I was shopping in a local baby store last week and overheard a conversation between two mothers.

One had asked if a particular product had worked with her child who was teething. Both mothers agreed they didn’t want their children feeling any pain. To accomplish this, one of the mothers was giving her baby Tylenol pain reliever every 4 hours. I suspect this is a very common practice.

As a mother of two amazing little boys, I understand completely not wanting them to experience unnecessary pain. However preventing your children from experiencing pain comes at what cost?

Is it safe?

Adverse reactions to drug therapy are a significant cause of death and injury in infants and children under 2 years of age, as reported by the journal Pediatrics (2002, Nov)

“There is an epidemic of adverse drug reactions to NSAID’s. The Food and Drug Administration believes anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 deaths each year are the result of severe bleeding caused by NSAID’s. It is a big problem.”

Dr. James F. Fries. Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine // in Marsa L. “America’s Other Drug Problem,” // Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 29, 1996

Drug therapy was associated with an average of 243 reported deaths annually over the 38-month study period, with 100 (41%) occurring during the first month of life and 204 (84%) during the first year. Although 1902 different drugs, biological products, and other chemicals were identified in the reports, only 17 drugs or biological products were a suspect in 54% of all serious and fatal adverse events in drugs administered directly.

Pediatrics. 2002 Nov;110(5):e53. Reported adverse drug events in infants and children under 2 years of age. Moore TJ1, Weiss SR, Kaplan S, Blaisdell CJ.

What are we teaching our children?

Pain is a part of the human experience, and it’s a very good thing if you use it appropriately.  How will our children ever be able to comprehend their feelings of physical and emotional pain and identify what these signals mean? No matter what the problem is, there is an answer in a bottle.

Many young people and even teenagers now live on anti-depressants and will be for the majority of their lives. Why? Has this approach to stopping pain from the earliest of ages, made them illiterate to their emotional and physical senses? Haven’t we taught our children from the very beginning that if you feel pain, you must cover it up immediately. Recall the mother’s words in the store, “I don’t want my baby feeling any pain”. It’s no wonder so many young people experience anxiety. They’ve never been forced to adapt to pain signals whether physical or emotional.

When we are FULLY informed as parents, only then can we make the best choices for our children. There is certainly a time and place for drug therapy, but by the profession’s own definition “first do no harm”, it should be a standard of care that we use these therapies only when the benefit out-weighs the risk.

Chiropractic as a first line of defense

The risks of a child suffering notable injury from a spinal adjustment are extremely minimal. Chiropractors have been adjusting children’s spines for more than 100 years and have an excellent safety record. Anyone who says otherwise has never seen a pediatric chiropractic adjustment.

A recent study done by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) in the United States, Canada, and Europe showed that only a few children (out of more than 10,000 visits) experienced minor discomfort and fussiness. The remaining children in the study had no adverse reactions to the adjustment. These preliminary data tells us that chiropractic care for children may be one of the safest forms of health care available.

Why do my kids need chiropractic?

A child encounters many physical stresses during their growing years. The resulting problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their development and growth.

The earliest challenge a growing spine faces is the position it is forced to adopt in utero. Many women will have heard of fetal positions that can cause problems during labor (brow, breech, transverse, posterior, etc) contributing to the growing number of C-sections each year. What is less well known is that these fetal positions can also cause problems in the baby’s spine as well.

Spinal segments can be pushed out of place or jammed by the position of the baby in the womb. If this position is less than optimal, it can result in a longer and more difficult trip through the birth canal, which compound the spinal problems.

In this way, even natural birthing methods can stress an infant’s spine and nervous system—not to mention interventions such as induction, suction, or ceasarean section.

The cause of many newborn health complaints such as colic, reflux, breastfeeding difficulties, sleep disturbances, allergic reactions, and chronic infections can often be correlated with nervous system irritation caused by spinal and cranial stress and misalignments.

Since significant spinal trauma can occur at, or prior to birth, many parents elect to have their newborn’s spine checked right after birth.

How can I tell if my child has spinal problems?

Unless a child has an obvious problem it can be difficult for a parent to recognise when a child’s spine is not working correctly. There are some signs which can indicate spinal problems. These include disturbed sleep patterns, breastfeeding difficulties, restricted movement of the head and neck to one side, arching, pulling and scratching at the ears.

Common childhood disorders can also be linked with spinal dysfunction, these include:

recurrent ear infections
persistent sore throats and colds
bedwetting and/or constipation
growing pains

Now is the time of the year when a child’s body may be under the most stress!

Dr. David and Dr. Kelli Winarski