Why Do Children Need Chiropractic?

Dr.Claudia Anrig


In this video, Dr. Anrig explains the preventative and wellness benefits children receive from chiropractic care. She explains how chiropractic can have a life-long benefit.


Dr. Claudia Anrig has been a practicing chiropractor in Fresno, California for over 20 years. She is co-founder of Peter Pan Potential, the first comprehensive pediatric program for the Chiropractic profession. She is the past president of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association www.icpa4kids.com. Dr. Anrig is a noted lecturer in the area of pediatric chiropractic. She has recently edited the textbook, Pediatric Chiropractic. This textbook is the fastest selling book in the history of the chiropractic profession.

More Children Going To Chiropractors 2

The June 6, 2002 issue of the Boston Globe reports on a phenomenon becoming more common, children under chiropractic care. The story states: “Chiropractors’ offices, once filled with middle-aged construction workers, over-the-hill athletes, and migraine headache sufferers, are taking on a younger look these days as more and more parents are bringing their children in for exams. For many children, trips to the chiropractor have become a weekly event, squeezed between sports practices, orthodontist appointments, and piano lessons.”

Not surprisingly, the article also presents an opinion from a medical doctor, Dr. Robert Baratz, who said, “Show me a medical doctor who says, ‘You’re here for hypertension. Oh, why don’t you bring your kids in, too.'” In spite of these antiquated opinions, the Globe reported that in 1998, children made 420,000 visits to Boston-area chiropractors. This according to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Local chiropractors say that figure has steadily grown since that study..

The article justifies the increased usage of chiropractic care by suggesting there is an increased need. “To understand why, look no further than Little Leaguers’ mud-stained uniforms, laptops flipped open on the edge of beds, and excessively heavy backpacks. Add in high-heel and platform shoes worn by teenage girls, hours in front of Nintendo and, in some cases, too much studying and not enough exercise, and you’ve got a lot of young, aching backs.” The Boston Globe also suggests, “The bigger reason children are getting treatment, though, appears to be parental experience. Some 27 million adults frequented chiropractors’ offices in 2001, up from 22 million in 1996, according to the American Chiropractic Association. As more adults find relief from their back pains through chiropractic treatment, they’re taking their kids in for checkups, too”.

Probably the most telling part of the article were the patient comments. One explains ‘I started coming to the chiropractor because I had a lot of tension in my back working in front of a computer all day,” said Audet, of Sharon. “When I first saw kids here, I thought it was kind of weird. But after my husband and I had been coming for four or five years, I thought, ‘Why not have them try it?'”

The chiropractors interviewed in the article explained that most younger patients have no symptoms, but come in for wellness and preventative care. They further explain that the children come in for correction of subluxations to allow the body to function healthier.

The Role Of Chiropractic In The Care Of Children With Autism

The November/December 2003 issue of the magazine “Autism Digest” contained an interesting article on the subject of Autism and the effect of chiropractic care on those children. The article was authored by world known chiropractor for children, Dr. Joan Fallon. In her article she notes, “While it has regularly been associated with back pain or headache, increasing numbers of parents are seeking chiropractors for children and especially for children with developmental issues.”

The article starts off by noting that Temple Grandin, an author of two books on autism, is herself autistic. The article notes that in her books she repeatedly discusses sensory integration difficulties as being the core of her autism. Additionally, a growing numbers of professionals also tout sensory difficulties as one of the hallmarks of autism.

Dr. Fallon describes this phenomenon by saying, “Sensory integration is defined as the disorganization of the multisensory input into the body. People who experience sensory integration problems have profound and often debilitating difficulty with touch, taste, smell, sound or visual input. Non-autistics can often experience sensory issues as well, such as the irritation we feel from a band playing too loudly, or an immediate headache from a certain smell. While these may be bothersome to the typical person, such sensory stimuli can be “noxious” to the autistic child and often manifest in infancy as colic and in the older child as hyperactivity, the “inability to listen”, or unexplained behavior issues, especially in children who lack communication.”

The article continues by stating that Chiropractic care should be the cornerstone of the sensory integration treatment plan for the Autistic child. Dr. Fallon notes, “Chiropractic care differs from many of the other therapies used with autistics in that it is directed to the heart of the problem: the lack of homeostasis in the body, which can, in turn, produce a disease state. Treatments are directed to the imbalances in the nervous system which inhibit sensory processing. By directly affecting the nervous system, chiropractic care for the autistic child can begin to change the many sensory integration issues by facilitating input into the organs and areas of the body involved in sensory integration, including the skin and the nervous system.”

