Chiropractic in Children's Ailments
( Originally Published 1957 )
The following is quoted verbatim from the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution:
"The stone mask that four years ago crept over the lovely features of little Daisy Waller, eight, victim of the rare malady, scleroderma, slowly but surely turning her to stone, today is gone. The lethargy has lifted—leaving no trace.
"The child who once was doomed to death because the tissues of her body were petrifying is playing in her front yard on South Chandler road, apparently the picture of health. She said yesterday: I feel good now, just as though I had never been sick. I can play baseball all day long if I want to and ride my bicycle, and I can eat anything I want.'
" `My teacher sent me home,' she had told her mother, who immediately put the child to bed. For weeks the malady had progressed with alarming speed. She was gradually losing use of her limbs and a strange hardening process of the tissues became apparent to the touch. The muscles began to lose their resiliency.
"After a number of consultations the child's condition was said to be hopeless. Her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Waller, and her six sisters and two brothers watched her condition with a feeling of despair.
"Then the family lawyer recommended an Atlanta chiropractor with the hope that the child could be brought to recovery. Eight weeks after the be-ginning of the disease, Daisy was X-rayed and treatment was begun. Following the adjustment made three days following the X ray, the child began to respond, and in three weeks a marked change was noted."
The following is quoted verbatim from the New York Daily Mirror:
"Four years ago today, Margaret and, Thomas Curran brought their ten-month-old son James home from the hospital as a tiny crippled bundle with staring, sightless eyes.
"You are lucky he is alive,' the doctors said. `He'll never see, he'll never talk, he'll never walk.'
"Today, Jimmy will leave his home at 51 North 11th Street, Paterson, New Jersey, and come to New York to see the Armistice Day Parade. He'll walk to the reviewing stand, and, if he is pleased with the soldiers passing by, he'll tell his happy mother all about it.
"This miraculous metamorphosis Mrs. Curran attributes to a special massage Jim has received since the fall of 1938.
"Mrs. Curran told a Mirror reporter yesterday that the baby became ill when they were visiting friends at Pomona, New York, in the summer of 1937. He was taken to Paterson General Hospital, where the malady was diagnosed as bulbar infantile paralysis, a disease survived by one in a thousand. And that one survivor has always been crippled for life.
"After two months, on Armistice Day, jimmy was taken home. Mrs. Curran brought him to several New York hospitals, where the specialists confirmed the opinion that Jimmy could not be helped and that he would never walk or see.
"Mr. Curran, now a defense worker, and his wife, both begged the doctors to try an operation. They said none would aid the boy.
"The mother engaged a masseur. After the first treatment, the child's stiffened muscles seemed to relax . . .
"In the spring of 1940, the boy made sounds which gradually developed into normal speech. His fingers started to curl, and he found he could pick up things. Then he began to sit up, and one day he pointed a finger at an object and showed he was beginning to see. Two months ago, Jimmy's sight really began to develop, so that now it is completely normal. He still has difficulty on stairs, but the Currans are confident that with continued massage he will be entirely normal soon."
The only trouble with the above story is the use of the words "masseur" and "massage." The practitioner who worked with Jimmy Curran was not a masseur; he was a chiropractor, Dr. M. Kronman New Jersey.
The Currans were contacted for an explanation. Mrs. Curran confirmed that a chiropractor, and not a masseur, had been working with Jimmy. She added that on September 18, 1937, the baby was taken ill with chills and fever. Hospitalized, his illness was diagnosed as bulbar infantile paralysis; subsequently the condition was rediagnosed as meningitis. Blood transfusions were advised. Finally the baby was sent home. According to a letter written by Mrs. Curran :
... his body was cold . . . paralyzed. His head was enlarged, and he was totally blind, of which we knew nothing. No eye doctor had examined him; even Dr. M-- said no eye physician had seen him in his two-months' stay in the hospital.
'We took him to New York Medical Center, but they gave him up as hopeless after two days there. There was nothing they could do.
"They advised me to put him in an institution, have another baby, and try to forget him for my other child's sake. But we kept on trying. We took him to several other hospitals and doctors, but none of them could do any good. He would remain as he was until death ... Daddy came home from work one day. and said he had heard of a good chiropractor he was going to take the baby to . . . I went with him but had given up all hopes for Jimmy, as he had at that time lain as if dead for six months. But to my surprise, after a few treatments, he smiled again. After a few months of treatments, I was so sure his sight was coming back that I took him back to the Medical Center, but they said it was my imagination, that he never would see and that there was not a doctor anywhere who could help him. But we still kept on with the chiropractor and Jimmy kept on improving.
