So here is the dilemma. I can work with children and frequently help with the symptoms of discomfort and give some relief. Nobody wants to see a child miserable. A GP might suggest baby panadol amongst other things. A chiropractor might adjust an area if there is an indication to. But what do you do when you can’t find an indication? Well in this case I recommended maintain fluids at home and closely monitoring his fever. If he appeared to worsen, if he became listless to go up to casualty. And I would see him tomorrow. I didn’t adjust him. I did perform some gentle lymphatic drainage to help shift fluid caused by inflammation and to try and ease some pressure around the inflamed area. It seemed to help a bit, but John was still upset.
But what about the earache and the fever I hear, you ask? Why didn’t you adjust him?
Well the reason was that he was working perfectly fine. He had been teething and probably had disturbed his gums, opened them up for a whole gamut of bugs and what not that live in the mouth and respiratory system. They live there all the time, but most of the time things are in balance and they don’t cause any problems. Now, maybe, there was an imbalance. If John’s mum had said he had a history of recurrent ear infections I might have acted differently, but that wasn’t the case. A fever is our natural way of mounting a defence – in fact our immune system works more efficiently at an elevated temperature. Too high a temperature and that’s not healthy either – in fact you could argue that when a temperature runs too high there is also poor communication within the body or at the very least that the body’s adaptive capabilities are no longer enough. Children’s temperature regulation is still developing so it is not that surprising that you can get extremes in how each individual behaves.
This time I chose not to act. My 20 years experience told me John was fine, and that the situation didn’t need my input. And John was fine. The next day he was better, much better – less fever, less discomfort and even a couple of smiles and his own immune system was all he needed.
* Name has been changed to protect client's privacy.
Dr Steven Hawkins (Chiropractor)