The article then explains that the imbalances in the nervous system are caused by “Subluxations” in the spine. “The presence of Subluxation can cause illness as well as a host of other problems for the child,” contends Dr. Fallon. “The chiropractor administers an adjustment as the mainstream portion of care. The adjustment is administered in areas where there is the presence of a SUBLUXATION. Subluxation occurs where a segment of the spine consisting of two vertebrae and a disc between them, has lost their juxtaposition. Proper juxtaposition is necessary to maintain the integrity of the various systems that are located there, not the least of which is the nervous system.”

Chiropractic Care For Children Increasing

The headline above comes from a November 30, 2010 article on the news website AllVoices.com. This article starts off by reporting, “Increasing number of parents are now using chiropractic care as part of their children’s health regimen.” The author of the article, Debbie Nicholson, also notes that the Centers for Disease Control indicate that in the United States a minimum of 3% of all children regularly receive chiropractic care.

The article explains that chiropractic for children is used mostly for preventative and wellness care. The author notes, “Health of the spine impacts the total nervous system which controls and synchronizes all the systems contained in the body such as respiratory and immune.”

In the second section of the article the author discusses Chiropractic care for learning disorders and dyslexia. Nicholson starts this section by reporting that the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research recently published a study showing that chiropractic care offers a broad range of benefits for children with learning disorders and dyslexia.

Nicholson explains how chiropractic helps by stating, “The ongoing stimulation of the brain comes from the spine and the position of muscles constantly change to the force of gravity. If a misalignment in the spine occurs called vertebral subluxation, the brain does not receive proper stimulation which produces problems in other areas of the body.” She continues, “Chiropractic adjustments improve the functioning of the spine and vigorously stimulate the nerve pathways of the cerebellum and other brain areas. In children it aides the brain to function properly for learning.

The remainder of the article reports on case studies involving chiropractic helping children with headaches, sports injuries, hyperactivity and colic. In her conclusion to the article, Debbie Nicholson sums up the benefit of chiropractic for children by saying, “Many children even those of school age benefit from chiropractic care. A child’s spine needs just as much attention as an adult. Adjustments made for functional problems which develop in a child’s spine can be corrected by a chiropractor using adjustments geared to the source of the problem.”

One Third Of British Children Suffer Back Pain

Several articles in British news publications in October 2008 reported that a survey conducted by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) showed that nearly one third of six to seven-year-olds complain of back pain. In the October 15, 2008 issue of the British publication the “Telegraph” and the October 17, 2008, Daily Express” the culprit for such a high rate of back problems in children is identified as lifestyle.

A combination of slumping in front of the TV, lazier lifestyles and heavy school bags are given the blame in these articles. The BCA reported that 45 per cent of children spent the majority of their time off playing computer games or watching TV, while 10% of eight and nine year olds said they didn’t do any sport at all. The BCA also noted that 72% of children said they carried around heavy books and sports equipment in their back packs, but only a third said they wore their back packs on both shoulders to distribute the weight evenly.

The articles report that according to the BCA, six years ago 29 percent off all 11 to 18-year-olds said they spent part of the day suffering back pain. Now they note that by age 11, as many as 45 percent of children have suffered some kind of back pain.

British Chiropractic Association spokesperson, Tim Hutchful, stated, “With children as young as six complaining from back pain, this survey clearly highlights the alarming rate at which back pain is growing within the UK.” He continued by adding a word of advice, “There are simple steps parents can take such as checking that children aren’t carrying around unnecessary items in their bags and encouraging them to use a rucksack worn correctly on both shoulders. But we are in no doubt that lack of exercise is children’s number one enemy.”

Baby Girl Saved From Cranial Surgery Because Of Chiropractic

A study published in the April 10, 2010 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, documents the case study of a 3 week old baby girl who was saved from head surgery due to timely specific chiropractic care.

In this case study, a 3 week old girl who was medically diagnosed with craniosynostosis was brought to a chiropractor in an attempt to help avoid skull surgery. According to the website WebMD, “Craniosynostosis is a problem with the skull that causes a babys head to be oddly shaped. A baby’s skull is not just one bowl-shaped piece of bone. It is made up of five thin, bony plates that are held together by fibrous material called sutures . The sutures let a baby’s skull expand as the brain grows. Over time, the sutures harden and close the skull bones together. When a baby has craniosynostosis, one or more of these sutures close too soon. The head doesn’t form a normal shape.”

The research article starts off by noting that a baby’s head growth is largely determined by the growth of the brain. At one year of age, the infant brain reaches approximately 90% of its adult size and by 6 years of age, the brain is 95% developed, and is essentially complete by age 7. Craniosynostosis not only affects skull shape but can also affect brain development creating serious issues.

