Thanks to the
International Chiropractic Association (ICA) for use of this document!
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a conservative and natural healing
art and science that concentrates on keeping people well. While
chiropractic is an American science over 100 years old, its wellness
practices have stood the test of time--dating back to spinal manipulations
first used by Hippocrates, the Father of Healing, in the 4th Century
Doctors of Chiropractic attempt
to get to the root cause of a health problem rather than just treat the
symptoms. They seek to maximize the natural strengths of the body and its
capacity to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The primary
focus of chiropractic is the detection, reduction and correction of spinal
misalignments and nervous system dysfunction.
Misaligned vertebrae (known as
subluxations) can irritate the nerves and disrupt the body's ability to
send "command center" messages through the spine to different parts of the
body such as the tissue, bone, glands and organs. All parts of the human
body require proper nerve energy and a flow of information in order to
function properly. If left uncorrected, a spinal malfunction can interrupt
this internal communication system and cause pain, muscle and organ
dysfunction and other imbalances.
The Doctor of Chiropractic,
through a procedure called adjustments, helps to restore misaligned
vertebrae to a more normal position, thus allowing the nerves to properly
communicate with the rest of the body and let the body heal itself--safely
and naturally. Chiropractic's drugless and preventive approach to good
health makes it perfectly appropriate for infants, children and
Is the education of a Doctor of Chiropractic on par
with a medical physician?
Yes. Doctors of Chiropractic undergo a
rigorous and demanding professional education equivalent to any other
primary care provider. To obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, they
must complete several years of prerequisite undergraduate education and
spend nearly the same number of classroom hours at a fully-accredited
chiropractic college as physicians do in medical schools. Student doctors
are thoroughly trained in the appropriate use of sophisticated diagnostic
equipment including X-rays, laboratory procedures and state of the art
investigative technology. Before they can practice, Doctors of
Chiropractic must pass the National Boards, similar to the Board exam of
medical doctors, as well as a licensing exam for the state in which they
choose to practice. Most states require the doctors to attend clinical
continuing education programs for annual relicensure.
When should I take my child
to a Doctor of Chiropractic?
WHEN you want your child to have all
the benefits of a conservative, drugless approach to health care. Your
child's first visit to the Doctor of Chiropractic can be a pleasant
experience, one without painful injections and procedures, but with plenty
of nurturing. A Doctor of Chiropractic should examine your child during
that all-important first year of life when spinal trauma can occur during
birth as well as from tumbles while learning to sit up or walk. Improper
lifting and carrying of your child can also contribute to spinal stress.
Your child's spine grows almost 50% in length during that first year (the
equivalent of a six-footer growing to nine feet in just 12 months!) It's
this kind of tremendous growth and developmental changes which make a
complete chiropractic examination so important in the early stages of your
WHEN you want to give your child a head start
in good health. Doctors of Chiropractic believe it's much more important
to prevent diseases than wait till some illness occurs. Through regular
adjustments, counseling on proper diet, exercise and posture, the Doctor
of Chiropractic can help you raise a child whose body is structurally and
functionally sound. Your child will also learn good health habits at an
early age which can be very beneficial to him or her as an adult.
WHEN your child takes a fall. Youngsters take numerous tumbles
while learning to walk, riding a bike, or even while jumping or running
around. But after their tears have dried, underlying injuries could go
undetected--such as a misaligned vertebra during the spine's most
Regular spinal exams by the
Doctor of Chiropractic can provide corrective and preventive care for your
son or daughter and peace of mind for you.
WHEN your child takes part in
athletic activities. The "sack" of a young quarterback could twist a young
spine. A softball pitcher could throw a vertebra out of alignment. Doctors
of Chiropractic can do more than correct these problems, they can also
help improve performance on and off the field by helping the body function
at its optimum level, naturally without stress and without
How safe is chiropractic for my child?
Chiropractic is one of the
safest forms of health care. A baby's spine is very supple during the
first few months of life and the Doctor of Chiropractic applies only a
slight pressure to make spinal adjustments. Under normal circumstances,
chiropractic adjustments are painless and will not hurt your child.
Chiropractors do not use drugs which sometimes cause more harmful side
effects than the progression of the disease itself. Drugs can also create
the potential for addiction, even in young children.The Doctor of
Chiropractic does not perform any invasive procedures (such as surgery)
which sometimes can have irreversible side effects. These are some of the
reasons why malpractice insurance rates for chiropractors are only a
fraction of what physicians pay and why more than 30 million Americans
choose chiropractic care for their children and
How effective is
chiropractic care for children?
Doctors of Chiropractic have been
providing safe and effective care or children for nearly 100 years. There
are several published studies conducted by researchers in Germany,
Australia, Denmark and the United States which confirm the effectiveness
of chiropractic for a variety of childhood illnesses. This body of
scientific evidence is growing every day.
What if my child has a
health problem that doesn't respond to chiropractic care?
of Chiropractic are trained to recognize complex health problems. Their
primary obligation is the welfare of the child. When they reach their
limits of skill and authority, the International Chiropractors
Association's position is that "doctors in all fields of practice are
ethically and morally bound to make patient referrals to practitioners in
other fields of healing when such referrals are necessary to provide the
highest quality of patient care."
There are so many different
health care specialists today. Who is really responsible for the health of
You are. As a parent, you must take responsibility for
your child's health and use your best judgment as to what is most
appropriate for your child. Fortunately, there are some outstanding
primary health care providers to help you make your decisions, including
your Doctor of Chiropractic, pediatrician and dentist. These professionals
can make up your child's personal health care team.
Do all Doctors of
Chiropractic care for children? How do I choose?
Chiropractic are licensed in all 50 states of the U.S. to provide
chiropractic care to children and adults.A doctor who is interested in
providing the best care possible will belong to a chiropractic pediatric
council and take regular continuing post-graduate courses in pediatrics.
Some may pursue a postgraduate degree in pediatrics. Choose a doctor with
a family practice or who is referred to you by another parent. The
International Chiropractors Association has a Pediatrics Council to which
many doctors belong. This Council regularly updates doctors with the
latest in chiropractic pediatric care and encourages its members to take
advanced education in chiropractic pediatrics to improve their diagnostic
and clinical skills.
To find out if a doctor in your area is a
member of the ICA Pediatrics Council call the International Chiropractors
Association at (703) 528-5000.
What if my child has a high fever, severe
pain or other serious medical problem?
Take your child immediately to the nearest
emergency medical facility. When your child's condition has stabilized,
then call on any of your child's health care team for help and advice.
It's essential that when an emergency arises, you or anyone else
responsible for your children know where to go and whom to call.