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Chiropractic Care is Family Care

Chiropractic care is a family affair – it is not just for adults. Babies, toddlers, children and teenagers may also all benefit from chiropractic care by helping them grow in the healthiest way possible. Most people don’t realise the importance of getting their newborns’ spine checked, but infancy and childhood are crucial stages in a person’s life to receive chiropractic care.

Paediatric chiropractic care is proven to be clinically effective. And if done correctly, it is definitely gentle and safe. The statistics on chiropractic safety are truly amazing. In 2019, Safer Care Victoria led an independent review1 on the practice of spinal manipulation in children under 12 years. The results found:

  • No reports of harm;
  • 99.7% of positive experience with chiropractic care of their children;
  • 98% of statements saying chiropractic care helped their child, indicating improvement after treatment
  • 99.1% of feedbacks indicated they were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the information provided about the benefits of treatment; and 
  • 95.8% of feedback stated they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the information provided about the risk of treatment

Chiropractic adjustments are specifically modified to be gentle and appropriate for children of all ages, sizes, and development levels. When adjusting a newborn baby, only light pressure is applied which looks like relaxing stretches with gentle pressure that would not even damage a ripe tomato.

Safer care chiropractic

Chiropractic and The Nervous System

Chiropractic is based on the premise that the body can adapt appropriately to its environment, given that there is no interference to the nervous system. Chiropractors call these interferences subluxations, which are points in the spine that interrupt the messages between the brain and the body. Therefore, chiropractic adjustments aim to clear the interference in the nervous system caused by spinal alignment and movement issues. Click here to watch a video to find out more information about spinal dysfunction. The nervous system controls all signals from your brain to the rest of your body – it coordinates and controls every other system, organ, and cell. A well-functioning nervous system free of interference allows the body to function and optimally develop towards peak potential.

Causes of Subluxation

There are many causes of nerve interference in children. The earliest cause and challenge to a growing child’s spine is the position it is forced to adopt in the utero, which can further worsen if your baby was born breech, transverse, or posterior.

Did you know that many babies also experience nerve dysfunction from the force and stress from birth? Harvard University Pathologist Dr. Abraham Towbin found evidence of common spinal injury due to the birthing processes from 90-140 pounds (40-64 kgs) of pulling pressure. This pressure is not uncommon in the normal, natural delivery process and is strong enough to produce spinal damage2. This pulling pressure may be associated with nerve dysfunction, even in natural birthing methods – not to mention surgical interventions such as caesarean sections, inductions, forceps, and vacuum extractions – which all require twisting, torqueing, compression, and tractioning of a child’s spine.

A study investigated a link between caesarian sections and forceps births with head injuries in newborns and found that babies delivered with the aid of surgical interventions are at greater risk of head injuries than babies born by natural childbirth3. Furthermore, an osteopathic research study found 95% of newborn babies are born with strain in the upper neck4. This is where chiropractic may help.


Nerve dysfunction may be one of the causes of many common health complaints in newborns, including colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, and constipation. Colic and reflux among babies are often associated with changes in the vagus nerve’s messages. This nerve is responsible for upper digestion (and many other important health gut issues), and it exits out of the brainstem. This is why gentle adjustments to the upper neck region and cranial work may positively impact babies with colic and reflux. As for babies with breastfeeding difficulties, nerve dysfunction is also found in the upper neck, specifically the first vertebra (C1), known as the atlas. C1 may become subluxated as a result of trauma related to the birthing process. By adjusting C1, the baby may turn their neck more easily, making latching on both sides more comfortable. Also, gentle cranio-sacral adjustments (gentle mobilisations to the skull and sacrum) and the jaw releases can help promote a deeper and stronger suck.


The toddler years are the years of reaching milestones in which a baby grows into an independent and curious little human being. Although every toddler is unique, some critical milestones need to be reached in specific timeframes. Important milestones include sitting, crawling, standing, and walking. These milestones will naturally come with falls, tumbles, and possibly bumps to the head, which can cause trauma in the child’s spine and nervous system. Other important milestones that need to be reached are integrating primitive reflexes, which are the automatic movement patterns that babies are born with to respond to specific sensory stimulation. To help understand this, click here to find more information. The integration of the primitive reflexes should happen within the first year of life, indicating brain development to allow the child to control their voluntary movements in gravity and through postural reflexes. When there is a delay in the integration of the primitive reflexes, this indicates slower brain maturation, which may be associated with learning delays, emotional challenges, and coordination difficulties.


