Chiropractors work with children to ensure that the natural ability of their body to function, heal and regulate itself is maximized and optimized by keeping pressure off the nerve system through pediatric chiropractic care.
When most people think about chiropractors, they think about when they have hurt their back or been in a car accident. In your opinion, what should people know about pediatric chiropractic?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, one of the important things that people should know about chiropractic in general, whether it be pediatric or adults, is that it really isn’t just about pain. Most people think of a chiropractor after they’ve been in a car accident, they have a bad back. So, then you’re usually talking about an adult. And it’s true, if an adult has an accident or an injury, and they can throw their back out, and knock the bones out of alignment in the spine, and put pressure on those delicate spinal nerves. And, when that happens, we call it a vertebral subluxation. But, in reality, children have spines too. And they can get misalignments in their spine and irritate the nerves, just like it would happen in an adult.
And, since that nerve system controls and coordinates every stage of growth and development and regulating the healing and regulating the body, this amazing nerve system is super important. And it has to be protected. And the bones of the spine do just that. So, if the bones misalign, they can actually irritate the delicate spinal nerves that they’re designed to protect. And that can affect a child’s health, not just cause pain or discomfort, but actually affect the health because the nerve system runs, regulates, and controls everything that goes on in the body. So, that is super important. And making sure that children grow up without interference or pressure on the nerve system is imperative to good health.
Small children fall many times a day. Do parents need to bring their children to a chiropractor every time they fall?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Not necessarily. So, when you watch a kid learning to walk, yeah, they’ll fall 15, 20 times a day. And they don’t typically tumble gracefully to the ground. They kind of fall and slam right down on their butts. And then, every time they fall, it could create a small misalignment. And many people are familiar with the adage as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. So, if there is a misalignment present in a child’s spine and it’s not detected or corrected, that can cause problems, maybe cause a curvature in the spine or cause the vertebrae above and below the one that’s misaligned to start to have problems later. So, periodic checkups are important, just like tooth decay is an accumulative process and every time you have a piece of candy, maybe you should brush your teeth, but it’s not really practical.
So, we recommend getting checked periodically, making sure that everything is clear and there’s no pressure on the delicate spinal nerves as the kids go through life. So, it is super important to make sure that your kids get checked periodically. Most children I recommend, when they’re learning to walk, about twice a month. Some people will see them more, some people less, but it really depends on the overall health of your child, how old they are, how many times they fall, then a couple other factors that we always determine after a proper examination.
I understand that, if the spine has vertebral subluxations in it for an extended period of time, it can cause degenerative changes and problems later in life. Can adjusting children help prevent that?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. I mean, that goes back to another adage I always used to hear when I was a kid, a stitch in time saves nine. And, if you can check these kids early and then make sure that these things don’t go on for a long period of time, they have a much better chance of coming out of it. So, when the bones get misaligned, it changes the mechanics. And I kind of describe it as almost if you were like driving your car without the front end lined up. Sure, the car will still drive and you can still drive it fast. But, if you drive it long enough like that, it’s going to wear the tires funny. When the joints don’t move smoothly and properly through their range of motion, it can create friction. And over time you can start to see degenerative changes, things that look like bone spurs, disc space, height loss, and those are the degenerative changes or arthritic changes that you see. And they can happen slowly over time.
It’s not like, a kid falls and then gets arthritis right after. If those things are not corrected and there’s poor mechanics over a long period of time, slowly over time, we’ll see degeneration of the spine. And just by a simple correction of the alignment, getting things lined up, smoothing out the mechanics can prevent a whole lot of that later in life.
So, if I understand what you’re saying about pediatric chiropractic, chiropractors are not curing anything. They are assisting the body in repairing itself, is that correct?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You are correct. And that’s a very detailed explanation required. Because really, when people think about chiropractors, again, they’re thinking about the bones. And most people think I’m a back doctor. But what I preach and teach in my office is that we’re really much more of a nerve system doctor. And, since the nerve system controls everything else in the body, if there is enough pressure on it, it will irritate the nerves and slow down the body’s ability to process information and adapt. It’s almost like running your computer on dial up internet versus the amazingly fast DSL or T1 lines that we have now.
So, when you really think about it, if the nerve system is running and regulating properly, it’ll control the immune system and it’ll control the endocrine system, which are all connected. The endocrine system, the immune system, and the nerve system all talk to each other. There’s this really cool little molecule called interleukin 2. And it’s found in the endocrine system, in the nerve system, and in the immune system. So, we know that those three systems are actually talking to each other. If there’s pressure on the nerve system, it’s not going to work properly.
Very often, if you’ve been a patient or hung around me, I always bring up the example of Christopher Reeves, who fell off a horse and put a lot of pressure on his nerve system. And his immune system couldn’t run and regulate itself. So, they had to prop him up using antibiotics for the rest of his life. But, in children, it’s not practical to put them on antibiotics for their whole life to protect them. It’s much more prudent to make sure that their spine and their nerve system and their natural immunity and their natural ability of their body to heal, run, and regulate itself are maximized and optimized by keeping pressure off the nerve system. I hope that clears it up. That’s really the best way to describe it.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call 917-534-6484 to schedule an appointment