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Childhood Bed-wetting: Could Chiropractic Be the Answer

By Dr. Molly Casey

Childhood Bed-wetting

This headline will generally catch people’s attention. Let’s be clear, I am referring to bed-wetting in the childhood years. Frankly, it’s a situation that really sucks for both kids and parents. Kids find it extremely embarrassing and parents can find it extremely frustrating. It can wear mentally and emotionally on the kids. Parents can find themselves very much limited with the extra workload of nightly sleep disturbances, more laundry, and restrictions on the ability to allow kids to go to sleepovers. And the list goes on.


The medical term for children’s bed-wetting is nocturnal enuresis. There’s a bit of an explanation for why it happens, so bear with me. Infants and young children have very slow respiration (breathing) patterns. Because breathing slows, carbon dioxide rises and triggers something called the phrenic reflex. The phrenic reflex then stimulates the diaphragm to fire. The diaphragm is the main breathing muscle, so the child takes a breath. If this reflex isn’t functioning optimally, the smooth muscles in the body (unlike the skeletal muscles) relax because carbon dioxide gets so high. The valve of the urinary bladder is a smooth muscle; when it relaxes, the child wets the bed. This reflex matures more slowly in boys than girls.


Chiropractic may be an excellent treatment option for childhood bed-wetting. Now you might be thinking, “chiropractic for bed-wetting??” -- Absolutely! There is a nerve called the phrenic nerve which plays a role in the phrenic reflex. This nerve exits the spine between the third, fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae. Chiropractic adjustments can focus on the vertebrae that affect the bladder and can help to improve function of the nervous system by relieving the subluxations that impede on proper communication and function.

But My Child Doesn’t Have a Bad Back

A child doesn’t need to have back pain to have subluxation, or misalignment, of the spine (neither does an adult, by the way). In fact, 89 percent of the nervous system doesn’t transmit pain -- it can’t, that’s not its job. Using pain as the primary or sole indicator of spinal function is not such a good idea at all. So if your child has a bed-wetting issue but doesn’t have back pain, it doesn’t mean that spinal subluxations can be ruled out as a contributing factor.

So What Now?

For parents, issues with kids can be particularly scary. If your child is struggling with bed-wetting, know that there is help available that you may have never considered. To learn more about how chiropractic care can benefit your child, talk to one of the 800+ licensed chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today. Helping your family improve the quality of life through regular chiropractic adjustments is our mission. We look forward to seeing you and your little one soon.



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