Chiropractic For Kids & Pregnant Women
There are several reasons why it is beneficial to check for spinal alignment in children. Kids have many stressors to their bodies, even in the first few years. These stressors can play a role in lifelong spinal changes, due to the fact that a baby's spine is mostly cartilage at birth and is not fully developed into bone until the early adult years. We want to do everything we can to assure it grows and develops appropriately during their childhood.
The first potential stressor is in-utero constraint. If a child was in a less than ideal position during the pregnancy, it can affect the way his/ her spine develops in the years to come. In addition, the birth process itself can cause spinal changes even in the most natural birth settings. Add to this the use of vacuum, forceps, cesarean, and even the doctor's strong pulling action, and it becomes very likely the baby will have alterations to their young spine just from being born!
Once the baby is out in the world, there are several factors that can contribute to spinal changes. Traditional diaper changing where the legs are lifted high in the air can create a buckling point in the lower part of the spine. Kids who spend much of their day in a walker, jumper or car seat tend to also have stress on their spines. The falls are numerous when they begin learning how to walk and this creates a constant stress to the spine.
As they get a little bit older, kids can be tough on their bodies. Learning to ride a bike, falling out of a tree, jumping from high places, heading the soccer ball, getting tackled in football, backflips in gymnastics, etc. all can affect their growing spines.
If a child's spine is affected by any of these means, it will affect the ability of their nerves to properly communicate between their brain and body. This can manifest as symptoms of back or neck soreness/stiffness, decreased immune capabilities, ear infections, colic, constipation, bedwetting, learning disorders, and more (see "Can Chiropractic Help You?" for a complete list). However, more frequently, the child has no symptoms at all but may rather experience illness or symptoms as an adult.
These physical stressors are always present, but if we can prevent long term alterations to the spine, the child will be healthier now and as an adult. We now know it takes up to ten years to see degenerative (arthritic) changes on an x-ray. That means the teenagers and young adults who have these changes more than likely had the initial insult to their spine as a young child. This is just one more reason to have your child checked by a chiropractor.
When a child does not have symptoms, we call it a "wellness visit". The chiropractor checks the child's spine for signs of misalignment and gives light spinal adjustments as needed. Children are very resilient and their wellness visits tend to be much less frequent than adults.
Chiropractic care has several benefits for pregnant women. First, by making sure the bones of the spine are properly aligned (specifically in the lower back), there is physically more space for the uterus to grow and expand in the proper position. Additionally, there are several ligaments that run from the lower part of the spine (sacrum) to the uterus and from the front of the pelvis (pubic symphysis) to the uterus. These ligaments can get very tight, sometimes painful, and pull unevenly on the uterus if the sacrum is out of alignment. By checking the spine for proper alignment, the pregnant woman is more likely to have her uterus in an ideal position for the baby's growth and development.
Secondly, chiropractic aims to remove any interference to nerve communication created by improperly aligned bones (vertebrae) in the spine. When checking the spine of a pregnant woman, a chiropractor can determine if a vertebra may be causing interference to the nerves that travel to the uterus and reproductive organs. If these bones are put into proper alignment, the woman will have better communication between her brain and body (specifically her uterus in this case) and that will result in better function of the organs controlled by those nerves.
Chiropractic adjustments to pregnant women do not only affect her, they are also very beneficial to her unborn child. We now know that in-utero constraint is one of the first physical micro-traumas that can cause changes to a baby's spine. A baby might have in-utero constraint if the mother's pelvis and sacrum are misaligned, causing the ligaments to tighten and pull unevenly, as well as creating interference to the nerves in that area. Additionally, babies who are in a breech position, transverse lie or facial presentation all have significant stress to their spines as they remain in these positions over time.
Another benefit of chiropractic care for pregnant women is decreased labor time. Women who are under regular chiropractic care tend to have labor times that are 35-45% shorter than those who are not.
Dr. Langner has her certification in the Webster technique, which is a specific chiropractic adjustment designed for pregnant women. The Webster technique involves checking the sacrum for misalignment as well as finding tight points in the ligaments. By correcting these two things, the uterus is able to be ideally positioned for the baby's growth, development and delivery. The Webster technique has also been found to be 85-90% effective in allowing proper space and nerve communication for breech babies to turn head down.
Dr. Langner also provides additional information for the pregnant patient regarding nutrition, supplements, physical activity, stress reduction and other important elements of health during pregnancy. Lastly, the most recent research information is available for pregnant moms to read regarding the pros and cons of certain testing procedures during pregnancy, labor and delivery.