CINCINNATI - Can a chiropractor really help a child do better in school, or sleep through the night?
A growing number of parents say "yes" and some are bringing babies as young as a day old to a chiropractor's office.
Dr. Heather Iannelli in Fort Wright, Ky., started having migraines when she was 5 years old but didn't see a chiropractor until she was 20. That one visit changed her life and her career path.
"I'm not going to that freak, that's what I said," Dr. Iannelli admitted to saying after her mother, who happened to be cleaning a chiropractor's office, pushed her into her first visit.
Now, though, Dr. Iannelli helps children like 10-year-old Jeremy Holland of Independence, Ky.
Adopted at 2 years old, Jeremy started living with Patty Holland and her husband when he was 11 days old. Even as a newborn, Holland says she could tell Jeremy was in pain.
"He didn't want to be touched. He didn't want to be changed. At two months we were having these issues but it took me until six months to get him here," Holland said.
Six months old sounds young, but Dr. Iannelli starts seeing babies as young as a day old for nursing problems like constipation and acid reflux. She says children born by C-section often need help. This is because a doctor has to tug on the baby's body to get it to pass through a small incision.
This growing trend hasn't developed without controversy, however. Many critics are asking if seeing a chiropractor is safe for children.
Chiropractors often use spinal manipulation to realign a person's body. Critics say a baby can't say when the pressure is too great, and a young child's spinal cord is too fragile to handle it.
Dr. Iannelli said she's used to dealing with critics, and for a growing number of parents, particularly those whose children suffer from conditions like autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chiropractors offer new solutions for helping their children.
Krista Bastin takes her 12-year-old stepson Caleb and 9-year-old daughter Shaylyn to a chiropractor. Bastin, who owns Stonekry a resale bookstore in Anderson Township that raises money for autism awareness, with her husband, knows that sometimes you have to be willing to try something new.
"With autism we thought, we'll try anything to let Caleb be a better Caleb," Bastin said.
Before you take your child to a chiropractor, talk to a pediatrician to rule out certain illnesses. Also look for someone who has extensive experience with children.
All states license chiropractors, and you can look up that information here.