Kids and pregnancy month is more important than ever this year at Health Space. Due to the sensationalism around one negative story of a chiropractor in Victoria, there is an investigation currently being conducted into the safety of chiropractic care for children under 12.
John de Voy, vice president of the Australian Chiropractic Association, has said that the fact that the availability of paediatric chiropractic care is even being challenged is ridiculous, especially considering there is NO evidence of harm documented here in Australia. I completely agree. This is a topic I am very passionate about, having seen first hand the amazing results both my children and wonderful young clients have had under chiropractic care.
So why do we think Chiropractic care is so important during pregnancy and childhood anyway?
Once your baby is conceived their brain and spinal cord will have started development even before you have a positive pregnancy test. Chiropractic care may not just be important to help the pregnant body with alignment for comfort reasons but also to allow for optimal pelvic biomechanics to decrease uterine constraint and improved chances of natural vaginal birth. Research shows that having optimal pelvic and sacral biomechanics may be linked with quicker, easier births, with less pain and less chance of intervention.
Once the baby is born did you know that they are born with nearly all the neurons they will ever have? But at birth, the neurons are yet to connect. These connections (known as synapses) are essential for growth, development, and learning. How do you think these connections in the brain and nervous system occur?
In the first year of life (and especially the early months) these connections predominantly occur through experiences, observation of relationships they are exposed to each day and physical contact. So having positive experiences, seeing positive role models and being held are not just essential for their emotional well-being but also their brain development.
As children begin to move more, this becomes an essential ingredient for nervous system development too. Did you know providing your child plenty of time to explore their environment unrestricted is essential for their brain development? As the child gets older having ample time to play (ideally in nature) is essential for these connections to form. Movement also comes in the form of massage, gentle chiropractic, cranio-sacral, etc.
As a parent and a chiropractor, there is a major change I believe has had a huge impact on the brain development and health of our children of today. This simply is a lack of movement and increased use of restraints. Babies are spending extended amounts of time being restrained in a pram, car seat, bumbo, bath chair, carrier, walker, jolly jumper, etc. This is not how our spines are designed to function. Not only is extended time in restraints bad for the spine, posture and nervous system but children are severely lacking that physical touch that is so essential for their brain development. Whilst keeping our children safe in a car seat or having them close to us in a carrier are ways we have adapted to modern day life, children are often propped for hours at a time in these restraints for the sake of convenience. When we hold a child we are always moving them into different positions as they get heavy. When a child is left in restraint for long periods they are missing out not only on the physical contact again but the movement that is essential for their nervous system health and development.
In regards to movement, beyond the baby years, the Australian Health Survey shows that only one-third of primary children and one in ten younger children undertake the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily. 60% of Australian adults do less than 30 minutes per day! We need to be good role models when it comes to exercise and physical activity if we expect our children to be healthy. A huge impact on decreased activity levels and indeed brain development I believe is the increased use of technology, devices and screen time but that’s another whole topic!
Chiropractic care and living a chiropractic lifestyle is hugely important in inspiring children (and indeed everyone!) to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. Adjustments, mobilisations, massage etc., may also help to remove stuck spinal segments and remove interference to improve nervous system function and expression.
Chiropractic care, especially for kids, has long come under scrutiny, especially from the medical association. Arguments about the quality of research and whether it does or doesn’t work are really irrelevant. Anyone who has experienced chiropractic care knows how well it works. What it comes down to is allowing Australians the opportunity and CHOICE to have chiropractic care available for their children. Thank you to those who have submitted their opinions and experiences for the review currently being conducted.
Remember the best thing you can do for your child’s brain development is to keep providing loving, nurturing environments for your them, ensure they get held regularly and provide plenty of unrestrained time to for them move and explore their environment.
If your child’s nervous system is not functioning optimally which could been seen in a myriad of expressions such as, behaviour, coordination, immune system function, bowel movement, digestion, sleep, symmetry of bodily movements, crying etc., or you would like to have their spine and nervous system assessed then please call your nearest clinic so we can direct you to one of our paediatric trained chiropractors.