This month of June is one of celebrations. On the first, it was International Children’s Day and on the second it was the eighth anniversary of the opening of our clinic, Algarve Quiroprática.
Seeing kids at our clinic has always been rewarding and that is why we decided to celebrate them by organising a postural/scoliosis screening for children of all ages on Saturday morning, June 3.
This event was mainly to raise awareness of postural problems in young ones and also had the purpose to raise funds for a charity called Riding for the Disabled which provides horse-riding lessons to adults and children with developmental and physical disabilities.
We started by making the clinic even more welcoming to children by putting up decorations with balloons and prepared healthy snacks and drinks for everyone.
Our assistant Vanessa invited her 10-year-old daughter Julia to help in welcoming people and direct them to the different treatment rooms for their evaluation. Zoomarine kindly offered four daily passes. Everyone that offered €4 to the charity was given a ticket for a chance to win the draw that will happen at the end of this month. We show our gratitude to Zoomarine for their contribution to our special day.
We saw children from one month old to 17 years of age. They all were at ease when they were welcomed by Julia and even though it was their first time in our clinic, they were very cooperative and enjoyed their postural evaluation.
We had the privilege to have one of Dr. Christophe’s patients as a photographer: Filipe Rodrigues who did a fantastic job at capturing beautiful moments of that first chiropractic experience.
Some people are surprised when we talk about postural problems that children have, but many parents bring their child in because they are concerned about their child complaining of back pain and also because of the way they hold themselves. We know that children also use cell phones and tablets, and spend a lot of time playing games sitting in all kinds of strange positions with their heads down which contributes to a lot of strain on the back and neck.
The fact that children have to carry heavy books to school in their backpack also has an impact on their spinal health. A child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 15% of the child’s bodyweight. We recommend the use of a pack with a waist belt to help distribute the weight more evenly. Select a smaller backpack for your younger child. The backpack itself should be lightweight.
Posture concern is not just for the older children since we can see some postural alterations in newborn babies. Some babies have a tendency to always bend their head to the same side or refuse to breast feed on one side. Those are signs of possible vertebral subluxations in the baby’s cervical area often due to the birth process or the position in the uterus.
Teenagers also have their own special postural changes since scoliosis often appears at 10 to 17 years of age and it progresses quickly during those years to adulthood. This is why the early detection of a curve is very important and should be monitored closely for progression as the child’s skeleton develops.
Scoliosis is a lateral deviation where the spine becomes rotated and curved sideways. It is often accompanied by a distortion of the rib cage that we call a rib hump and it is often this postural change that alerts parents to seek help. The parent may also notice some other abnormalities such as clothes hanging unevenly or the body tilting to one side. While these curves are not typically the cause of pain, some trunk imbalances may cause muscle spasms which can, in turn, lead to pain.
Most scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown but we know that it does tend to run in families. If you as a parent have a scoliosis or know someone in the family who does, make sure your child has proper evaluations for early diagnosis.
There is no need to wait for symptoms to appear to seek chiropractic care. Chiropractic is used for prevention and children of all ages can benefit from a well adjusted spine and efficient nervous system.
Chiropractic spinal adjustments will maintain the mobility of the joints of the spine and help the spine to develop normally. If a scoliosis is detected, your chiropractor is trained to determine which approach is best recommended. They may also include exercise and postural advice. In severe cases, your chiropractor may refer you to other types of doctors.
The best way to correct scoliosis is early detection and prevention. Getting your children examined by a chiropractor may be the key for early detection of any spinal problems.
Remember, as the twig is bent, so grows the tree!
We want to thank everyone that showed up at our special day and we will repeat this event every year so we can help our community raising happy, healthy children.
By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375