Chiropractic caregivers claim many benefits for kids

The cost of most chiropractic care is not covered by health insurance, but is likely covered by auto insurance if you are involved in an accident. Most parents, who make this type of care available for their children consider it in the same realm as orthodontic or dental care--a personal expense for care they believe benefits their child(ren)'s health. In preparing for this article, I examined extensive research and literature touting the benefits of chiropractic care for children. While all is subject to debate (as is much of traditional medical literature), chiropractors report that treatment can be helpful in addressing:

Asthma--nerves that supply the lungs and bronchial areas may be impeded. Chiropractic treatment may relieve asthma by correcting the underlying nerve irritation cause.

Bedwetting--muscles guarding the bladder can be weakened. When normal nerve supply is restored through chiropractic treatment, the problem can be solved without the use of medication.

Hyperactivity--many children labeled "hyperactive" may suffer from spinal injuries causing interference with the nervous system. This can cause tension and excessive excitability. Chiropractic care can address the origins of hyperactivity without dangerous drugs, some of which may be addictive.

Skin rashes--skin conditions are usually caused by an improperly working nervous system. When the flow of nerve supply is allowed to function as nature intended, most skin eruptions clear up in a short time.

Stomach upset--nerves that lead from the spinal cord to the stomach may be pinched in the course of active play, resulting in an upset stomach with cramps, pain or vomiting.

Dr. Phillip Overby, a pediatrician with more than twenty years of experience, cautions that while chiropractors seem to be effective in treating muscle sprains and cervical sprains (back injuries), he's unconvinced that spinal and muscle manipulation can be effective in treating the list of ailments above. Overby points out that asthma is generally caused by allergies; bed-wetting is the result of an immature pituitary gland; hyperactivity has to do with chemicals in the brain; and skin rashes are usually viral or allergic reactions.

While chiropractic care is gaining acceptance in the medical community (Park Nicollet, where Overby practices, now has a referral network that includes chiropractors), he doesn't feel there's medical rationale for the above claims. "Chiropractors should stick to what they're good at," he said, adding that there are always dangers associated with mistreating ailments, which can get worse, without appropriate medical attention.

Overby pointed out that some patients go to chiropractors month after month without an end of treatment in sight, giving the impression that the caregiver is "bleeding the system." Ultimately, he acknowledges that some aspects of alternative medicine have medical value.

As in all aspects of raising children to become healthy adults, it's in the best interest of parents to educate themselves to the best of their abilities and make the wisest possible choices for their own children.

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