As a Certified Pediatric Chiropractor, the number of children I see with digestive problems is mind boggling. Constipation in particular, is so common in the pediatric population that it is the second biggest complaint to pediatric gastroenterologists and accounts for 25% of doctor visits. Between 5-28% of all children suffer from constipation—usually accompanied by pain—which leads to fear of using the bathroom and in some cases, full fledged avoidance. So I thought we’d dedicate this week to discussing more ways chiropractic can benefit your kids.
The Brain-Gut Connection
From last week’s article (1), we already know that chiropractic adjustments can help infants with spinal subluxations due to position in the womb and how they were handled during the birthing process. Subluxated vertebrae are areas where the the spinal column is pinching the nerves running through it, impeding function in the region of the body to which those nerves correspond. In some instances, blockages interrupt the nerve signals between the brain and the stomach, meaning that the nervous system is no longer able to control the normal function of the intestinal area, leading to digestion problems and constipation.
There are many points along the spinal column that affect the organs of our digestive tract. For example, the nerves in the thoracic and lumbar regions of your spine control the pace at which your body digests food. Patients with subluxations of the T12, L1, or L2 vertebrae—those linked to the colon and intestines—may experience inflammation in those regions, which can trigger constipation.
To illustrate this physiological connection and the effectiveness of chiropractic for managing symptoms, a study was conducted on three patients under the age of two. The children were all experiencing bowel movements ranging from once per week to every 3-4 days, accompanied by straining, pain and rectal bleeding. Medical advice including dietary changes—like increasing fiber and fluid intake—and the use of cod liver oil or mineral oil had proven unsuccessful. After several adjustments by a Certified Pediatric Chiropractor, all of the patients demonstrated an increased frequency in bowel movements without straining and pain. The researchers advocated for more experiments on the subject; nonetheless the study provides supporting evidence that chiropractic treatment is, in fact, effective for easing tummy troubles.
Not the New Normal
As adults, we often feel that digestive difficulties are just an inconvenience and that occasional stomach cramping, constipation, or once-a-week diarrhea are “normal.” Well, they’re not. Neither is rectal bleeding or chronic acid reflux and upset stomach. Don’t disregard these signs for yourself, and when similar symptoms present in your newborn or toddler—such as spitting up, frequent complaints of tummy aches, or a desperate desire to avoid using the toilet—know that it’s crucial to seek treatment right away. As long as subluxations are causing nervous system interference, these conditions won’t just go away on their own.
Remember also that in many cases, regular chiropractic adjustments are needed to maintain proper alignment within the body. Frequent visits to your chiropractor, combined with a diet high in protein, fiber and real whole foods, and devoid of dairy and processed junk food just might be the magic combo that helps bring relief to your little one. Call the In8Love offices at 310-477-3335 and make an appointment for you and your child today.
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