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Signs your Child Needs Chiropractic

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Does your child show any of these signs that may indicate a need for chiropractic treatment?

While almost all children benefit from annual chiropractic check-ups, some children require more chiropractic treatment than others. This may be due to participation in sports, use of electronic devices, carrying a backpack, or a family history of posture / musculoskeletal problems (for example, Grandpa has a “bad back” or Mom has issues with her knees).

How can you tell if your child needs to see a chiropractor? What warning signs should you be looking for? This is a list of some of the more common signs that our patients and their parents have noticed. Many of these issues are easily corrected.

  • Child tugs on their ears. This is an indicator for young children who are unable to explain that their ear is hurting. Chiropractic can help many children with ear aches. They can gently align the small bones at the top of the spine. You may also be able to find a chiropractor with experience in opening up the Eustachian tubes, enabling fluid to drain from the ears. (This is done without placing anything inside the ears.) When addressed early enough, children can often avoid the painful process of placing tubes in their ears.

  • Child rubs their neck or continually tries to stretch their neck. Young children do not usually have neck pain. They shouldn’t feel the need to stretch out their neck all the time. Young children and infants may have issues from birth if their mother had a difficult delivery. Elementary school kids and teens can get neck stiffness from overuse of phones and other electronic devices. A couple visits to the chiropractor can go a long way toward alleviating neck stiffness.

  • Child often sits in awkward positions. If the hips, pelvis, shoulders or spine are not properly aligned, your kid may have a hard time finding a comfortable position in which to sit. It’s normal for kids to sprawl on the floor, but they should be able to sit appropriately while at the kitchen table.

  • Child has difficulty falling asleep. Kids may not realize that they are uncomfortable. It only takes a small amount of inflammation and discomfort to affect going to sleep. They may toss and turn trying to situate themselves into a position in which they can rest. We have a number of parents who say their children fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply after chiropractic treatment.

  • Child’s shoulders are slumped forward. Parents may just think that this is “sloppy posture.” However, your child may not be able to maintain proper posture for more than a couple minutes due to having soreness, tight muscles, achy joints, and other skeletal problems. Depending upon the age of your child, they may not be able to fully express that their muscles are feeling tired. A possible solution may be found from a series of corrective chiropractic adjustments. When your kid’s skeleton is aligned properly, they will have an easier time keeping their back straight and their shoulders level.

  • Child continually pulls at their fingers or cracks their knuckles. Kids who stretch their fingers, pop the joints in their fingers, flick their wrists, or tug at the joints in their fingers will often benefit from chiropractic treatment. This is especially true for kids who engage in these activities after using their tablet, phone, or other favorite electronic device. Children and teens who frequently use technology are more at risk for developing Texter’s thumb, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, extensor digitorum tendonitis, and other types of repetitive use injuries that affect the hand and wrists. Receiving gentle chiropractic adjustments and joint manipulations can safely reposition the bones of the hand, wrist, and elbow. This helps to restore the normal alignment of the bones in the hands and arms, enabling the joints, tendons, and nerves to heal more quickly.

  • Child has back pain after growth spurt. Kids who have a rapid growth spurt can complain of back soreness, growing pains, and muscle aches. When the skeleton lengthens quickly, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that attach to the skeleton are forced to rapidly stretch to keep up with this growth. (For example, if Johnny grew 3 inches this year, his muscles had to stretch and grow at the same time.) This rapid growing can also cause a shifting in posture. Kids who have feet that grow suddenly, may experience clumsiness and awkwardness. Chiropractic adjustments align and stabilize the skeleton and restores balance and good posture.

  • Child’s backpack appears tilted / uneven when both straps are used. When you notice their backpack is slipping off to one side or tugs at the neck, you could be noticing a shift in their posture. Use this time to check your child's posture. Have your child remove their backpack and stand facing you. Then look at their shoulders to see if one shoulder appears lower than the other, if one shoulder is more forward than the other, or if one hip is lower than the other. If you notice that their posture is no longer level and symmetrical, your child may need to see the chiropractor to restore correct posture.

  • Child’s shoes wear unevenly at the bottom / child has outgrown their shoes too quickly. Both of these situations can identify a problem with the child’s posture. When one shoe has worn down much faster than the other, then the weight of the child may be distributed more to the worn side. If uncorrected this can lead to foot, ankle, knee and hip problems. If your child is growing out of their shoes very quickly, this can indicate a recent growth spurt. It is good to have a chiropractor check the child’s feet and leg length for correct skeletal alignment.

  • Child’s has one arm hanging lower when standing. Check your child’s shoulders while they are standing to see if one shoulder is higher than the other. When standing at attention, the finger tips of each hand should be the same distance from the floor. An unequal distance from the floor could be caused by sports, heavy backpack, playing tablet or console games, or sleeping in unusual positions.

If you see these signs early, it is often much easier for the chiropractor to correct these skeletal and postural problems. Chiropractic wellness exams are great for finding some of these problems you might not recognize at home. Find a chiropractor who is experienced with working with kids. Investing a little time now can help safeguard your child from tension headaches, back pain, and other posture-related issues later in their lives.

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