..... healthier minds and bodies tomorrow
Kids get subluxations too
All too often when we talk to adults, children's spines are often not considered as possibly being a problem.
Largely this is due to the popular notion that spinal problems relate to getting "old" and "worn out".
The reality however is different.
"This survey shows that the 2 largest groups of pediatric chiropractic patients in Denmark are babies with a large variety of symptoms and older children with musculoskeletal complaints. The complaints are often chronic and may have an impact on the children's lives. The survey also showed limited referral from other health care professionals. (1)
Spinal problems in fact relate to injury. Injuries can happen at any time of life sometimes as early as birth and are often created later by sport and other incidents like hits, lifts, trips and falls as well as accidents (sports and motor vehicles etc.
The birth process does involve a lot of mechanical force, even in the "perfect" birth where everything goes well for both mother and child. When we consider an infant's spine, the experience of the mother may be totally different to that of the infant.
Generally the birth process should be a case of the mother expelling the child with the assistance of gravity and any assistance from others being to catch the child and to care for the needs of the mother and infant after the birth.
There are some situations during some births, where more active assistance is required. This can involve things like induction of labour, suction and forceps extractions as well as caesareans. All of these interventions have been shown at times to put an excessive amount of force onto the infant, causing damage to the neck in particular and spine in general.
Symptoms that can relate to birth injury are:
At the infant stage some of the more common symptoms presenting to a chiropractor are:
there may be no obvious symptoms at all
pain - ranging from mild crying to non-stop screaming ending only when exhaustion takes hold for a short time
not crying at all - ever
colic, digestive upset, inability to assimilate foods, persistent vomiting
inability to turn the head,
inability to sleep
inability to move
loss of "smile"
inability to raise the head
As the child gets to the toddler stage, other symptoms may be:
failure to "thrive"
delay in crawling or even the desire to crawl
delayed standing or inability to balance
inability to progressively gain in coordinated ability to walk and run, jump etc
The early school years may show:
difficulty with reading
difficulty seeing written material on blackboard
poor grades in learning
Hearing is OK but comprehension and/or memory are poor
poor hand-eye coordination
not good a sports
sense of balance is off
This list could in fact go on and on!
So why is there such a wide variety
When the spine is injured for whatever reason, spinal position is often compromised. we call this misalignment that also irritates the nervous system a subluxation. The subluxation is a complex of physical changes that occur with or without overt symptoms. One part of this complex of events is nerve irritation. Irritation of nerves initially causes too much signal intensity. With time however, as the irritation persists, signal intensity can drop as much as 60% below normal levels. Wether the intensity is too much or too little compared to normal, the messages contained in those signals is altered from what they should be. and therefore the ability of the body to fully comprehend itself is compromised, its position sensing, balance sensing, muscle tone sensing and the control of internal organs is NOT what it ought to be. The muscles, organs etc have no decision making ability about the incoming signals and blindly follow what the instructions that come with these faulty, changed from normal signals. What results is a body that cannot perform at a level that it was designed to be able to perform.
The Course of Low Back Pain From Adolescence to Adulthood: Eight-Year Follow-up of 9600 Twins (2)
Study Design. Prospective study with 8-year follow-up.
Objective. To describe the evolution of low back pain from adolescence into adulthood.
Summary of Background Data. High prevalence rates of low back pain among children and adolescents have been demonstrated in several studies, and it has been theorized that low back pain in childhood may have important consequences for future low back pain. It is important to understand the nature of such a link if effective preventive programs are to be established.
Methods. Almost 10,000 Danish twins born between 1972 and 1982 were surveyed by means of postal questionnaires in 1994 and again in 2002. The questionnaires dealt with various aspects of general health, including the prevalence of low back pain, classified according to number of days affected (0, 1-7, 8-30, >30).
Results. Low back pain in adolescence was found to be a significant risk factor for low back pain in adulthood with odds ratios as high as four. We also demonstrated a dose-response association: the more days with low back pain at baseline, the higher the risk of future low back pain. Twenty-six percent of those with low back pain for more than 30 days during the baseline year also had more than 30 days with low back pain during the follow-up year. This was true for only 9% of the rest of the sample.
Conclusions. Our study clearly demonstrates correlations between low back pain in childhood/adolescence and low back pain in adulthood. This should lead to a change in focus from the adult to the young population in relation to research, prevention, and treatment.
So if a child has low back pain for longer than 30 days, the greater the risk (4 fold) that low back pain will be an issue as an adult.
Comorbidity with low back pain: a cross-sectional population-based survey of 12- to 22-year-olds. (3)
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional, population-based survey.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the pattern of comorbidity with low back pain in adolescents.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Low back pain is usually dealt with as a specific and independent entity. However, the existing literature shows comorbidity to be common with low back pain, suggesting that low back pain may be part of a broader pattern of general health. The present knowledge is based on studies of adult populations; therefore, associations could be explained by work and lifestyle factors. Information in this area is lacking regarding subjects still unaffected by such factors.
METHODS: A questionnaire-survey about general health, including low back pain, was carried out among twins registered in the population-based Danish Twin Registry. Associations between disorders were calculated and patterns of comorbidity investigated, by means of logistic regression and a finite mixture model. Finally a twin-control study was conducted.
RESULTS: A total of 9,567 individuals, 12 to 22 years of age, responded to the questionnaire. Positive associations between low back pain and asthma and headache/migraine were demonstrated, mainly because of study participants with several disorders. No association between low back pain and atopic dermatitis/hay fever was found. The presence of two other disorders increased the probability of low back pain considerably more than the presence of only one other disorder. The finite mixture model indicated that the probability of belonging to a frail subgroup decreased from 60% at age 13 to 25% at age 21, and in the frail subgroups nearly all report low back pain and headache in the older ages. Furthermore, increasing duration of low back pain increased the likelihood of having other disorders. Results from the twin-control study were similar.
