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Way to Grow! Chiropractic Care for Kids and Teens

December 6, 2017

By Dr. Lisette Miller

True health is attainable at every age! Although this seems obvious, I’ve noticed a disconnect when it comes to family wellness in my day-to-day practice. Many patients will readily mention chiropractic care for a friend or co-worker, but it is far less common for patients to consider having their growing children checked. This is especially concerning because it is during the teen years that the toxic load can be the greatest. In addition, habits established during this stage of life will either have life-long benefits or life-long consequences in the years to come. It is imperative that our teenagers understand and value the benefits of holistic, conservative care, right from the start!

Physical, emotional, and chemical stressors represent the three pillars of overall health and well-being…and they affect us all in some way. If one or more of these areas becomes neglected, a person tends to suffer, maybe not immediately but eventually.  Health begins to fade and symptoms of distress will start to slowly appear. The potential for imbalance is especially prevalent among our teen population who are beginning to juggle increasingly hectic schedules along with greater independence. Physical stressors such as car accidents, postural stress from backpacks and sports injuries often leave lasting effects on the developing spine and nervous system if left uncorrected. Emotional stress is also at an all-time high due to the pressures to “fit in” and to achieve peak performance. Deadlines, activity schedules, college applications, after school jobs, late nights, as well as strained family and friend relationships, may begin to take a toll. Chemical stressors such as environmental pollutants, processed foods and chemical additives further add to the increasingly toxic burden. Kids tend to eat as they are rushing out the door, miss meals, or begin relying on energy drinks, caffeine and sugar to get through the day. These ‘grab-and-go’ diets may lack adequate nutritional value, ultimately leading to micronutrient deficiencies.

Consequently, as unhealthy habits are formed in all areas, the nervous system and its adaptability suffer, and the triad of health begins to tip completely off balance. Introducing conservative healthcare options, such as chiropractic and acupuncture, during the teen years is a crucial opportunity to provide the education, tools and resources that will enable the body to grow and heal naturally, the way it’s designed to!

Improve Healing

Unfortunately, kids and teens with an ‘invincible’ mindset, hectic schedules and weak wellness habits, are more likely to get hurt or sick. Whether it’s bumps, bruises, coughs or colds, chiropractic care is designed to allow the body to heal at an optimal level. Treatment focuses on making the body work more efficiently, and in turn, sickness and injuries become less frequent as overall health is restored. Three reported improvements of chiropractic care for kids are improved immune system function, better quality of sleep and happier disposition.

Ease “Growing Pains”

Despite the name, ‘growing pains’ have not actually been directly linked to growth spurts. They are more likely associated with intense childhood physical activity which can wear on the muscles. Another theory is that because it is common for bones to develop at various rates, some joints and muscles become stressed or strained due to inconsistent growth patterns. Inflammation due to poor diet and nutrient absorption may also play a role. Chiropractors assess the spine from a biomechanical and functional stand point. Altered biomechanics and spinal misalignments of the low back and pelvis may lead to an imbalance in the muscles of the legs, uneven distribution of body weight, and placing additional strain of ligaments and tendons.

Promote Proper Posture

“Stand up straight!” This phrase is something kids and teens usually roll their eyes at but in our office, we teach the importance of posture and how kids can be more successful at correcting it. Sometimes, even though they are trying to sit up straight, their spine is restricted or locked in a way that physically limits good posture. Scoliosis is a condition that often presents in pre-teens, predominately female, and is characterized by an atypical curvature in the spine. This spinal distortion may cause abnormal posture, biomechanical imbalances, muscle tension, pinched nerves, and can get worse as we age. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine showed that chiropractic management may reduce the angle of curvature, alleviate pain and decrease the level of disability. 

Regulate Menstrual Imbalances

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for painful periods. It is estimated that 70% of women suffer with pain during menstruation. Irregular menstruation is a leading cause of dysmenorrhea in teenagers due to their high stress and activity levels. Teenagers are offered a variety of ways to cope with the pain including birth control pills to regulate cycles, over the counter medication to eliminate pain, and heating pads to lessen muscle cramping. Acupuncture is a conservative approach to managing painful periods that does not involve synthetic hormones or medication. In fact, acupuncture can actually help reduce the need for the over-the-counter medications and some studies have shown up to a 90% rate of improvement in symptoms.

 “Children are 33% of Our Population and 100% of Our Future”

It is never too early, or too late, to begin teaching your children the importance of prevention and conservative care. Given the rise in the opioid epidemic and drug-free campaigns in schools, we must be vigilant about educating and offering our children options for natural, drug-free, pain relief. We can no longer just ‘say no to drugs’ without also offering safe alternatives.

Have you considered starting a wellness-based, conservative care plan to help your child learn the value of their spine, posture and nervous system?  Please consider setting your children up for success by incorporating conservative wellness care at an early age—have your child’s spine checked by a chiropractor to instill healthy habits and prevent physical, chemical, and emotional stress from building up. It’s far better to grow healthy kids than fix injured adults!

 As seen in Living Well Magazine 

Dr. Lisette Miller is a Chiropractic Physician and Certified Acupuncture Provider at First State Health & Wellness—Brandywine. She integrates chiropractic care with acupuncture for optimal pain relief and healing. First State Health & Wellness has been providing award-winning healthcare and education for over 30 years. If you’re ready to discuss conservative wellness options for you and your family, visit www.firststatehealth.com to schedule a consultation at one of our 6 convenient locations. To contact our local Rehoboth Beach office in the Midway Shopping Center, call 302.645.6681.