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Your Child’s First Visit to the Chiropractor

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions about taking your child (baby, teen, or any age in between) to their very first chiropractic appointment.

Have you considered taking your child to see a chiropractor? Because our chiropractic office regularly treats children, our doctors have compiled a list of questions frequently asked by parents. While we understand that this is not a comprehensive list, we hope that this information will be useful to parents who are considering taking their child to see a chiropractor.

Q: When should I take my child to the chiropractor?

A: Babies and toddlers can see a chiropractor who is gentle and has experience working with infants. Reasons why parents take their young child to see the chiropractor include: ear aches, colic, sleep issues, bed wetting, or not achieving sitting / crawling / walking milestones. If the mother had a C-section or difficult delivery, the baby might have also experienced a difficult entrance into the world, and might receive help from chiropractic treatments.

Other reasons to take your child to see the chiropractor include: if they are carrying a heavy backpack to school or daycare, if they had a fall (especially one that led to a broken bone), if they had to use crutches, if they regularly complain of growing pains, if they had a large growth spurt, if they have poor posture, or if you have noticed that they are having problems with balance.

Q: How old should a child be before their first visit to the chiropractor?

A: It doesn’t matter what age your child is. Chiropractors are trained to treat children of all ages. If your child is very young, the chiropractor may ask you to hold your child while they are being adjusted. The younger the child, the more involved you will be in the treatment process.

Q: Do I need a referral to take my child to the chiropractor?

A: A referral is not needed for your child to see a chiropractor. You can call a chiropractic office directly to schedule an appointment. Most chiropractic offices are happy to answer your questions over the phone.

Q: What should I expect during my child’s first chiropractic appointment?

A: You will need to fill out some paperwork. The doctor will need a small history of your child. They will probably want to know if your child had any difficulty crawling, sitting, walking, running, or if your child has any balance issues or other underlying health concerns.

The chiropractor will check your child’s posture, reflexes, movement, and may assess their muscle strength and tone. If your child is a tween or teen, the doctor may check for scoliosis (an abnormal curving of the spine to the right or left that is sometimes hereditary). The chiropractor will also check for any bones that are outside of their normal alignment.

Most young children don’t need to have their x-rays taken. Teenagers who had an injury may have an x-ray, especially if a fracture is suspected. Some chiropractors take x-rays in their office, while others refer out to imaging centers for x-rays.

Q: Do I need to bring anything with me for my child’s first appointment?

A: If your child is healthy and has no history of major injury or illness you will most likely not need to bring anything with you other than your child. If your child has had a fractured bone you may need to bring a copy of the x-ray report. A hospital printout / discharge summary may be needed if your child has spent time in the hospital.

Q: Do children enjoy going to the chiropractor?

A: Most children enjoy going to the chiropractor and ask their parents when they can come back for another chiropractic treatment. Children usually relax when they find out chiropractors do not give shots or bad tasting medicine. Our office keeps a “treasure chest” filled with small toys and trinkets that children can select a toy from. Our young patients seem to enjoy this and look forward to returning for their next chiropractic appointment.

Q: Can chiropractic help kids who are in sports?

A: Active children need regular chiropractic adjustments. Children who participate in sports will require more chiropractic treatments than other children. A child’s normal growth and development can already place stress on muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and their skeletal framework. Kids who have large growth spurts are at higher risk for poor posture. In addition, kids who are participating in sports can have a greater risk for muscle aches and pains, posture changes, strain/sprain injuries and bone fractures. Chiropractic treatment can improve posture and flexibility as well as help with balance and coordination.

Q: What type of clothing should my child wear to a chiropractic appointment?

A: Make sure your child wears comfortable clothing. The chiropractor may request that the child remove eyeglasses or earrings. Because the chiropractor may be checking the range of motion of different joints in the skeleton, clothing materials that are relaxed and stretchable are often best.

Q: How often should I take my child to see the chiropractor?

A: Because every child is different, chiropractic treatment schedules will vary from person to person. A teenager may need more treatments than a toddler. A child who is active in sports, ballet, or marching band may need more scheduled treatments than other children their same age. A “tween” or young teenager with a scoliosis often needs to be seen more often by their chiropractor. Babies and toddlers may only need to be seen twice a year unless they have health concerns (such as colic or ear infections).

Q: How can I recognize a chiropractor who is good with children?

A: Speak with other parents in your area who have taken their children to the chiropractor and ask if they had a positive experience. Look at a chiropractor’s website to see if they have written any articles about children. Find out if the chiropractor keeps toys in their office. The presence of clean toys is often a good sign that the chiropractor sees children regularly.

Taking your child for their first chiropractic treatment can be a great start for your child’s musculoskeletal health. Chiropractic can also prevent health concerns such as headaches, scoliosis, and sleep disturbances. The younger your child is when they start chiropractic treatment, the greater lifetime benefit they will have from chiropractic.

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