any patients especially children.

It is possible that your son was upset because the movement to achieve this adjustment can sometimes appear to be quite great. Imagine if someone suddenly jumped behind you when you weren't expecting it, this would make you jump, perhaps scare or frighten and upset you.

If you are in anyway concerned about the treatment technique or any aspect of the management of your child discuss it with your chiropractor. He/she should be able to adapt the treatment to suit you both.

If the chiropractor is unable to adapt to suit you both then I would recommend taking your son to a chiropractor who has specialist training in paediatrics not just a general chiropractor who sees children occasionally. It may be worth asking the chiropractor if they utilise a manual adjustment (as you have described) or a tonal technique which uses a gentle force similar to that used to check a ripe tomato. Some tonal technques include SOT, NIP or cranial-sacral

I hope this helps, please do not hesitate to post again if I can be of further assistance

Concerned 5 years ago

Thank you so much for your reply...

Before I read this I had actually decided not to bring him back and this reply has reinforced it. I was so shocked that he had done that to my son that I didnt say anything to the chiro at the time. I wish I had now but I am really not comfortable with the fact he did such an adjustment without asking me first.

I was recommended him by a friend who brought their baby so I assumed he was good. I have since found out he is not qualifed in paediatric chiropractics but does advertise that he does pregnancy and paediatric care.

I have found another who is qualified and specialises in Kids and practices the SOT technique you mentioned so I will be bringing him there next week.

Thank you again and I guess a mothers instinct is right :)

becmack 5 years ago

Check your second sentence. it doesn't make sense. "I think it stems from the image that people see why they might go to see a chiropractor. " What image? Is why a type?

backchat profile image

backchat 5 years ago from Camberley, Surrey Author

Thank you for your comments - will look into the grammar

Ekmommy 5 years ago

My children have been seeing a chiropractor a little over a year now (ages 7 & 8) and I wish that I had taken them when they were babies! Their overall health has improved so much so, that when other children are missing school for illness, my children are fine. My oldest used to suffer from daily headaches and now she is headache-free. My children don't mind the adjustments they receive at all, and often times will let me know if they feel like they need one. My family is the healthiest we have ever been thanks to chiropractic. Even my husband (who was a non-believer for years) now goes regularly!

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restrelax 5 years ago from Los angeles CA

Very nice information on hub.

Concerned Onlooker 5 years ago

My boyfriend has being seeing a chiropractor for about three weeks now and to be honest it really makes me nervous. He's only 18 and I'm afraid if he starts seeing a chiropractor now he will forever be in pain if there is a time when his parents aren't paying for it and he can't afford it. The chiro that he is seeing is a very nice woman who explained what she does and how it effects him, but is it really necessary for him to go three times a week? It also doesn't sit well with me that she works on babies. She explained why again about that as well, but it just doesn't seem right babies seem too fragile to be pushed on and cracked. I guess it's just a matter of opinion and me being ignorant about the subject.

backchat 5 years ago

Dear concerned onlooker,

Thank you for your comments.

I will try to address your concerns one at a time.

However as I do not know your boyfriends health status or condition I cannot comment on his treatment specifically.

In the initial stages of treatment it may be necessary to have more regular treatment. Then when the patient's condition is more stable less frequent treatment may be required. As the treatment progresses symptoms such as pain should subside.

It is up to the patient as go whether he wants to go regularly. Once his condition is stable and health status normal he may choose regular maintenance care to help him maintain his health status. How frequent this is largely depends on the patient's lifestyle and contributing factors.

With respect to the chiropractor working on babies, this is very safe and effective. The babies are treated differently to adults. As different babies are very different at each stage of development the chiropractor who treats babies will have a deep understanding of the conditions that may arise at each stage.

Have you discussed your concerns with your boyfriend and his chiropractor? They may be best placed to answer more specific concerns you may have.

Concerned Onlooker 5 years ago

Thank you for your response. I've told my boyfriend my opinions on the matter, but he just changes the subject. He's only go to a chiropractor because he has back pain after working. He's not working a regular full time job and it seems silly to be seeing a chiropractor now when my dad is 47 and has worked in small crawl spaces, nealing down all day, crouched over in small area's for over 20 years and he has just started seeing a chiropractor. For that situation I can understand. Not really for an 18 year old who has mild back pain.

backchat 5 years ago

Dear concerned onlooker,

Thank you again for your comments. It's great to hear you have tried to discuss things with your boyfriend. It may be that he is just not comfortable discussing health matters.

It is always easier to prevent a condition rather than try to fix it once it has already happened. Pain is a sign that something is under strain or not working properly. Therefore even if you are feeling only a mild pain it is better to address it before it becomes a chronic problem.

hope this helps

restrelax profile image

restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

chiropractic is safe even for babies. The techniques used are very gentle, the same pressure as you would use to check a ripe tomatois used

dendenmom 4 years ago

What age can a baby be seen?

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backchat 4 years ago from Camberley, Surrey Author

Dear Dendenmon,

Thank you for your comments.

A baby can be seen at any age even if only days old. However I would recommend that you seek out a chiropractor who has a special interest in this area.

backchat profile image

backchat 4 years ago from Camberley, Surrey Author

Dear Dendenmon,

Thank you for your comments.

A baby can be seen at any age even if only days old. However I would recommend that you seek out a chiropractor who has a special interest in this area.

kelsey 23 months ago

I have never thought about taking my kids to the chiropractor before. My son has had some injuries from football over the years. I wonder if seeing a chiropractor would help him. http://www.oremchiropractor.com

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