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Chiropractic for Children

We have special facilities for children – having two kids of our own, we know that it can sometimes be difficult taking kids to appointments.

We know that kids can be easily bored in a waiting room, or may find it overwhelming if there are other people and kids making noise or moving about. With this in mind, we have seating outdoors on the verandah overlooking the gardens for kids with noise, light or movement sensitivities, or who just find it hard to sit still.

We also have a great kid-friendly waiting room with beautiful entertaining books, a kids table and colouring-in area, and educational wooden toys in the treatment rooms. We even have a pin board for kids to display their colouring on. Dots divider

Dr Emma with child patient Dr Matthew Comerford is the only chiropractor in Toowoomba and one of a handful of chiropractors in Australia with university qualifications specifically in chiropractic for children. Dr Matthew’s qualifications include

  1. Bachelor of Science (University of Qld)
  2. Master of Chiropractic (Macquarie University)
  3. Master of Science in Chiropractic (Paediatrics) (University of Wales)
  4. Certified Chiropractic Wellness and Lifestyle Practitioner (International Chiropractors Association)

Because of this additional training and experience, children are regularly brought by their parents for examination and care from Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and many communities west of Toowoomba.

We believe that chiropractic offers a gentle, effective and drug free approach to children’s health care.

Children are not just ‘little adults’ and care should be provided by practitioners who have extensive knowledge of how little bodies differ from adults. They need to be able to identify normal development and the many different conditions that may commonly present, and know when to refer to paediatric health specialists.

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On occasion, health issues in children may present that require the input of multiple paediatric health specialists.

In these situations, Dr Matthew is very happy to work collaboratively with a range of professionals to get the best outcome for your child.

This includes Paediatricians, Neurologists, Orthopaedic specialiasts, Physiotherapists, Audiologists, Podiatrists, Occupational therapists, Behavioural Optomoptrists etc.

The aim of treatment is to ensure that your baby or child receives the most comprehensive and best care available allowing them to be happy, healthy and reach their full developmental potential.

Common presenting issues include;

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  1. Poor sleep; sleep with their head consistently to one side
  2. Growing pains and body aches
  3. Poor breast attachment; pull off frequently, fussy, arching of the spine
  4. Baby that holds their head to one side frequently
  5. Baby who develops a flat spot on one side of their head
  6. Baby who dislikes tummy time
  7. Baby that crawls with one leg/ foot up or bottom scoots
  8. Baby that cries when positioned in the car seat
  9. Baby’s spine/ shoulders click on lifting by parent
  10. Toddlers that have a foot/ feet turned in/ out
  11. Toddlers with asymmetrical knocked knees or bowed legs
  12. Delayed walking/ crawling/ sitting/ rolling without obvious cause
  13. Issues with balance and clumsiness (tripping, falling, unable to ride a bike by 6 yrs, awkward walk / run/ throwing and kicking a ball)
  14. Children with delayed fine and gross motor function
  15. Children with poor hand/ eye coordination; difficulty with sport
  16. Children with joint pain; ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, spine
  17. Children with scoliosis (lateral curvature of spine)
  18. Children with leg length differences
  19. Children with low muscle tone and poor strength
  20. Children with poor posture and slouching
  21. Traumatic birth possibly leading to spinal trauma (under 6 hours or over 12 hours labour, forceps/ vacuum extraction, bruising/ swelling of head/ face at birth, C-section where they may have been pulled out by arm/leg/neck)
  22. Children who have had a significant fall, sprain or fracture

If you answered yes to any of the above symptoms, we may be able to help you or point you in the right direction for help.

How can chiropractic help the above symptoms?

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Chiropractic essentially identifies and corrects spinal and peripheral subluxation.

The Chiropractors association of Australia (CAA) states that a subluxation is a lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/ or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact.

It is essentially a functional entity, which influences biomechanical and neural integrity.

The CAA also states that chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasises the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without drugs or surgery.

The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.

We also look closely at your child’s diet, stress management techniques, exercise patterns, and ergonomics (chairs, pillows, desks etc) and recommend changes if need be.

What is children’s chiropractic?

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Chiropractic treatment for children is very different to adult treatment.

Treatment is aimed at the enhancement of the nervous system function, ensuring that messages travelling around the body are full and uninterrupted.

We work with a model similar to Maternal and Child Health Nurses checking children at intervals to ensure they are meeting appropriate developmental criteria.

This includes height, weight, head size, milestones, and neurological development.

Does treatment involve cracking of my baby’s neck?

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Absolutely not.

We use a tonal technique called NeuroImpulse Protocol (NIP) to treat children and babies.

The pressure applied to a joint to make a correction is no heavier than the pressure you would apply to your own eyeball.

Children love being treated and babies often sleep through examination and treatment.

What can I expect on my visits?

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Initial consultation- We suggest allowing around an hour for your first visit with your child.

This allows enough time for you to fill in the paperwork, for us to do a thorough head to toe examination, for us to explain how we may be able to help, and treatment if appropriate.

The initial examination includes weight, height, head size, neonatal reflexes, postural reflexes, neurosensory testing, milestone assessment, spinal and peripheral assessment and any medical/ health screens depending on your child’s history.

Exam findings will be discussed with the parents or care giver, including the type of treatment required, estimated length of care, home or lifestyle changes (diet, neurosensory exercises, stress management etc) and expected results at completion.

Treatment will only occur with full consent of the care giver. Should you refuse treatment at any stage, then your wishes will be fully respected, and the consult will cease.

At the 2nd visit, you will be provided with a written report of findings and some research appropriate to your child’s presenting complaint.

Are all chiropractors the same?

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You may well ask are all G.Ps the same?

Some GPs may appear to be much more comfortable and knowledgeable about children than others. Chiropractors are similar to GPs in that they each have an area of special interest that they excel in and are experienced in.

Dr Matthew Comerford has a Master of Science in Chiropractic Paediatrics, and is well versed in areas of growth and development, utilizing screening tools and conducting regular assessments on children to ensure they are developing appropriately.

He is extensively trained in common paediatric illnesses and disorders and is trained to identify red flags and refer when appropriate.

Please don’t confuse his job title with a Paediatrician. They are medically trained paediatric specialists. If I believe that your child needs a Paediatrcican, I will refer you.

Do I need a referral to a chiropractor from a GP like a referral to a Paediatrician?

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No. You do not need a referral to see a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are primary contact practitioners like your GP.

If your child is covered for chiropractic with your health fund, you may be able to claim some of the cost of your care.

How safe is chiropractic?

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 Just like physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage or even medications for your child from the GP, there may be some material risk.

Any risks will be thoroughly discussed with you so that you can make an informed choice before treatment.

However, Dr Angela Todd (Australian Chiropractor and researcher) recently published a paper on chiropractic safety and adverse events in JMPT as part of her PhD. She looked at all incidences of adverse events in children around the world and found that the risk of an adverse event in a child was ‘exceedingly rare’. 1

In another study, Dr Angela Todd compared the forces used in treatment on children, she stated that the force used in tonal treatment (like NIP), was around 2N of force. This is very low indeed. 2

If you have any concerns about the safety of chiropractic, we will be happy to provide you with a copy of the research mentioned above.

References:

  1. Todd AJ et al. Adverse events from chiropractic and other manual therapies for infants and children. A review of the literature. J manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015; 38 (9): 699-712
  2. Forces of commonly used chiropractic technique for children: a review of the literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016