The Hippocratic Oath of ‘First, do no harm,’ is paramount for all health care providers, including chiropractors. It goes without saying that adjustments for a small child are very different to those given to an adult. The Chiropractic Board of Australia requires chiropractors to be cognisant of children’s different anatomical, physiological, developmental and psychological presentation and for chiropractors to modify their force and technique to suit the age and size of their patient.
When Aurelie Marchand looked into this ten years ago she found that 94% of chiropractors modify their care for their little patients by decreasing the force and the speed of their adjustments. The younger the child, the more the technique was modified to suit. Marchand then went one step further, wanting to establish recommendations for how much force to use in children of different ages and sizes. This led her to conduct a literature review looking at the tensile strengths of spinal specimens of adults and children. Thank goodness, no studies had ever been performed in humans that showed what force was required to seriously hurt someone. Instead, she looked at studies that measured the traction weight needed to decapitate cadavers (YUCK!!). From this information she was able to construct guidelines for safe levels of force and speed to apply to children’s spines compared to adults. This is her conclusion:
A PROPOSED MODEL WITH POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS FOR SAFETY AND TECHNIQUE ADAPTATIONS FOR CHIROPRACTIC SPINAL MANIPULATIVE THERAPY FOR INFANTS AND CHILDREN
Marchand, JMPT Nov/Dec 2015
We currently don’t have any information on what percentage of Australian chiropractors modify their care for children. I will be conducting a survey on this in the next few weeks, so please keep an eye out and help us learn by filling it in 😊. However, it is my understanding that a large section of our profession has had limited undergraduate education in paediatric assessment and adjustment techniques and/or modification. For you, and for everybody else who is keen to learn more about taking care of the little people in practice, Switched-on Babies will be on in Sydney on May 15-16, 2021. Live, face-to-face and hands-on – YAY! Alternatively, Switched-on Kids can be accessed as an E-learning course.
In Switched-on Babies you will learn to confidently, competently and compassionately assess, adjust and monitor infants and toddlers according to current ‘Best Practice’. You will gain essential insight into child neurological development, what to look for and what it actually means to you as the practitioner. The assessment and integration of primitive reflexes will be discussed in detail. You will learn how to support the family through connection, communication, stimulation, play and nutrition. Common presentations will be discussed, and you will take home a wealth of knowledge and skills to impact the health of your community on Monday morning.
See you in May!
Yours in Chiropractic,