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Pediatric Chiropractic, Dedicated to the Potential of a Prized Generation.

Written by Dr. Derek Larsen DC

April 27, 2021

A Pediatric Chiropractic Success story

This whole week I have been thinking about how to approach the topic of Pediatric Chiropractic in a way that would be enticing and exciting to read. I thought my best bet would be to start out with a story of a few practice members I have been lucky enough to see at the office. I will refer to them simply as the brothers to protect them. The brothers came to me with a few health issues to say the least. They were about 3 years old when I started seeing them and they both had a diagnosis of autism. They were a handful, and I loved it. They gave me an opportunity to match the boundless energy that they brought to every visit. It was so exciting for me because all we did was play with trucks, robots and other toys in the office. Playing with them gave me the opportunity to analyze their biomechanics (how they move) which allowed me the information I needed to determine if they needed an adjustment. The beginning of care was tough, they hated it. At the office everything was new to them which is difficult for kids in general but especially difficult for kids on the autism spectrum. Once we established a routine and they received a few adjustments they began to associate the clinic as a safe place of healing. They began to love coming in, well at least most of the time they loved it. On a typical appointment we would all head straight to the toy room of the clinic. Their Mom the brothers and I would play for a little while. As we played I was able to do my checks. I would check their gait, their posture and their alignment. After I gathered enough information to determine if they needed an adjustment I would say, “Who is ready for the tap, tap, tap?”  one of the brothers would almost always respond, “tap tap!” then jump onto the chiropractic table. He would get adjusted then hop off to let his brother have a turn. I, along with a few other chiropractors, took care of the brothers for months and we saw some dramatic changes. Talking with mom and grandma we noticed that the most dramatic change we saw was in how well the brother adapted to new stressors. Many times they would have huge emotional breakdowns if something had changed in their daily routine. After a few months of care these emotional breakdowns had become less frequent and less severe if they happened. They were able to adapt better to their ever changing uncontrollable environment and it was quite incredible to witness. 

Chiropractic and Autism

Before I discuss this connection I want to say that chiropractic does not cure any disease, the body’s innate ability to heal is what cures disease. In the research there appears to be a connection between a better functioning nervous system and decrease in symptoms. The science behind why and how this happens is still being studied but if we look at the situation and apply some of the known chiropractic science we can understand what is happening. All kids, including the brothers I just talked about take tumbles. They fall down, a lot! It’s part of learning how to control the developing body they possess. When they take those tumbles they are subject to what we will refer to as a trauma. If that little developing body can’t adapt well to the trauma of life the spine and neck can potentially misalign. When the misalignment happens the nervous system’s ability to function at 100% also decreases. I would venture to guess that no one wants to function at any less than 100% and this is the point where chiropractic comes in. Chiropractic care helps the nervous system return to normal function so that the body can heal on its own. 

Now you may be thinking, “How does a little kid get adjusted?”

Let me start out by saying, it is nothing like when an adult gets adjusted. The goal is the same in that we’re looking to improve overall health and well being by adjusting the spine to help improve the function of the nervous system. The means to accomplish that goal is very different. I was taught in chiropractic college to tailor the adjustment to every person I see in the office. I take into consideration the amount of force needed to adjust a joint every time I set up to adjust a practice member. When I adjust an average adult I typically use the larger parts of my hands as well as a leverage from my own body weight. When I adjust a toddler or an infant I typically use my pinky fingers. I do this for a few reasons, first off tiny humans have tiny bones and tiny joints. Adjustments on tiny bones require more effort to be specific, that’s why I utilize a small contact point like the pad of my pinky finger. I also utilize my pinky fingers because it is inherently weaker than the other fingers and I am not able to apply as much force with that finger so the adjustment becomes softer. Here’s a little comparison.. A woodworker would not use a sledge hammer to build a jewelry box, he would use a much smaller hammer to be accurate and delicate. The same principles apply to pediatric chiropractic, when caring for little ones I must be able to be accurate and delicate.  A few other key differences in pediatric adjustments are the ease in which a child is adjusted. All they need is a slight bit of encouragement in the right direction and the child’s body takes over.

Chiropractic is more than back and neck pain.

Check out my last blog post for more on this but I will explain a few things that are specific to kids. When a child is conceived they start out as two cells combining, the sperm cell and the egg cell. At first those cells divide a bunch of times until it forms a pile of cells called the blastula. Up until week 3, The blastula is a consistent type of cell. At three weeks of development the blastula starts to differentiate cell types starting with the cells that form the notochord which is the precursor to the spinal cord. The beginnings of the nervous system, this event takes place before the heart develops! The body’s first step towards a functioning human being is establishing the nervous system so all the cells can communicate. Once that communication is established then the cells begin to differentiate more rapidly and by week 5 or 6 there is so much differentiation in cells that facial features begin to appear. (Check out pictures here!) The nervous system is so important, it is the first thing developed, it is our foundation. If the nervous system isn’t functioning well our foundation is cracked and our bodily functions experience the effects. Chiropractic deals with maintenance of the nervous system. Pediatric chiropractic deals with maintenance of the nervous system of an individual who is trying to develop. It is so important to maintain that foundation for a child’s development. 

I wasn’t adjusted as a kid and I turned out alright. 

That’s probably true, you probably did turn out great. Your child will probably turn out great too. I think that all children should be given the best opportunity possible and chiropractic care is an opportunity to give them a boost they may not get otherwise. The potential of an unhindered nervous system is incredible and it’s not worth risking hindering that potential. If you have any questions, want more information, or just want to talk about Pediatric Chiropractic, feel free to give me a call, or come by the office, I would be more than happy to help.

Pediatric Chiropractic in Juneau Ak. 

I am grateful to be a part of the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association (ICPA). I am grateful to be one of the few in the state of alaska. I am excited to continue my education through the ICPA so that I can better serve our future generations here in Juneau Alaska. I am also excited to be the pediatric chiropractor in juneau because I relate so well with the energy kids bring into practice. 

Dr Derek DC

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  1. Reward Vs Risk, The Safety Of Chiropractic. | Happy Family Chiropractic - […] I mentioned before in my article about pediatric chiropractic, we learn to gage the precise amount of force needed…

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If you liked this post, share it with your friends! It will really help my practice grow. -Dr. Derek