Do you have a fussy baby? Need relief for an out-of-sorts toddler? Try chiropractic care!
Advocates say it can ease an infant’s discomfort after birth and relieve tension in colicky babies as well as older children and adults. Because of its emphasis on holistic healing and its philosophy of encouraging the body’s natural ability to heal itself, chiropractic is an important element of natural parenting.
Dr. Andy Rosser, D.C., C.C.S.P., is a certified chiropractic sports physician, husband, and father to an amazing almost-nine year old girl. Oh, and did I mention he’s my big brother? I interviewed him recently about chiropractic care and how it can be used for children.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I live and practice in Olympia, WA, where my wife, Juliet, and I have been for just over 10 years. Juliet and I are very involved in the daily functions of the office, and we have a wonderful front-desk assistant named Jessica. Eight years ago, Juliet and I were blessed with a wonderful little baby girl named Annalise. She is the joy of both of our lives. In addition to keeping up with the office and Annie, I am also very fond of cycling, hiking, and exploring the natural world here in the Pacific Northwest.
2. How did you get involved in chiropractic?
When I was in about 9th grade, my chiropractor at the time suggested that I would make a good chiropractor, and it was like a bell went off. Even though I didn’t take a direct path to get there, I never really imagined myself doing anything else. Even though I have lots of other interests, what I’ve learned in my practice is always on my mind. I guess it’s as close to a “calling” as I can imagine. Through high school, I got very interested in environmental science and wildlife biology, and that’s the direction my schooling took through college. Ultimately, my undergraduate work was done in wildlife sciences and that was followed by my chiropractic degree.
3. On your website you talk about the “chiropractic lifestyle.” What does this include?
To me, the chiropractic lifestyle is all the activities and daily choices that we make in taking care of our bodies and feeling good about being in this world. Since almost all of our activities are choices that we make, I see that as a great opportunity to create good for ourselves. That concept can be expanded to nutrition, playtime, work, friends, healthcare… so many different things. There is a physical side to the work I do in the office, but there is also a teaching side to it, when I spend time talking to people about the choices they make and how it might be affecting their lives.
4. How do you think chiropractic can help children? Are there specific problems that chiropractic can help treat?
Most of the chiropractors I know love working with children because it’s usually easier to tell what they need and to make corrections that last. One of the things I notice in my practice is that they are much more responsive to chiropractic care than their adult counterparts. As simple as it seems, it’s because they’ve had less time to develop bad habits or be injured in ways that change how they move their bodies. As far as specific problems, part of my job is to assess the child and note any concerns the parent has. I make sure that there are no concerns that need co-management with another healthcare provider, and then determine what kind of care I think will help. Through chiropractic care, I’ve had kids in my office show improvement in conditions that range from headaches and back pain to bed-wetting and colic. It really is amazing to me what happens when bodies express their ability to heal. And it, of course, makes me feel quite lucky to be able to experience this.
5. How early do you recommend getting kids started with chiropractic?
I’ve been a chiropractic patient for most of my life, and I know that will sound odd to people who haven’t even experienced it for themselves as adults! I have taken care of my own daughter since she was an infant. Of course, you might say it started earlier than that because I got to see her spine on ultrasound before she was even born. What a beautiful spine that kid had!
In my office I typically see children when they have some kind of symptom that is causing a parent some concern. It could be an earache, colic/reflux, pain, etc. I would love to see as many kids as I can, though, even without these typical symptoms, though, because most of the time, a busy, energetic child won’t tell a parent that they are suffering. Some of the questions I ask a parent with regards to a child is whether they have been sleeping well, eating well, and interacting in a way that is typical for them. Any changes in those patterns could be a sign that it’s time for a check up and chiropractic care.
6. How can parents find chiropractors that are experienced in dealing with children?
Some of the ways that people find me in my office are through other parents. These peer referrals are great ways to find a healthcare provider because your friends usually already know you well enough to know that you are going to like the doctor/office/staff/experience, and that means a lot. Other ways that people find me are through some of the midwives, doulas, and massage therapists in the area. Just like having a friend refer you, these people also know you well enough to make a good referral to a compatible practitioner.
Aside from all of that, a chiropractor who loves working with kids will often have done continuing education in pediatrics and may be a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association (http://icpa4kids.org/) In recent years, it’s become quite common for parents to set up an appointment to interview me, check out the office, and see for themselves whether they feel comfortable with what we have to offer.
7. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Many parents are concerned about bringing their child to a chiropractor because they associate treatment with manual treatment style, popping sounds, and the like. In my office I prefer to use hand-held tools that provide a gentle tapping to the spinal areas that I want to move, and that doesn’t involve any twisting movements that would cause the popping sounds. I will often combine that with gentle manual treatments, but always with very light force. As I said earlier, children respond well to very light adjustments, and nothing more than that is required for the type of treatment that chiropractors provide. It follows a principle that I love to live by, and that is that the body loves to be whispered to, not yelled at. Taking care of children is a daily delight because it follows that principle so beautifully.
All photos are used courtesy of Rosser Chiropractic.
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