One might not think it, but adolescents are among those who can benefit the most from chiropractic care. The reason that chiropractic care is so important for teenagers is that it serves as prevention for worsening musculosketeal problems in the future. It is important to understand that every person’s body, whether healthy or not, will inevitably undergo negative musculoskeletal changes due to aging and life’s physical, chemical, and mental (emotional) stresses. By pursuing regular chiropractic care earlier in life and adopting recommended lifestyle changes, teenagers can correct small mechanical issues as they arise, relatively quickly, and dramatically reduce the early onset and severity of potential musculoskeletal problems including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy, and others. This is analogous to how brushing your teeth prevents early tooth decay.
In the absence of symptoms, when resting or staying mostly sedentary, the body’s muscles and joints can still undergo stress. In the teenager’s life, this can be from poor posture due to slouching while sitting or studying for hours at school, looking down for extended periods when playing videogames or texting on cellphones, practicing playing an instrument, or carrying a heavy, uneven load (back pack, sports gear, etc.). Overtime, these stances will commonly lead to unnecessary muscle imbalance, strain, and compensation during movement, causing neck pain, back pain, or headache. See last month’s newsletter article for related information on how technology can stress your body.
In contrast, there is often obvious damage and associated pain from various physical activities that teens participate in ranging from heavy exercise and contact sports to light, gentle movements. Even though activity is more rewarding for the body than being sedentary, repetitive stress on muscles and joints can potentially lead to injury and lack of mobility when there is overuse, poor biomechanics, or performance at a level above what the body is capable of handling. The sporting injuries commonly include sprains and strains, tendonitis, joint dysfunction, and early wear and tear on cartilage and the supporting tissue in between joints. Athletic teenagers are notoriously vulnerable to these problems as they push their bodies to the limits; often competing in multiple sports throughout the year and training intensively to compete for a position on a team or club. Fortunately, teenagers have the advantage of youth and easier healing. They therefore, typically respond well to chiropractic services like spinal manipulation, myofascial release, posture correction exercises, and other physical therapies when warranted.
It is also wise for teenagers to be occasionally examined by a chiropractor, even if not seeking treatment, to be screened for any abnormal structural problems that might suggest a more serious underlying condition. There are certain developmental musculoskeletal diseases, such as scoliosis or Scheurmann’s Disease that onset most commonly during adolescence, affecting boys and girls differently, and can progress with worsening symptoms if not managed appropriately in a timely manner. Part of a chiropractor’s job is identifying signs of such conditions and referring to an appropriate provider when chiropractic is not an appropriate treatment option. The good news is that many of these problems can be at least managed with chiropractic care and advised home care strategies that can help improve function and lessen symptoms when done regularly. Give our office a call today to help your teen Move Better, Feel Better, and Live Better!