How do we assess your child in their first chiropractic appointment?
Getting a History
When we see a new patient, the appointment usually lasts for an hour. To start with we will listen to the parent or guardian, who explains their concerns and why they have bought the baby, infant or child in to see us. You can read some of the reasons parents bring their children in to see us here.
Once we’ve got a thorough history, we’ll start the examination. You can read about some of the things we will be looking for here. For very young children, observation of their movements and facial expressions can tell us a lot of information. When it comes to older children, we will start with checking their posture when they are standing.
We then move on to clinically relevant and valid examination procedures that allow us to find out what is really happening with the little person in front of us.
Primitive reflexes are assessed, neurodevelopmental age-appropriate milestones tests are looked at, tendon reflexes and muscle strength tested, movement is assessed, balance and coordination of upper and lower body is examined, walking patterns are observed, spinal and joint mobility is checked and cranial nerve examinations are performed.
All of this information enables our chiropractors to move to working out a diagnosis. We will then discuss the best way to move forward. It’s a pretty comprehensive examination and a lot of it is actually enjoyable for the child!
Considerations for Treating Children in the Chiropractic Setting
- A solid foundation has been put in place so we have an excellent starting point. If primitive reflexes have been found then neurodevelopmental exercises can be used in therapy and at home. We can also use other modalities to reduce these and these can also make up part of your home based programme.
- If we have found weakness in your child’s development such as poor balance, weak core muscles, poor eye movements, convergence (bringing the eyes together to look at the bridge of the nose) insufficiencies or poor co-ordination of movement – then we can address these with exercise and rehabilitation.
- If spinal or joint fixations have been found then manual procedures can be applied to the spine and joints to correct these fixations and restore better movement.
- The chiropractic adjustments / corrections should always be modified by a competent chiropractor to accommodate the developing skeleton. Alterations in biomechanical force will be modified to the size of the child, using gentler, lighter movements. Not all adjustments need to have a “crack” mobilisation and gentle techniques are just as powerful.
The best option will be used so that we support the needs of the child. The skills necessary to appropriately manage paediatric and young patients have come from advanced training and continuing education coursework over many years.