"He is four years old now and can hear, see, speak, and has the intelligence of a five-year-old boy, and in a few months I expect to have him running around, and he will take quite a few steps without help."
In another instance a boy, aged eight, had severe headaches, which often compelled his absence from school over a period of three and one-half years. Then his younger brother wandered away and was temporarily lost. Upon hearing of this, both eyes of the older brother turned in, and the left side of his face became paralyzed.
A medical doctor offered no encouragement. Chiropractic adjustments over a period of 17 days eliminated both the cross-eyed condition and the facial paralysis.
Following are a number of capsule case histories, selected at random :
A baby specialist diagnosed a ten-week-old girl as having a stomach tumor and advised surgical removal if she could be built up sufficiently through blood trans-fusions to stand the operation. However, the baby worsened and was sent home. At the age of . three months, she was "so near death that her stomach and limbs were black from a drying up of the blood in the veins" (parents' letter). After four months of chiropractic adjustments, she was "as active and healthy as any baby could be."
A three-year-old girl developed "St. Vitus' Dance," which generally afflicts children under 15 far more frequently than adults. Medical doctors were unable to help her. She grew worse, her tongue swelled, she could not feed herself or walk, and her speech was impaired. After her first chiropractic adjustment, improvement was noticed, and after two months of adjustments, the condition had completely vanished.
A two-year-old girl gradually developed a whole battery of ailments, including asthma, bronchitis, eczema, bad digestion, and poor elimination. Treatment by at least six different medical doctors produced no benefit. After four months of chiropractic adjustments, "she was entirely well of all her conditions" (mother's let-ter).
Following a hard fall while jumping rope, a tenyear-old girl developed sleeping sickness. Her parents were told by hospital medical doctors that nothing could be done for her. She was then taken to a chiropractic sanitarium. Within one hour after her first adjustment, she showed improvement, after three days she regained consciousness, and gradually other symptoms such as paralysis of the throat vanished. One month after her first adjustment, "she attended a school picnic, took part in a sixth-grade running race, and won second place . . . Today she is as well and happy as any child could be" (parents' letter).
In November of 1946, a nine-year-old boy was expected to die of asthma before the end of the year. The asthmatic seizures were throttling him a dozen Lilies a day and his heart was weakening. Medical specialists said they could do nothing more for him. A radio appeal by his mother set a dramatic chain of events in motion. Chiropractic was suggested. A U.S. Navy captain flew the boy in his personal plane to St. Louis, and from there he traveled by commercial airline to a Colorado chiropractic sanitarium. He reached the sanitarium on November 6, weighing 50 pounds. On New Year's Day, he weighed 62 pounds and was very much alive, having had only one mild attack of asthma since chiropractic adjustments started.
An unusual case was that of Winifred Gardena who was stricken with polio at the age of three. Winifred was chosen "cover girl" in the March of Dimes campaigns in 1952 and 1953. She was depicted in a hospital crib and was diagnosed as a "helpless paraplegic," sentenced to a life of crutches and braces. After two years of medical treatment, the verdict was "no hope." In 1954, she was put under the care of a doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Lewis Robertson of Santa Cruz, California. After six months of chiropractic care, Winifred Gardella was able to walk without her braces or crutches.
CLINIC STATISTICS Diagnosis: Poliomyelitis Number of cases: 11 Average age: 14 years
Youngest: 4 years Duration of condition:(Chronic)
Male: 5 Female: 6
Oldest : 35 years Average-3.4 years
Shortest—1 week Length of chiropractic care:
Number having previous chiropractic care: 2 Medical: 8
Summary Number %
Recovered 2 18.2
Literally, a multitude of other case histories might be given, but these should be sufficient to indicate that the claims of chiropractic in regard to the handling of children's ills are worth considering. There are many reasons why the spines of the young are subject to strains—even before and at birth—that may cause misalignment. According to Chittenden Turner in The Rise of Chiropractic:
"Various abnormalities in children are traceable to impingements on the nerves as affecting cellular activity and predispositions to certain ailments. Adenoids, affections of the ears, nose, and general head disturbances are largely due to the unnecessary force used by persons assisting at birth. Jerking of children by the head frequently causes impingements, and this is given as a cause in many cases where one eye has become deflected, as may appear from one to five years after birth. It is claimed that chiropractic has considerably minimized labor pains, save at ejection and after-birth ..."
