Identifying Causes for Spinal Stress in Children
Physical trauma to the spine and the result of back pain caused by heavy backpacks has been receiving national attention. Parents are becoming aware of spinal stress in their children. In addition to the backpack dilemma, there are numerous overlooked causes of children’s spinal injuries not as well recognized. Simply put, any trauma to the child’s spine can cause misalignment of the vertebrae resulting in immediate or delayed spinal problems. Traumas are in the form of micro or macro. Macro-traumas are the obvious falls, bumps, crashes we know children frequently experience. Micro-traumas are those positional, postural, repetitive traumas that we do not frequently associate as an onset to spinal distortion and therefore future disorders. Trauma may cause immediate pain. However, many sources of back and neck pain are the result of previous injuries and then repetitive postural habits exacerbating the original trauma.
As parents, it is important that we become more aware of the macro- and micro-traumas that our children are experiencing throughout their development. Many of the micro-traumas, particularly those related to posture and position, can be avoided by correct choices. The macro-traumas associated with injury are not as easy to avoid as most children experience occasional falls and injuries. It is important to note that just because the child appears to be ok, i.e., there was no bleeding or bruising, that does not rule out that vertebrae in the spine may have become misaligned. Left uncared for, these spinal misalignments may affect the child in years to come. Old injuries may distort future spinal development. This may cause pain in later years, but even more importantly, if the misaligned spinal bones are interfering with nerve function, many health problems may result in the future.
It is important that potential injuries to the spine are addressed immediately to avoid future complications associated with them. Your Doctor of Chiropractic is trained to detect and correct spinal misalignments as soon as they happen, giving your child the maximum potential for healing and repair.
Some causes of Macro-traumas in infancy are:
- Operative deliveries (c-sections, forceps, vacuum extraction, even deliveries by hand)
- Falls from beds and changing tables
- Learning how to walk and falling 25 times a day on buttocks
- Auto-accidents (even minor fender benders)
- Tossing babies into air (causes whip lash) Some causes of Micro-traumas in infancy are:
- Keeping babies in infant carriers and not allowing enough belly time
- The use of walkers and jolly jumpers
- Encouraging the baby to stand before they are ready
- Improper diapering skills
Some causes of Macro-traumas throughout childhood are:
- Playground injuries
- Falls from play activities (roller blading, sledding, biking, etc.)
- Sport tumbles, jolts and jars
- Auto accidents, even minor fender benders Some causes of Micro-traumas throughout childhood are:
- Too many seated hours—regardless of chair
- Sitting on floor with legs straight out in front
- Lying on their backs with their head propped up with pillows to read or watch TV
- Sleeping on their stomachs
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #05.
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