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3 Ways Chiropractic Helps Kids With Sensory Concerns

10 March, 2017

Sensory processing difficulties (SPD) is a common concern for parents with up to five percent of school children suffering to some degree. It can be hard to know what to do when many health practitioners don’t even recognise or understand the term SPD.

It is important to find health practitioners who understand your child and their unique needs. One frequently overlooked profession is Chiropractic. So why should you take your child to see a chiropractor?

1. Calming the nervous system

What does your child do when they are upset? Do they crawl up into a foetal position under the covers? The gentle pressure from the bedding and body may help to calm them down. The skin, muscles and joints send information to the brain to de-stress (however this may take some time depending on the child).

Specific massage techniques provided by chiropractors are very calming. Paediatric chiropractic is very different to what we know as Chiropractic for adults. The kids’ developing spine and brain requires special treatment. Paediatric chiropractic utilises non-“cracking” techniques in conjunction with massage and home exercises to reinforce the changes made during treatment.

2. Chiropractic changes the brain’s processing

Chiropractic is believed to have its profound effects by changing the brain’s processing of sensory and motor information. Every year more research is done supporting and understanding how Chiropractors change brain activation patterns.

Chiropractic treatments have been shown to improve body awareness. For example, adults who have a history of neck pain, but are not currently in pain, have altered sense of where their arm is in space. This can be improved with chiropractic treatment to the neck. By the same principles, this might help a child to better understand where their arms are to catch a ball, to ensure they don’t walk into a door frame and to write neatly.

Before we move, it is important to stabilise our self so that we don’t fall over. If you watch a toddler learning to walk, you’ll see that initially they overbalance before they learn to correctly stabilise themselves. Chiropractic has been shown to improve stabilisation by activating the core muscles after a lower back treatment. Although this study was done on adult male cricket players, it can be assumed that it could also help improve the child’s ability to stabilise, to play games and to sit upright at a desk.

3. Team Approach

Chiropractors frequently work alongside other paediatric practitioners such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, etc. There is not a one-therapy-solves-all solution. These kids require a knowledgeable and understanding team. Including a chiropractor experienced with working with these kids can help address other compounding factors such as retained primitive reflexes, sensitivities due to pain, calming massages and improved body activation & awareness.

About the author:

Our Kids Chiropractor, Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton understands SPD from first hand experience suffering from sensory defensiveness. Cassie enjoys seeing kids reach their full potential through non-manipulative chiropractic, home / school advice, neurological maturity exercises and supplements.