As we near the beginning of back to school, every parent wants to ensure that their child has a healthy and productive school year. One way parents can support their child’s health and learning is by encouraging healthy spinal development habits. It’s also important to get your child chiropractic care when they have symptoms of spinal subluxation, a posture problem, or an injury.
Kids aren’t the first group that comes to mind when most of us think about chiropractic care or back pain. But, as children go through developmental stages, their spines undergo enormous changes and strains. This makes kids more prone to subluxations (misaligned vertebrae) than adults.
Here are four things every parent should know about caring for their child’s spine:
1. Untreated Spinal Problems Can Cause Developmental Delay
Take a moment and think about everything a child’s spine goes through from birth through age 12. Trauma can occur in the birth canal, from frequent falls in the toddler stage, and roughhousing later in childhood. Kids are harder on their spines than the average adult. Even sedentary activities like sitting all day in class or spending hours playing video games take a toll on back health, especially if the child has bad posture. It’s no wonder kids frequently experience health problems related to their spinal.
Spinal subluxations can happen during the birthing process and cause problems like colic, trouble nursing, and unexplained fussiness in infants. Sometimes these early spinal problems don’t show up until a bit later when the child is trying to turn over or crawl. Subluxations are one reason why kids can struggle to meet these milestones. They can even cause delays in learning to walk.
During the period from birth through the preschool years, your child’s spine undergoes an amazing transformation. The spinal curves begin to appear, and the structure that allows your child to walk upright is formed. Subluxations that happen during this period can impede nerve signals that are necessary for the complex changes that are taking place.
Chiropractors are trained in gentle, safe adjustment methods for infants and children. Getting your child care during this crucial moment in their development will ensure they meet important milestones and get a healthy start in life.
2. Posture and Learning Go Hand in Hand
Inattention and distracting aches and pains can cause real problems in the classroom. Kids who flop around in their seats or can’t sit still may appear bored or unengaged, but they might be dealing with musculoskeletal problems.
Core muscles develop during childhood, and keeping these muscles strong is vital to mobility, good posture, and many other areas of functioning. Kids with weak core muscles often have trouble sitting up straight for any length of time. They can also have trouble with fine motor skills like holding a pencil or doing up buttons. Healthy core muscles are vital for a healthy spine. They hold the spine in place, support its movements, and can prevent injury. Sitting for long hours can weaken the core muscles or cause them to be underdeveloped in children.
Fortunately, simple exercises and habit modifications can strengthen your child’s core muscles. Your chiropractor will guide you on exercises your child can do at home. Encourage your child to be active as much as possible. When they must sit, teach them good posture habits and have them practice. You can check with your child’s teacher to ensure their desk is sized appropriately. Your child’s feet should be on the floor, with their knees at a 90-degree angle. Their forearms should be able to rest on their desk with their elbows at a 90-degree angle.
An ergonomic school environment, core strengthening, and posture correction can improve attention and behavior difficulties that impact your child’s learning ability.
3. Childhood Back Problems Get Worse with Time
A child’s back is more malleable than an adult’s. This means it’s more prone to subluxations, but subluxations and other problems are also easier to fix. Once a person finishes developing, problems with their spinal curves and posture are more difficult to address.
Teaching children good posture habits and getting them regular chiropractic care can prevent childhood spine problems from becoming permanent features. This also goes for conditions like scoliosis. Scoliosis can’t be prevented, but it can be mitigated with prompt treatment. The sideways curve of the spine in scoliosis can cause severe pain and other health problems if left untreated. In childhood, it can be treated with a special brace that straightens the spine. Once development is complete, untreated scoliosis may require surgery. Treating scoliosis and other spine problems in childhood can prevent painful, lifelong symptoms.
4. Your Child’s Spine Affects Other Body Systems
Several studies have noted a correlation between spinal problems and conditions like asthma, allergies, ADD, and behavior problems in children. It’s well known that problems with the upper (thoracic) spinal curve affect breathing. Adults with kyphosis (hump-back) experience breathing problems as a result. This is because the nerves that control the lungs and diaphragm branch out from that area of the spine. When these nerves are impeded, breathing problems occur.
Spinal subluxations in children and adults can cause or worsen asthma symptoms, digestive problems, and mental health conditions. Many parents of kids who have allergies or get sick frequently notice an improvement in their child’s immune health with chiropractic care. The immune system is regulated by the nervous system, as are all systems of the body. Keeping the nervous system healthy and unimpeded is a necessary prerequisite for good health. Kids with anxiety, ADD, and autism often show behavioral improvements after spinal adjustments, and many parents swear by it as an effective treatment.
Regular chiropractic care can keep your child healthy and focused at school and home this fall.
Chiropractic Care for Kids in Houston
At Vanguard Spine and Sport, we treat adults and kids of all ages. We’ve seen the difference chiropractic care makes in people’s lives. Schedule a consultation today to find out more about how chiropractic care can benefit your family.