Children and Chiropractic


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Children and Chiropractic


Children, not just adults, benefit from chiropractic care.

Dr. Haberstroh tells us how:

Patients have been asking me for years about chiropractic for kids: Is it safe? How early can a chiropractor adjust a child's spine? Should I get an orthpod to approve of chiropractic treatment for my child first? Doctor, should I get my child checked by a DC even though the MRI/CT scan(s) were negative and s/he still has pain? There are many other questions asked of me regarding kids, but these are the most common inquiries. At Boston Spine Clinics, we can answer these important questions. Let's start our discussion by answering these 4 questions and then move on from there.

Scan32   Scan31
Dr. H with son Jordan, a chiropractic patient.   Alexandra and Kurt; 1991


1) Q:Is chiropractic safe for kids? A: YES! Absolutely safe. There are many methods of chiropractic adjusting for youngsters and they all have one thing in common; these adjustment styles are all very low force and extremely gentle. The orthopedic and neurology anatomy of a child, while smaller and in some ways different from adults, is still generally similar to adults and gentle adjustments to a child's spine can effect changes not only with neck and back pain, but also with certain neurologically based conditions.

2) Q: How early can a chiropractor "adjust" my child's spine?
A: 30 seconds.  That's right. I always say, "Thirty Seconds." I have adjusted my children literally just after they emerged from the birth canal without even severing the umbilical cord. I have placed them gently on my right shoulder and lightly touched their spines with my index and middle fingers. There is always a nice adjustment at that moment in their spines. All this hype about not adjusting children until they are 16 or 18 is put forth by uniformed sources who are not chiropractors and have no informed knowledge of chiropractic. While I don't label my own practice as a pediatric practice per se', I have treated many children over the years including my own. And yes, just after birth is an acceptabale time to begin chiropractic treatment. Consider this; Q: barring the bizarre like a bad accident or injury, what is the most traumatic thing that ever happens to each of us?  A: The act of being born.

3) Q: Should I get an Orthopod to approve of chiropractic treatment for my kid first?
A: No. With the exception of possibly needing a Primary Care Physician to approve of any type of treatment you seek in your particular health plan, no, a parent does not need the approval of an orthopod to seek chiropractic care for their kids. Chiropractors have made a specialty out of chiropractic for kids over the last 30 years. Many practices advertise as specifically pediatric practices and they treat the children splendidly. Literature now exists to show chiropractic care helps with asthma, bed wetting, colic and headaches in children. There are many post-graduate courses and programs in chiropractic that specialize in pediatric care. Pediatric chiropractic has become an extremely popular form of treatment for many DCs.   


Scan34       John-and-alexandra
*Above: Daughter Alexandra in 1990 when she was 1. She got chiropractic care then.   Alexandra with Dad in Hollywood, CA March, 2010;still a chiropractic patient 20 years later.



4) Q: Should I get my child checked by a Chiropractor even though the MRI/CT scan(s) was "negative" and s/he still has pain?  A: Yes. This holds true for adults too. I am often approached by potential patients who have all kinds of orthpedic aches and pains including headaches, radiation of pain down the arms/legs etc and they tell me that since they had expensive imaging done on themselves and/or their child and the scan was allegedly "negative" then there should be no problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. But we should always ask what "negative" really means. In most cases it means no fractures or cancer. It does NOT address the crucial issue of spinal vertebrae out of alignment.    

While the big expensive scans are great to have and more often than not are indeed negative, a simple plain film X-Ray can show us much about the postural attitudes of anyone's spine, degree of degeneration and so forth. Subtle "pathomechanics" (bone slightly out of place) may show better on plain film radiography. This will help the Chiropractor decide on exactly what adjustment to render and in what direction. And of course, this most definitely applies to children as well. Remember, medical facilities are looking for huge pathology. Chiropractors look for that and the subtlties that affect a person's health and life.


