Kids’ Health

Up to 4% of children and adolescents complain of at least one episode of pain a week. Additionally, up to 1 in 5 children are affected by chronic pain. Chronic pain, however, may be more difficult to treat, as it can be associated with changes or adaptations of the nervous system. Unaddressed pain heightens anxiety and fear, which, in turn, increases the perception of pain.

From infants to young adults, children are developing and increasingly engaged in a variety of activities that can affect the neuromusculoskeletal system. Learning to walk, riding a bike, growing pains, tumbles and falls, rough-housing during play, heavy backpacks, and school sports can all contribute to creating imbalance or inciting injury.

Typical Pain Kids Report:

  • Sports Specialization Injuries: Sports specialization increases the wear and tear of a specific muscle, ligament, and skeletal group and can lead to severe injuries down the road.
    • Neck Pain: A stiff neck without other symptoms is often caused by minor muscle strain from sleeping in an odd position or looking down at a phone too long, also known as ‘text neck syndrome.’ 
    • Headaches: Children can develop different types of headaches, including migraines or stress-related (tension) headaches due to an infection in the body, high levels of stress or anxiety, or minor head trauma.
  • Growing Pains: Pain that typically occurs in your child’s shins, calves, thighs, or behind their knees. Growing pains occur in both legs at night and may awaken your child. 
  • Colic: This occurs when a healthy baby cries for a long time for no apparent reason. It is most common during the first six weeks of life. Babies with colic are often fussy, gassy, and don’t sleep well.

(Source: Nemours KidsHealth, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, & Johns Hopkins Medicine)

What a Doctor of Chiropractic Can Do for Your Child
Your Doctor of Chiropractic may take one or more approaches to help your child and keep them running at their full potential:

  • Perform physical and neurological exams to assess the affected areas. 
    • In the physical exam, the doctor will observe your child’s posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel the spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasms. 
    • During the neurological exam, the doctor will test their reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.
  • Perform spinal manipulation or Chiropractic adjustments that are designed for the care of children.
  • Will develop a personalized program of care that may combine or recommend more than one type of treatment, depending on your child’s personal needs. In addition to spinal manipulation, Doctors of Chiropractic also offer exercises and techniques to maintain proper posture, provide guidance for ergonomic positioning, and counsel families about tech time times to help children find a healthy balance with technology use.

Ask your Chiropractor to see if the following Pain Management Techniques are Beneficial for You:


According to a study commissioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin, high school athletes who specialize in a single sport are 70 percent more likely to suffer an injury during their playing season than those who play multiple sports.

(Source: MHSAA)


When student-athletes cross-train, they work different muscle groups and joints, which, in fact, results in better overall conditioning. They also develop a new set of athletic skills like hand-eye coordination, balance, endurance, explosion, and agility that are transferable to their primary sport. For example, basketball players should look into full-body strength training during their “off-season.” Sports like tennis, baseball, softball, or activities like weight training and yoga work different muscle groups.

(Source: MHSAA)


  • Rest: Try to limit any movement or use of the injured area. Unfortunately, the child may need to take a break from sports and other physical activities, depending on the doctor’s recommendation.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack or cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes every hour for the first day after the injury. After one day, you can apply ice every three to four hours. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin (wrap the ice pack in a towel or washcloth).
  • Compression: Compression helps reduce blood flow to the injured area and reduces swelling. Apply a compression bandage or wrap around the sprained or strained area. 
  • Elevation: If possible, lift the injured area above the level of your heart. Support your arm or leg with pillows, blankets, or cushions.

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)


Using a heating pad or cold compress may help alleviate pain and increase general comfort in your child. Talk to your Chiropractor about recommended hot and cold therapies to benefit your child. 

Benefits of Heat: Improves compliance of soft tissues; relieves pain and spasms. Heat is most useful in warming up stiff or scarred soft tissues before stretching or exercise; heat may also be useful in relieving pain or spasms associated with neck or back injuries.

Benefits of Ice: Decreases pain, swelling, inflammation, and muscle spasm/cramping. Best used after exercise or after pain-producing activity.

(Source: Healthy Children)


Lightly massaging your child’s legs or other areas where they may be experiencing pain can make them more comfortable. Chiropractic offices are also often able to provide massage services; consult your Chiropractor to see what services they offer to help your child.

(Source: Mayo Clinic)


Gentle stretching can help maintain a good range of motion and keep the muscles relaxed while relieving and preventing future pain. Stretching the muscles during the day may also help prevent growing pains at night. Consult your Chiropractor for recommendations for specific stretches and exercises for your child.

(Source: Mayo Clinic)


Most kids don’t get enough sleep. Kids 5 to 12 years old need 9 to 12 hours each night. Not every kid is the same, and some kids need more sleep than others. During sleep, the brain sorts through and stores information replaces chemicals, and even solves problems like headaches, neck pain, etc., while they snooze.

(Source: Nemours KidsHealth)


Limiting screentime for your child or reducing the weight of their backpack, for example, could both be changes that alleviate and prevent neck and back pain. Consult your Chiropractor about your child’s symptoms for specific lifestyle change recommendations. 

(Source: Healthline)


Being hungry or dehydrated can exacerbate and even cause headaches. Making sure the child has a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of magnesium, vitamin D, and riboflavin and plenty of fluids can help relieve and perhaps prevent headaches. 

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

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Research Shows Healing Power of Chiropractic