For more information about specific conditions in children that we can help with, click here
From the day I arrived at Chiropractic College I knew I had found the right career, but through all the training and clinical teaching area that interested me most was paediatrics. Unfortunately at the time there was very little emphasis placed on the treatment of children and I graduated college determined to gain more knowledge in that area.
Luckily for me the very first conference I attended had lectures in paediatrics, but after 2 days of listening I realised the topic was huge and could not be covered in such a short time.
My career took a little pause and a back seat while I had 3 children of my own. Although I continued to practice I did not have time for extra learning so for almost 10 years my paediatric career was based in raising and learning through my own children, not extra study. I wish with all my heart I had known what I know now, back when I had babies that didn't sleep and screamed with colic!
I learnt one very important fact through those years, I learnt that there was nothing in my life more precious than my children and with that I realised that if I wanted to work in the area of paediatrics I must gain as much knowledge as possible so parents would trust in that knowledge and expertise. I knew I would demand nothing less if I allowed someone to treat my children.
In 1999 I found exactly what I had been looking for, a Masters Level course in paediatrics run by the world leader in the field, Dr Neil Davies. He had spent 30 years teaching in Melbourne, Australia and had now begun teaching in the UK. I signed up immediately and spent the next 5 years learning how chiropractic can help kids, how to treat babies and how to spot serious illness. It was time consuming and very hard at times but I am grateful for every piece of knowledge I have and what I continue to discover. The highlight of those years was a trip to Australia to work with Neil in his clinic where he sees nothing but babies and the reciprocal trip when he came to work in Harrogate with me.
My practice now consists of approximately 30% children, the work I do has created a reputation in the area and we now have some GP's and health visitors making referrals to the clinic. But my greatest thanks must always go to my patients who spread the word better than I ever could on the benefits of chiropractic care and their personal stories.
As well as treating babies and children with specific complaints many of my patients bring their children in just for regular maintenance health checks, they are unaware there are any problems and I can assess the spine, joints, posture, and function of the nervous system to see if there are any developing areas of concern. If treatment is needed it is gentle and safe. Pressure used is no more than you would place on your eyeball and there are no audible “clicks” and “crunches”.
Ensuring our children grow out of problems and not into them may be the greatest health gift we could offer them.
We are diligent at checking teeth, eyesight, hearing, height and weight etc but nobody checks the one system that controls it all – the nervous system.
You can never be healthy and well if that system is out of balance – chiropractic care removes stressors from that system and creates balance.
Follow-on sections on this site cover topics such as pregnancy, babies, care of children, there are fact sheets on varying topics that you can download and contact details to the clinic if you have questions you would like to put to me directly.
Children are not just little adults; they deserve to be treated by someone with knowledge and understanding in their health.
Their health is in your hands, and mine.
Comment from Dr Neil Davies
When Debbie arrived, jet lagged from a 24 hour journey to my corner of the world and still wanted to do nothing but see paediatric practice I knew I had a dedicated student. Her work on the Masters course had been exceptional and her visit was exciting for I knew she would take back to the UK all she would learn. I have also thoroughly enjoyed my days working with her in Harrogate, we spent time meeting GP's and health visitors in the area and treating as many kids as we could get through.
I have tried my best to persuade Debbie to teach but she prefers daily hands on practice and being mum to her 3 great kids and I suppose I must let her settle at that.
The UK is desperately low in paediatric chiropractors and it is essential that babies and children are seen by practitioners with experience.
I wish Debbie all the best for her career and would add that kids are lucky to be seen by her, I wish she was in Australia, I'd give her a job any day!!
Congratulations! What a very exciting, if not a little daunting time for you.
Your body will be going through changes on a daily basis, this is reflected in a complete change of posture especially for your low back joints and this is often associated with low back pain or pubic pain through the pregnancy. This tends to worsen as you progress through the months. Chiropractic is a gentle, safe and effective way of relieving these symptoms as well as preparing your body, especially your pelvic joint alignment for delivery. This can dramatically speed up delivery times and that often decreases the need for invasive interventions through labour. All techniques are adapted for the pregnant state, making them safe and comfortable for mum and baby.
Pain relief techniques for labour can also be taught and partners are very welcome to attend a session and learn these.
After the baby is born it is so important to have a thorough neurological check-up within the first 6 weeks of life. Birth can be very traumatic for the baby, being on the inside of every contraction can have some very negative effects on the function of the babies immature nervous system. At the first session we do all the regular baby checks such as height, weight and head circumference as well as all relevant developmental scales including age specific reflexes, we also do a full chiropractic assessment of the movement of the cranial bones, upper neck and pelvic joints, if necessary extending the examination to the limb range of movements. Any force applied is no more than you would apply to your eye ball and some babies sleep through the examination.
It is worth mentioning at this time that paediatric chiropractic care is a highly specialised area and there are very few practitioners working with small babies. I have been working in the area for 9 years now after following a Masters level training in the subject. I would encourage anyone thinking of having their baby or child checked to ensure they are seeking the opinion of someone who is familiar with working with that age group. They are not little adults!
Well baby checks are done 5 times in the first year of life and if problems are found they will be discussed and treated until resolved. I see babies for a variety of complaints at this age, please call us if you have any specific questions.
We have all been educated into the benefits of dental check-ups and dental hygiene and yet no one has taken the time to educate parents into understanding the devastating effect subluxations can have on a child's developing nervous system; the same system that is trying to monitor and control every cell in your body every moment of every day. If that system is placed under stress it will show imbalance and failure in areas and these are detectable and treatable.
Chiropractic care of children is a specialist area and requires expert knowledge that said all children should have available a regular check-up. Every 6 months is fine to detect and correct problems. This approach allows our children to grow out of not into their problems. By 18 years old we have the spine, posture and joint function we will live with for the rest of our lives. Changes are hard after that point. It would be like eating sugar for 18 years, never cleaning your teeth or visiting a dentist and then being forced through pain to seek help only to discover the terrible state your teeth are in and that help is limited, painful and expensive.
Prevention is better than cure and there is no age group this is truer for than children.
When I go into schools to do checks I find approx 70% of 8 year olds have already developed a pain somewhere in their spines.
This is preventable.
Chiropractic care is completely safe for children of all ages.
There are some information fact sheets you can download from this website on particular conditions that affect children.