Chiropractic care for kids
I woke up early on the first day of my European speaking tour, as you tend to do when coming from Australia. So, at 4am UK time I’m checking my emails waiting for the gym to open and the day to start. I was soon wishing I was still asleep, or dead, or on another planet; anything, really, other than what I was experiencing. In the short 30 hours since I had left Australia, it seemed like my whole world back home had totally fallen apart, with chiropractic care for children again being under attack.
First the announcement of the COAG review of chiropractic for children under 12, then the Chiropractic Board of Australia’s interim ruling of no spinal manipulation in under 2 year olds. My mailbox soon became full of emails from chiros all over the world wanting to know what was going on and how they could help. I obviously couldn’t say much about anything, but I sure did appreciate the concern and connection.
After the initial flurry of activities which I am sure you also frantically participated in – writing letters and having meetings with politicians of all sorts, signature collections, motivating practice members to write letters and having meetings, fund raising and professional association membership drives etc, we now sit back, waiting passively for our fate to be determined by people who don’t know, let alone respect what we do. (At this time, I want to heartfully thank the couple of hard-working chiropractic representatives we do have on the panel!!)
Maybe this time would be well spent on some quiet self-reflection?
How did we end up in this situation where our profession is questioned at such a basic level? Should we have seen this coming? How well did we handle the events that lead to this? Did we, by being quiet and respectful, allow forces around us to define who we are and what we do? Did we, by so bitterly fighting each other, neglect to address where the real threat was coming from?
You may or may not see a lot of children in your practice. The point here is that, in my opinion, what we are facing at the moment is not about the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care for children. It is about chiropractic. Who we are and what we do. We need to define this, individually and collectively, and share this with our community, other health care providers and policymakers alike.
Children are humans. Children have nervous systems and spines. Those are not something we magically grow when we are 12 years old. Children get subluxations, stuck joints or whatever you want to call them, just like big people. And due to the development patterns in children, these are much more detrimental to future health and function than in adults.
If we survive this external review, are you ready to provide superb chiropractic care for the 18.8% of the Australian population who are kids (1)? Children are definitely not little adults, they require specialised, age appropriate approaches. Do you feel that you can provide the best possible assessment and care for a child under 12? ‘Best practice’ changes over time. Are your skills up to date? Do you know as much about caring for young people in your practice as the adult?
Now is the time to take this seriously:
- Know who you are and what you do.
- Connect with and support your tribe.
- Upgrade your knowledge and expertise.
For the sake of the children in your practice and your community as well as for the sake of your profession.