Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pediatric Chiropractic Becoming More Popular

Some parents are turning to chiropractors to treat their infants and children for ailments ranging from colic to earaches.

When Alisha Bauer's daughter, Avery, was suffering from severe reflux, Bauer said she didn't get the answers she wanted from doctors. "Avery had been spitting up a lot," said Bauer. "It was to the point that we even wondered if she was getting enough to eat. They just kept saying, 'She'll grow out of it. It's fine.' And I'm like, 'No. It isn't."

So Bauer's mother suggested that she try a chiropractor.

Avery was 5-months-old when she got her first adjustment.

Chiropractors we talked to said they are seeing more parents like Bauer looking for help with everything from reflux to colic to earaches.

"Chiropractic is not a treatment for disease," said Dr. Kristina Ring with Botha Chiropractic in Denver. "However, when the baby's body begins to function better, we do see improvements in those."

Ring has checked out children for seven years, but lately, she said, pediatricians have even started referring patients.

She said the treatment is nothing like the back-cracking, bone-popping image people might have of chiropractic care. "The amount of pressure to adjust an infant spine is about the same amount as on a ripe tomato without piercing the skin. It's very, very gentle," said Ring.

She said it is effective, though, and pointed to a 2009 study funded by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association of hundreds of children in chiropractic care. "They found the only adverse affect was mild discomfort," said Ring. "The majority of doctors and parents reported the kids were sleeping better, better behavior and improved immune function."

However, many doctors are still wary. "I think with infants there is particular reason to be cautious," said Dr. Steve Federico, president of the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "There's very little research that has been done with infants relative to chiropractors." He said, in general, children under 2 years of age are particularly at risk of injury, and that if he had an infant, he would not take the child to a chiropractor. "I think that I would be concerned about the lack of evidence to support the care for pediatric patients in this area," said Federico.

But parents such as Bauer said as long as chiropractic care seems to work when mainstream medicine falls short they believe opinions about it will continue to "adjust."

"This week, I've seen a significant improvement," said Bauer. "So many kids are medicated that don't need to be, so it's great to be able to think about other options."

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