CONCLUSION: Young people are more likely to suffer from asthma and headache, but not from atopic dermatitis/hay fever, if they have low back pain. All of the investigated disorders cluster in some individuals. A model of common origin for these seemingly independent disorders should be considered.
This means that if a child has low back pain AND another disorder such as asthma or headache, then like the previous study mentioned above (1) there is a greater likelihood that if the child was still frail between 13 to 21 years of age that the symptoms would likely return.
Subluxations have no good place in the body. They need to be detected and corrected as soon as possible after they are present.
Chiropractors are the only profession which through their university studies know how to both detect and adjust subluxations back to their proper state, returning the spine to normal function.
The wise parent will seek a chiropractor with the skills to make spinal analysis and adjustments with the least amount of force being applied to the child. Less forceful adjustments need to be performed with more accurately than with traditional manipulative methods. Many adjustments on infants are performed with gentle finger pressure that when applied will not wake an infant from sleep.
Vertebral Subluxations Complex
is the most overlooked problem in children
When overt symptoms relate to non spinal issues, the spine is often not given a thought at all in diagnosing the presenting problem. While this is understandable, it also makes little sense. Because the spine, housing the spinal cord and providing a passage for the individual nerves needs to be fully functional as well. Not giving the spine a full examination is not in the best interests of the patient. A full examination should include an investigation for the presence of subluxations.
In a chiropractic practice, there is an emphasis of examination of the spine and nervous system without ignoring other regions of the body. Medically trained patients are often amazed at the extent of the physical exam that they receive at the hands of the chiropractic profession.
Sometimes even when the spine is examined and x-rays have been taken, the most rudimentary examination of the x-rays will ignore alignment issues and even go so far as to say that alignment is "normal" when in fact there are multiple structurally significant retrolistheses (based on the AMA Guidelines for Physical Impairment) present
The bottom line is see a chiropractor for a spinal check. That is what the profession does all day. That is what we are generally good at doing.
Did you know that you have a million dollar spine?
The cost of replacing a spinal disc with an artificial one is conservatively of the order of $US35,000 to $US45,000. (2013) (4)
We have 23 discs in 24 segment movable spine so if we were to value our spines on the replacement value of the disc only, then we would have a spine worth $US805,00 to $US1,035,000. This figure doesn't even count the precision made vertebrae with their weight bearing and guiding portions. Neither does it count the ligaments, muscles and tendons nor does it count the fascia that surrounds all of the tissues of the body that enable the various structures to slide one over the other, not to mention the nervous system that it houses.
It makes sense to look after this amazing and highly valuable spine far better than that brand new car, boat or plane that you may have dreamt about owning and have just taken possession of. For most of us our spine is worth ever so much more than any vehicle worth in the vicinity of $US1,000,000.
Consider now that the spine houses the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Together with the brain, they are the parts of the body that we experience life through. Subluxations distort that experience. Subluxations cause life to be a lesser event than it could be. Jangled nerves mean that life is experienced through a jangled filter. We are all better off without subluxations being part of our spine's condition.
Children deserve to have their spines checked to ensure that life can be as easy as it was designed to be.
Children have an advantage over adults.
Children's big advantage as far as spinal health is concerned is that:
1 They are still growing.
2 That there are still some blood vessels providing nourishment to cartilage including the discs. These vessels
disappear after the puberty growth spurt. (see adult discs at left)
That means that children until they stop growing at the end of puberty, can make repairs to damaged discs. After that time repairs get more and more less likely to either be complete or happen at all.
Even with these advantages, there seems to be some limits. The main one is that most of the repair takes place in the first 10 weeks after injury. After that 10 weeks, there is still some repair possible but it is nowhere as rapid as is possible with a fresh injury. Repair is considered to continue for about 1 year after the injury. This is termed the "time of maximum physiological improvement'. You have to go to great lengths after that time to get the best out of the body after the year is up and there will likely be some permanent damage. making a full recovery impossible.
Does that mean that if your child was injured longer than 1 year ago that nothing can be done? No but it may mean that subluxations may re-occur more easily for slight provocation. Logically, a child's life will always be better for being as subluxation free as possible. This is also true for anyone of any age.
Watch the child and if symptoms are present have them checked for subluxations. If they are present, a chiropractic adjustment will likely be better for them than consuming pain killers or antiinflammatories.
There is a noisy small section of the medical profession in Australia that would have the public believe that children should not be spinally adjusted. They give NO evidence for that statement. Their position is not based on verifiable facts and seems to be fear mongering. It is part of an ongoing turf war that the medical profession has waged against the chiropractic profession for decades for which organised medicine have been found guilty conspiring to abolish chiropractic. (5)
1 A DESCRIPTION OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS IN DANISH CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICE RESULTS FROM
A NATIONWIDE SURVEY, Hestbaek, Lise DC, PhD et al, JMPT Volume 32, Issue 8, P607-615 (October 2009)
2 The Course of Low Back Pain From Adolescence to Adulthood: Eight-Year Follow-up of 9600 Twins
Hestbaek, Lise DC, PhD et al, Spine, 15 February 2006 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - pp 468-472
3 Comorbidity with low back pain: a cross-sectional population-based survey of 12- to 22-year-olds
Hestbaek L et al, Spine 2004 Jul 1;29(13):1483-91
accessed 30 Aug 2013
5 The Chiropractic Antitrust Suit - Wilke et al vs AMA et al - accessed Sept 2013