|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on August 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM|
When is it time for a child's first spinal examination?
Should we wait until children complain of back pain before taking them to the chiropractor?
These are two questions which parents frequently ask of their chiropractor.
Throughout most communities, it is a generally well-accepted fact that children should have regular dental check-ups to identify problems at the earliest possible time. In this way, dentists attempt to identify early tooth decay and alignment problems of the teeth, because they know that the earlier the problem is detected, the easier it will be to fix.
Well, what about the potential for children to develop spinal problems? Should children be examined at regular intervals during their growing years to identify spinal problems which may progress to become serious and permanent. Unfortunately, the generally accepted view in most communities is that one visits a chiropractor for backache or neck pain, and in the absence of these symptoms, it can be assumed that the spine is doing okay.
When evaluating the spines of adult patients, chiropractors frequently encounter degenerative changes in discs and vertebral joint structures which have been ongoing for many years, and can be identified, by the degree of degeneration, as having often started during childhood, without any evidence of symptoms.
In many cases, it is only when the spinal degeneration reaches an advanced stage that symptoms of pain and stiffness occur.
If the spinal problem causing these symptoms could have been detected at an early age, and the problem had been corrected, then a lifetime of misery due to chronic back pain could have been avoided.
For this reason, it is recommended that a childs first spinal evaluation should be early in life when the spine is growing and developing at the fastest rate.
The period of fastest growth, the first year of life, is also a period of considerable trauma when the child is learning to walk. This phase of a child's development is also the period when the secondary spinal curves are forming in the child's neck and low back. Because the first year of life is such an important one for spinal development, and because the potential for trauma is high, it is recommended that a child's first spinal evaluations should be performed during this period.
Beyond the first year, the child needs regular checkups to ensure that the microtrauma of a child's daily living, such as "rough house" play and falls from bicycles, etc., are not causing spinal problems. These problems might otherwise go unnoticed, simply because the child does not complain of symptoms.