In this case, a mother brought her 3 week old baby girl to a chiropractor following a medical diagnosis of craniosynostosis by her obstetrician and pediatrician. According to the patient’s mother, she was advised that the medical care plan was to monitor her child for 3 months and if craniosynostosis progressed further, surgery would have to be performed on her baby’s skull. The baby girl had no other health issues at that time.

A chiropractic examination revealed the presence of subluxations, and a course of specific chiropractic care was initiated for correction. Measurements of the size of the baby’s skull were regularly taken and showed that once chiropractic care was initiated, the skull started to show normal growth. After 6 chiropractic visits, the little girl was 10 weeks old and her skull had grown from 34.5 cm, to 39.2 cm. After approximately three months of care the girls mother reported that her daughter’s cranial development had progressed so well that she would not require skull surgery.

Dr. Joel Alcantara, a chiropractor and Director of Research for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and the lead author of the paper, noted, “In this case we have a defect in the infants skull that did not require a planned surgery following a trial of chiropractic care of the spine and skull.” He concluded, “The research shows that not only is chiropractic for children extremely safe but it is also highly effective.”

Improvements In Hearing, Speech, Development, And Behavior Following Chiropractic

A case study appeared in the February 14, 2011, issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health. This study documented the case of a 4-year-old boy with a history of enlarged adenoids, nasal congestion, hearing loss, speech difficulties, developmental delay, and behavioral concerns, who was subsequently helped with chiropractic.

The article begins by noting that otitis media is one of the most common causes of hearing loss among young children with possible further implications for speech, language, and learning delay as well as subsequent behavioral concerns. Otitis media accounted for 24.5 million doctor’s visits in 1990 and is the most common reason for emergency visits among children.

In this case, a 4-year-old boy was brought to the chiropractor’s office, having been previously diagnosed by the pediatrician and ENT physician with bilateral hearing loss, fluid build-up in the middle ears, swollen adenoids, and swollen nasal tissue. The boy’s parents also mentioned he was diagnosed with expressive speech delay and developmental delay associated with behavioral issues. The boy also seemed more immature than children his age and was behind with his language ability for his age.

A chiropractic examination was performed on the boy and restriction was noted in the upper cervical (neck) spine. It was determined that subluxations were present in the boy’s spine. These subluxations created interference with the boy’s nervous system therefore decreasing his ability to function normally and be healthy.

Care was initiated with a series of specific chiropractic adjustments to correct the subluxations. The study reports that after 11 chiropractic visits the boy had a medical examination to test his hearing. The results of that test revealed that his hearing had improved and he was within normal limits. By the 24th visit another medical examination was performed and the boy’s hearing was completely normal. Additionally it was reported that the boy also showed improvements with speech development and behavior.

This case also documents that the boy showed improvement in his language skill until he was on level with other children his age. It was also reported that his ability to interact with others and in school had also improved to appropriate levels.

In their conclusion the authors noted, “It is hypothesized that chiropractic care may increase overall immune function not limited to those with the conditions presented in this case report but also in the general pediatric population. Not only can this help to reduce sickness, but has great implications for prevention and to dramatically lower health care costs since otitis media is the number one complaint among pediatrics.”

Adjusting To Pregnancy

The above is the actual headline from the August 7, 2007 Milford Daily News in Massachusetts. This article addresses the benefits of chiropractic care in pregnancy. The article starts by following the story of one chiropractic patient, Amanda Giampaoli-Martinez, who was receiving chiropractic care throughout her pregnancy. The story notes that when Amanda was ready to give birth she called her chiropractor Dr. Maryam Ahsan, to be present at the birth.

It was not two minutes after the birth of Amanda’s new baby girl, Arianna, that she was checked by Dr. Maryam. New mother Amanda recalled the activity by stating, “Dr. Maryam was driving when I called her and asked if she could come to the hospital. She just turned her car around.” Giampaoli-Martinez continued, “When I was having bad pain, (Dr. Ahsan) put me on my side and adjusted me while I was on the table.” Ms. Giampaoli-Martinez was pleased with her results and noted, “I went three times a week, and after a month my back pain was gone. I was also having shooting leg pain and the hip alignment helped to take that away.”

The article explains that the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association teaches a technique named after the associations late founder Dr. Larry Webster, called the Webster Technique. The article explains that the Webster Technique decreases intrauterine constraint, resulting in a quicker, less difficult delivery. This technique became prominent after it was discovered that certain adjustments had a high success rate in reversing the position of breech babies.