*Don't forget to check out "JoJo's DREAM CART for KIDS" at   Educational, entertaining and hugely fun award winning program for kids 5-10 years old.

Back in the 1980's, there was a wildly popular book by an MD name Robert Mendelsohn. He was a pediatrician and on the Board of Examiners for the State of Illinois. His first book was a sensation. It was called, "Confessions of a Medical Heretic." While not a treatise on chiropractic, it did blow the lid off of the medical world and expose readers to the sometimes haphazzard way that MDs and hospitals practice medicine. His follow up was, "How to Raise a Healthy Child:  IN SPITE of Your Doctor." In this case, Mendelsohn refers to your pediatrician. Another blockbuster and hugely readable and informative. I would recommend both of these books to all parents, especially the second book. There was a third book called, "MALE-practice," which challenged what so-called medical research was really accomplishing while continually using women as laboratory guinea pigs. Find these incredible books at

Consider this recent article: Jaskoviak P,"CRA Technique with Invalid Child," Amer ChiroVol. 31 (7), July, 2009. Upshot: An 8 year old girl was struck and dragged by a car. She suffered multiple contusions, a lacerated liver, brain injury, and a torn aorta. She was hospitalized for 10 months and underwent multiple surgeries. At the end of this, she could not walk, talk or see. She was eventually brought to a chiropractor who diagnosed her spinal issues using a special technique called Contact Reflex Analysis. She then undewent an extended course of chiropractic manipulation of the entire spine with emphasis on the neck. She was able to walk, talk and see at the end of this regime. The hospitalization was most definitely needed initially but the chiropractic care was the treatment of choice with follow up care.

Dr. John Haberstroh is a Boston Chiropractor and a Everett Chiropractor.  Tell your friends to find us at Boston Spine Clinics.

There is much more that can be said about pediatric chiropractic, but that would far exceed the scope of this brief WEB page. Suffice it to say, chiropractors have always been, and remain in the vanguard of wholistic treatment for children that espouses the traditional chiropractic philosophy of "First and foremost, prevention." Find more great information on pediatric chiropractic with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association at

COLIC:316 infants with moderate to severe colic were given chiropractic treatment. After 2 weeks (ave. 3 treatments), the success rate was 94%:  60% were totally cured, 34% were much improved. (J Manip. Physiological Therap. Vol. 12, 281-288, 1989). See also, Miller JE, Phillips HL, "Long Term Effects of Infanct Colic: A Survery Comparison of Chiropractic Treatment and Nontreatment Groups," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), oct. 2009.

ENURESIS: aka "bed wetting," Another study showed a 25% success rate with this troublesome situation. Lewitt, a neurologist studied chiropractic care with children with chronic relapsing toncillitis: 67% were cured. (JMPT, Vol. 14 (2), Feb. 1991). See also Poecke AJV, Cunliffe C, "Chiropractic Treatment for Primary Nocturnal Enuresis: A Case Series of 33 Consecutive Patients," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009.

HEADACHES (CHILDREN):See Marchand AM, Miller JE, Mitchell C, "Diagnosis and Chiropractic Treatment of Infant Headache Based on Behavioral Presentation and Physical Findings: A Retrospective Series of 13 Cases," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009. *(Bottom line here: the kids responded favorably to chiropractic care)

See also, Hartvigsen J, Hestbaek L, "Children and Chiropractic Care: A Window of Opportunity," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009.

See also, Hellstenius SA, "Recurrent Neck Pain and Headaches In Pre-adolescnents Associated with Mechanical Dysfunction of the Cervical Spine: A Cross-Sectional Observation Study with 131 Students," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009;    Hawk C, Schneider M,, "Best Practices Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Results of a Consensus Process," JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009;  Cuthbert CS, Barras M, "Developemental Delay Syndromes: Psychometric Testing Before and After Chiropractic Treatment of 157 Children, JMPT, Vol. 32 (8), Oct. 2009.



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