The number of American children receiving chiropractic care is steadily increasing, recent surveys have showed.
Since 1991, according to survey data released by the American Chiropractic Association, the number of chiropractic patients 16 years of age and younger rose 8.5 percent. And a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that almost 3 percent of children in the United States were treated by chiropractic or osteopathic doctors in 2007. This made it the most common form of physician-directed complementary or alternative medicine applied to children.
A leading doctor of chiropractic, Elise Hewitt, said her profession’s care is not for adults alone. Children, and even infants, said the president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Pediatrics Council, can receive benefits from spinal manipulation and related forms of chiropractic assistance every bit as much as older people.
“It’s very important that a child have both a pediatrician and a pediatric chiropractor,” said Hewitt. “A pediatric chiropractor is not there to replace the role of the pediatrician. The pediatrician provides medications when necessary and delivers care in times of serious illness and injury. A pediatric chiropractor is there for preventative wellness care and maintenance of the child’s structure. The two are very complementary.”
Recent studies have suggested that chiropractic can assist children not only with traditional back- and neck-pain issues, but also with health problems as different as asthma, chronic ear infections, nursing difficulties, colic and bedwetting.
The hands-on, drug-free skill practiced by chiropractors is learned during four years of postgraduate study that includes more than 4,500 hours of study and clinical training. Pediatric chiropractors undergo yet more postdoctoral training.
“The vast majority of parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits,” Hewitt said. “They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care.”
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