Dr. Jeanne Ohm, executive director of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, explained the procedure, “There is no deep tissue massage with this technique. It’s a really light force,” she said. “Chiropractors will check the woman’s sacrum (pelvis bone) and press on different areas to restore balance. They (patients) turn her on her back and check her belly and a round ligament for tightness.” Dr. Ohm continued, “There are no known contraindications or complications to the adjustments. No one’s ever called back to report a problem, and I would definitely be the first to know. Osteopathic studies have shown the adjustments reduce labor time and fight dystocia (abnormal or overly long childbirth).”

The article also interviewed Dr. David Bilstrom, a board certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, and director of Oasis Center for Health in Hinsdale. He feels that most medical doctors are unfamiliar with chiropractic care. He states, “Chiropractic care tends to be quite safe. In the right hands, I would feel very comfortable seeing the treatment done.”

Chiropractic Care Of A Pediatric Patient With Asthma, Allergies, Chronic Colds

A case study involving a 7-year-old boy suffering chronic colds, allergies, and asthma since the age of 5 months, who was subsequently helped with chiropractic, was documented in the August 17, 2009 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health.

In this study the young boy’s parents explained that their son had been suffering from his problems since age 5, and was now taking the medications Alavert daily for allergies and Albuterol for asthma as needed. The child also required nebulizer treatments for his asthmatic episodes. Additionally steroid injections were also used “regularly”. Because of his illnesses he missed 1-2 days of school per month. He also had monthly visits to the medical doctor for all his health issues.

Finally his parents brought him to a chiropractor to see if he could be helped. The chiropractic examination revealed multiple postural abnormalities and changes in the boy’s ranges of spinal movement. Additionally areas of the spine felt abnormal to the doctor’s touch. These findings are all indicative of spinal subluxations. Subluxations are when bones of the spine are positioned incorrectly and create pressure or irritation on nerves. This causes changes in the function of the nervous system and can result in a variety of health issues depending on the severity of the nerve system interference and the areas of the nervous system involved.

Specific chiropractic care was initiated on the boy at the initial frequency of 3 visits per week for the first month of care. Within two weeks of the child’s first chiropractic adjustment, the patient’s mother indicated that her son no longer was dependent on his prescription medication for allergies, so they decided to discontinue them on their own. His parents also reported that his frequency and severity of the asthma attacks had greatly improved, and he no longer required his nebulizer treatments since beginning chiropractic care.

According to the study records within 3 months of the initiation of chiropractic care, the boy’s mother reported that all the young boy’s initial complaints were addressed successfully. The child continued chiropractic wellness care, and after a 16 month follow up, it was noted that the boy experienced only 1-2 minor colds or sinus infections and required the use of his nebulizer on only two occasions. Neither the patient nor his mother reported any adverse reactions to the chiropractic care.

Breech Pregnancy Corrected And C Section Prevented With Chiropractic – A Case Study

A case study appeared on July 22, 2009 in the scientific periodical, The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, documenting the correction of a breech pregnancy and therefore saving a woman from having an unnecessary C-section delivery.

This case involved a 41 year old woman who was 33 weeks pregnant and had confirmation by ultrasound that the baby was in a breech presentation. She came into the chiropractor’s office looking for an alternative to prevent the cesarean procedure which was planned for her 39th week of pregnancy.

The woman did have a history of back pain during her pregnancy. The chiropractic examination showed muscle spasms and tenderness over multiple areas of her spine including her lower back. Her spinal range of motion was also significantly reduced. Numerous other orthopedic tests were positive, and trigger points were detected around her abdomen. It was determined that she had a subluxation of the sacrum and was a good candidate for a technique known as the “Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique”.

According to WikiParenting, “The Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique is a chiropractic procedure used to correct subluxations in the pregnant mothers sacrum and pelvis. The technique was developed the late Dr. Larry Webster, Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), in 1978. This technique is considered a safe means to restore proper pelvic structure and function for pregnant mothers.” The ICPA defines the procedure by saying, “The Webster Technique is defined as a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and facilitates biomechanical balance in pelvic structures, muscles and ligaments. This has been shown to reduce the effects of intrauterine constraint, allowing the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.”

The results of this case study documented that after 5 Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique adjustments were given to the patient over a 1 month period, an ultrasound was performed by the woman’s medical physician. The ultrasound confirmed that the baby had moved into the vertex position resulting in the planned cesarean section being cancelled. The patient had a vaginal delivery of a baby boy weighing 7lbs 8 oz without complications.