When a child begins “big school,” it can be scary and exciting at the same time as big kids create many experiences and achieve different milestones. At school, children will be required to sit still and concentrate for longer periods of time. Parents may look at getting their child checked by a chiropractor to see if there are primitive reflexes that are still retained that make school challenging for children who find this difficult and experience learning and behavioural difficulties. Also, just like adults who work at desks, ergonomics’ importance is equally as critical in children. It’s just that instead of looking at a computer, they will be looking at a board or their teacher at the front of the room. But it is a common practice where children are given a designated seat for the term meaning their head and neck will be turned to one side for hours a day up to 10 weeks a term.

A chiropractor’s role is to assess the spine and body’s symmetry and movement. Also, during a child’s time at school, they will have the opportunity to try and experience a large variety of sports and activities. This will involve developing balance, coordination, strength, and movement patterns. Sometimes, the child may experience pain or discomfort on one side and favour the other side, leading to imbalances.


The teenage years, also known as adolescence, is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development into adulthood. It is the time frame where there are significant brain and body growth. With puberty, there are remarkable changes in hormones where both boys and girls will have growth spurts and girls will also begin their menstrual cycle. When the body is not adapting, the adolescent may experience menstrual pain, menstrual irregularity, skin blemishes, weight gain, and emotional sensitivity. Chiropractic care may help with menstrual cramps and menstrual-related low back pain by removing the nerve interferences, particularly at the sacrum, which has been shown to supply the reproductive and hormonal systems.

Another very common condition chiropractic care has been demonstrated to help with is… posture! What is your current posture now as you read this, or did you sit up straight reading the word “posture”? There is an increase in children with limited core strength and tone to support optimal postural strength development due to increased exposure to technology. Whether it be a computer or laptop, phone, or gaming consoles, there is no denying screen time creates sedentary behaviours and stressed postures. In fact, doctors have now coined this as “tech neck,” which is a frequently painful condition that results from the hunchback slouch many people have when they’re using their electronic devices. Bending the neck forward and down can strain the spine, especially the neck, producing tension in the neck and shoulders, which can be associated with headaches and upper back pain. Tech neck may also lead to structural changes in the neck curve’s alignment leading to wear and tear arthritis.

Another cause for poor posture, muscle strains, and body aches are heavy backpacks. Did you know that the recommended golden rule in backpacks should not be more than 10% of the person’s bodyweight?5 For example, a teenager who weighs 50kg should not have a backpack that weighs more than 5kg. This may mean that their laptop, which weighs on average 2kg, should not be placed inside the bag. Instead, it is recommended that the laptop is carried in case externally. It is also important to have the backpack worn correctly to maximise its use whilst minimising strain on the spine. Chiropractors regularly check backpacks the beginning of every school term.

If you would like more information or would like to have your child’s spine checked, contact Dr. Cindy Lam at Provolution Health on 6299 2660 or at


Dr. Cindy Lam Chiropractor

Dr. Cindy Lam

After suffering with low back pain related to her menstrual cycle as a teen, and finding incredible results and relief with Chiropractic care, Cindy knew by the age of 14 that she wanted to pursue Chiropractic to bring that same opportunity to you. Having studied at Macquarie University, she has graduated with a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and a Master of Chiropractic.

Dr. Cindy is grateful to be surrounded by a wonderful and exceptional team, and to be working in her chosen profession. She loves seeing the changes in people’s health and quality of life because of their body’s innate ability to heal.


Safer Care Victoria. Chiropractic spinal manipulation of children under 12: Independent review. Melbourne, Victoria: Victorian Government, Oct. 2019. . Accessed 11.5.2019

Towbin A. Latent Spinal Cord and Brain Stem Injury in New Born Infants. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1969;11:54-58

Maginness G Dr. (2001). C4K Chiropractic for Kids. Paediatric Research. [CD-ROM]. Available: [2001].

Fryman VM. Springall P Effect of Osteopathic Medical Management on Neurologic Development in Children JAOA. 1992;92:729

Brackley HM, Stevenson JM. Are children’s backpack weight limits enough?: A critical review of the relevant literature. Spine. 2004 Oct 1;29(19):2184-90.

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