I often get asked if seeing newborn babies are my “hardest” patient to see and I smile and say no. They are actually some of the easiest appointments as long as they are well fed, and mom is nearby. I then get the question of, “well then who is the hardest to adjust?” and I easily answer that with “a toddler that has never been to the office before!” I am talking about the 2-4 year old who now for the first time are receiving chiropractic care.
But even though they are the most active, least cooperative patient, it is awesome to see them and to help their little body be fully connected! Today I want to share some of the benefits of chiropractic care with this population!
We all know that little kids are super active, and they are constantly moving, jumping, climbing, falling, crawling and doing all sorts of things with their body. At times I look at how active my girls are, and I really wonder where they get the energy from… Well, through all their activity, there are times when their body may jolt in a way that could lead to a subluxation forming in their spine. So, the first reason that it is beneficial for them to see a chiropractor is simply because they are super active and to make sure that their spine is aligned properly though all their activity so that they can develop into healthy adults!
The way our body was designed is that we should be able to do most things in balance! If you notice that your child is not symmetrical with their movements, this is something that alerts us that there could be a misalignment in their spine. This could look like a foot being more externally or internally rotated, them going up stairs with only one lead leg, leaning more to one side than the other when sitting/coloring/reading. These are all signs that there is not balance in the body and something that chiropractic care may be able to help with!
One final vital point that most child focused chiropractors will check is to ensure that the primitive reflexes that were present at birth are now integrated, or not present any longer! I am sure I have explained what primitive reflexes are previously, but a little recap: Our primitive reflexes are the reflexes that we are all born with, they include the sucking reflex, the reflex that allows for us to hold onto things, the reflex that allows us to learn to roll over and so many other things. Well, once we get to a certain age, these reflexes should integrate, or disappear, to allow higher brain function to develop.
Well, most of these reflexes should be integrated by the age of two, but in certain kids, there are various reasons why they do not integrate on their own. When they do not integrate, they can lead to the brain needing to work harder and possibly different movement characteristics. An example of this would be the reflex that allows for us to grasp onto things as a small baby, the Palmer Reflex, if not integrated could lead to a child who struggles to hold a pencil properly and lead to messy handwriting. The cool thing that I do with kids is to check to make sure that these reflexes are integrated the way they are supposed to be. But if, for some reason, one of them is not, I am able to help assist the parent in learning different exercises and activities that they can do with their child to balance the system out and to integrate the reflex! When this is done, the child is able to function as they are designed and live the optimal life that we all want for our children!
So, from reading through this, you may think that it would be beneficial for you to have your toddler evaluated but you are thinking, she just said that this was the most difficult demographic to adjust. Well, that is true, but I have found a lot of ways to get the work done that I need to do. I have different “tricks” that I use to have the kids do things without them even realizing that I am doing a check. And after the first 4-5 visits, the kids can feel a difference and become excited to be here and are then awesome and cooperative patients!
If you have any more questions about this stuff specifically, please do not hesitate to reach out to me as I know that you do not want there to be anything “wrong” with your child, but you feel like they are not doing things quite the way they should. Well, there is not anything wrong with them, they may just really benefit from chiropractic care and getting their nervous system balanced! Lets allow your little one to thrive in this beautiful life we are living!