One of the biggest displays of trust that a patient can demonstrate to
her chiropractor is to entrust that doctor with the care of her child.
Chiropractic care for a pediatric patient is a “hot topic” in our
profession. Many chiropractors would love to adjust pediatric patients,
but, unfortunately, they are hesitant.
A special thank you goes to Dr. Jeanne Ohm and the ICPA for their contributions to this article.
One of the biggest displays of trust that a patient can demonstrate to her chiropractor is to entrust that doctor with the care of her child. Chiropractic care for a pediatric patient is a “hot topic” in our profession. Many chiropractors would love to adjust pediatric patients, but, unfortunately, they are hesitant. For many, this hesitation is due to the inadequate training that was provided to them. Others are hesitant due to fear of hurting the child, and others simply do not know where to begin, or how to adjust a pediatric patient.
Research indicates that chiropractic care can have a positive effect on the pediatric population.1,2 Furthermore, the literature indicates that chiropractic care is safe, effective, and necessary for children at any age.3
So, when should you adjust a pediatric patient, and how do you carry out chiropractic care on such a small person? Well, the earlier we can detect and correct subluxations in a child, the more likely we are to prevent future problems in that individual. As a way of introducing “how” to adjust a child, I will, in this edition of Technique Toolbox, discuss finding a commonly encountered atlas subluxation in an infant, and I will demonstrate two methods for correction of this problem – The Infant Toggle Board, and the Sustained Contact Method. Although this particular article will be specifically geared to adjusting infants, the two techniques that I will be presenting can be applied to toddlers and older children as well.
Before we begin, a proper infant examination must be performed, to determine if any underlying problems are present. If you are not confident in examining a pediatric patient, I highly recommend that you enrol in the courses that are provided by the ICPA. These courses will educate you on how to perform a proper infant examination, and unveil the indications and contra-indications for chiropractic care of a child. Let us assume that a proper exam has been performed, and no contra-indications exist.
Step 1 – Atlas Analysis: 1-2-3 Sequence. (See photo 1)
The doctor will palpate the transverse processes (TVP) of atlas bilaterally to ensure symmetry. Under normal circumstances, motion palpation of the inter-transverse spaces between C0, C1 and C2 should demonstrate a 1-2-3 sequence.
Step 2 – Individual Palpation of the Atlas
Step 3 – Correction: Infant Toggle Board (See Photo 2)
The doctor must note that the pinkie contact should be slightly posterior, because a straight lateral contact and thrust may produce discomfort. The slightly posterior contact will also assist in correcting the posterior component of the atlas subluxation.
To help the infant become familiar with the sight and sound of the toggle board, the doctor should open and close the apparatus several times in front of the infant. This will ensure that the child is accustomed to the device.
As a clinical note, infant toggle board adjustments are not recommended for a child who is suffering from an acute ear infection, simply because the noise of the drop piece mechanism will further irritate the child. When an infant has an atlas subluxation during an acute ear infection, the doctor should implement the sustained contact alternative.
Step 4 – Sustained Contact Alternative (See photo 3)
As you can see, chiropractic analysis and correction of a Pediatric patient is straightforward, once you obtain the knowledge to do so. As usual, I have only scratched the surface with pediatric analysis and adjustments. There are several ways to detect and correct an infant atlas subluxation, as well as subluxations in the entire infant’s spine. If you would like to learn more about adjusting the pediatric population, go to www.icpa4kids.com. Adjusting pediatric patients is the most rewarding work we can do. Helping a child out of pain, or optimizing the child’s health through chiropractic adjustments will touch your soul more than you will ever know. Don’t be hesitant, instead, educate yourself on how to adjust children, and be confident. If you would like to see a specific technique featured in a future edition of Technique Toolbox, contact me at email@example.com.
Until next time . . . Adjust with confidence! •
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