In most healthcare professions, special considerations must be made in regards to children. In chiropractic, this is no different. Chiropractors may specialize in the area of pediatrics to best understand the special considerations that children need when it comes to chiropractic care.
Dr. Jeana L. Voorhies, D.C., is a chiropractic instructor at New York Chiropractic College who focuses in this area. Her passion for pediatrics (as well as prenatal care) came out of her experience as a chiropractor.
“I recognized that there was a need for more chiropractors who understood the particular challenges and conditions that these populations face, and could provide their patients with options for the management and co-management of these conditions,” Voorhies said.
Voorhies says that children of all ages, including infants, are brought to the chiropractor for the same reason adults visit a chiropractor. Infants sometimes also need chiropractic care due to birth trauma and/or in-utero positioning.
“It is important for infants to be checked by a chiropractor to determine if any dysfunction of the spinal joints is present as a result of the birth process or an abnormal in-utero position,” Voorhies said.
In older, more active children, adolescents and teens, sports injures are another common reason to seek chiropractic care.
The greatest difference between pediatric and adult care is the adjustment itself. With children, chiropractors need to take size and age into consideration and make specific alterations depending on these.
“Very little force or ‘thrust’ is applied to an infant or child, if any. Often we are simply utilizing pressure,” notes Voorhies. “The amount of pressure used on an infant, for example, is similar to the amount of pressure you would use to slightly dent the skin of a ripe tomato. There are a variety of low force techniques that are commonly used on pediatric patients as well.“
Voorhies recommends that Doctor of Chiropractic students interested in pursuing pediatrics seek out as many educational opportunities as possible, including visiting the office of at least one chiropractor who specializes in this type of practice.
“Observe, ask questions, get ideas!”
New York Chiropractic College has developed several courses in this area, including Clinical Pediatric Chiropractic Care, where students discuss topics such as radiological considerations of the child and chiropractic techniques designed to deliver a safe chiropractic adjustment.
“We are continually seeking to add more courses and opportunities for our students to gain a better understanding of this population right here on campus! This will give our graduates a solid foundation to adequately care for children in their practices,” says Voorhies.
For more information, including a large compilation of research on chiropractic care for children, visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) website.