Sherwood Park pediatric chiropractor—meet Dr. Emily Devlin-Irving
Last summer, I photographed a family that was going to a pediatric chiropractor appointment right after their photo session. That got me thinking: why would a newborn need to see a chiropractor?
I asked the mom how she knew to consult with a chiropractor and what kind of concerns one might have about their baby. She told me many of her mom friends had taken their baby to see a chiro because their midwives had told them about it or a specialist had referred them. It turns out seeing a chiropractor after birth is a great way to get babies adjusted and help them with gas, reflux, colic, etc.
A few months later, I met Dr. Emily Devlin-Irving, a Sherwood Park pediatric chiropractor. I interviewed her about her practice to find out more about what she does and why.
Can you tell me about your practice? What do you do and why?
Chiropractic practice generally focuses on health concerns through regulating the nervous system and addressing our joints. It often also addresses associated musculature. As a whole this is called the musculoskeletal (MSK) system. In my practice, while I work on patients of all ages and genders, I have specifically focused on pediatric and perinatal (during and after pregnancy) care. This has a special piece of my heart, because I have found that both these areas are often overlooked, or undereducated upon, and often it results in people suffering more than necessary. For example, pelvic pain in pregnancy is often thought of as a normal side-effect that you just have to go through. However, most cases can easily be treated and resolved, or at least significantly reduced, with the right treatment. There are numerous other conditions/concerns with similar stories in both populations.
What are the main reasons why parents take their baby to a pediatric chiropractor?
Common reasons for a baby to see a chiropractor are reflux, colic, traumatic birth, torticollis, and problems meeting milestones (such as rolling, sitting, crawing).
What differentiates you from other chiropractors?
There are many chiropractors who treat their patients using spinal manipulation (joint adjustments, “cracking”, etc.) only, and often require several treatments for a long period of time. While I do use spinal manipulation, my typical treatment is much more diverse than this. I also incorporate muscle work, rehabilitation assessment and exercises, and lifestyle modifications (changing habits, altering everyday activities, etc.). In my experience, this helps the spinal manipulation be more effective, gives greater results, and often requires fewer treatments overall. There is something to be said for appropriate follow-up and monitoring, however I believe people are often only getting one aspect of a concern addressed, prolonging the time it takes to improve.
In terms of pediatric and perinatal treatment, I have done more extensive training/education in the area than many chiropractors. This results in more specific assessments and treatments, with a more direct approach. For example, infants are usually treated primarily with spinal manipulation. When I do this, I am able to treat specific areas that are contributing to any concerns with a fine tooth comb so to speak—a more direct approach. I have seen several other chiropractors blindly (ie. randomly) adjust babies, often using an activator (a gentle adjusting tool) without having a feel for the problematic areas—often overtreating.
What’s your favorite part about your work?
My career gives me the opportunity to directly help people improve their quality of life—not only by decreasing or completely removing their pain, but by preventing future injury, and helping them achieve goals that their physical condition was stopping or slowing. It is extremely fulfilling, and I’ll never tire of having someone walk into my office in pain, and seeing them walk out pain free.
What’s the hardest part?
The hardest part of my job is the patients that I am unable to help. Regardless of a chiropractor’s ability, there will always be conditions that chiropractors cannot work on and/or improve. It is always difficult to tell someone that you cannot solve their problems and to see that hope lost. In those situations, all I can do is help shepherd my patients to someone who will be able to help and be a guiding hand.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to new parents?
New parents are so bombarded with information and advice that it can be hard to know where to go for what. I would say regardless of what is going on with your little one, find a provider other than your doctor that you trust (whether it’s a chiropractor or not) for a second opinion when you feel something is off. There are so many things that we are told are normal, when “alternative” therapies can help. And you don’t need a problem to come in, we can always just do a “check-up” to catch anything before it becomes a problem!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I find, if you are someone who hasn’t been to a chiropractor or if you haven’t taken your child, there can be a lot of fear around our style of treatment for various reasons. And while, as a chiropractor, I know it is often unfounded or based on things that aren’t always true, if you are fearful, that fear is valid. However, a good provider will have many tools in their toolbox to provide a comprehensive treatment and give relief in a way that you are comfortable with. Never settle for a provider who is unwilling to meet you where you are—you are your best advocate!
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I'm Marie-Pierre, an easygoing mother of two and a documentary family photographer. I believe we can all learn and grow from other people's experiences. Real life stories help us relate to each other, open our minds and feel better about ourselves.
this blog is a collection of featured client stories, tips, and articles on various family related topics. I hope you will find some inspiration!