Chiropractors assert that even very young babies, in their process of getting acquainted with their environment by twisting and turning, are frequently prone to develop subluxations which in turn bring on many of the maladies of the formative years. For example, they say that even incontinence of bladder or bed-wetting may be corrected by spinal adjustment. Normally, chiropractors hold, a child develops proper bladder control at about two years of age. If this does not hap-pen and bed-wetting persists without obvious cause, the trouble may not lie in the kidneys at all but in the bladder, where the sphincter muscle guarding the opening to the urinary canal is under control of the nervous system. In such cases a spinal subluxation is almost always present, and with adjustment the unusually prolonged incontinence vanishes.
Strenuous play, sitting for hours daily at desks, even carrying books to and from school in a habitual manner, as under one arm, is likely to cause postural faults and bring on subluxations in children, chiropractors assert. Records of absence from school show that children in the primary grades who are taught good posture have less illness. Yet, according to the recent White House Conference on Child Health, ". . . it is reasonable to believe that seventy-five per cent of the youth in the United States exhibits grades of body mechanics which are imperfect."
In recommending that every school child should be graded on his posture as much as on his deportment, arithmetic, or grammar, a well-known chiropractor, Dr. A. C. Johnson of Los Angeles, pointed out that "postural effects are no respecters of social or economic caste. Rich children, poor children, city children, and country kids all may suffer from postural defects.
"The posture of almost any given group of young people is uniformly bad. Yale and Harvard freshmen showed postural deformities in 85 per cent of the students. School children showed lateral postural defects in 34 per cent t o 48 per cent ... To get the best use of the human body, all its structures must be in proper alignment. Poor health may be found with no disease of an organ, but it is always associated with faulty alignments of the body."
The alarming prevalence of spinal deformity among our children was noted recently by Dr. Charles D. Napier of the House of St. Giles the Cripple, who conducted structural examinations of high-school girls in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Times re-ported that Dr. Napier found a high percentage of minor spinal, leg, and foot deformities. It quoted him as saying that spinal defects are more numerous among girls than among boys, and that early detection and care of the conditions might prevent serious trouble later. He emphasized that children of ten and twelve especially should be examined, for by the time they reach high school, it is sometimes too late to correct the condition.
Very recently, a group of research experts from New York University made structural checks of 6,400 typical children in twelve communities and found that 56 per cent of the group—representing both suburban and industrial areas—suffered from poor posture. It was predicted that backache, already rampant in the United States, would soon be even more prevalent than it is.
"Human spines were not evolved to withstand the monotonous, trying postures entailed by modern education," the great British anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith has observed. Along the same lines a well-known chiropractor noted acidly, "We have the turbine and jet powered planes, the automatic windows in the new cars, gearshifts without clutches, color television, pop-up toasters. We are changing our environment more and more so that we will do less and less. Soon we may degenerate into a completely push-button existence. But our bodies are showing the results : most of us are beginning to look like slightly underdone muffins."
The plea that youths under the age of 19 should refrain from rugged, competitive sports because of the danger of possible injury to their still-developing spines was made not long ago at a meeting of the American Association for Surgery by the noted Chicago surgeon, Dr. John D. Ellis, who warned that:
"Change in shape of the bodies of the vertebrae occurs in young people from overexercise and competitive sports. This is particularly true in such sports as diving, football, and sometimes baseball, which cause powerful flexion and extension of the spine, and these diseases lead to a deformity of the back called `adolescent angulation' or `apprentice angulation.'
"Irreparable damage can be done by violent exercise involving powerful twisting of the spine in adolescence before the vertebrae are completely formed."
Much more along the same lines might be said, but this should be sufficient to show that not only the chiropractors, but many medical doctors as well, are aware of the importance of good posture in the prevention of disease and the part played by faulty posture in causing it. The case histories cited would seem to indicate that in the handling of a wide variety of children's ailments chiropractic is proving of great benefit, often after orthodox treatment has failed.