You’ve probably heard of chiropractors, but you may associate them solely with adults who have back problems or spinal issues. Chiropractors use hands-on manipulation to attempt to align the spine and musculoskeletal system. Their treatment is typically used as a pain relief alternative, but studies have shown that chiropractor care for bedwetting could help some children manage nighttime wetting.
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (Elsevier Inc., 2005) looked at whether chiropractic care reduced nighttime wetting among children. Of the 171 children participating in the study who were treated with bedwetting and chiropractic care, one quarter had a 50% reduction of wet nights.
The potential for such results drove Amy, a mother who had been seeking a solution for bedwetting, to take her 9-year-old son to a chiropractor. She had previously tried a variety of coping methods but “We’ve only had a handful of dry nights in his life,” she says.
“We’ve tried various things, including biofeedback at a urologist, which helped a bit. One night out with the girls, someone mentioned going to a chiropractor. After my son’s third chiropractic visit, he had a dry night.”
Like Amy, many parents are opting for an alternative, noninvasive and drug-free approach to managing nighttime wetting. And while it doesn’t work for every child, seeing a chiropractor for bedwetting might be an option worth trying for some.
How Can a Chiropractor Help for Bedwetting?
Dr. Matousek says, “Since your nerves affect every cell of your body, they influence organs such as the bladder. When a chiropractor restores normal motion in the spine, the nerves are able to function properly. Taking the stress away from the nerves allows the organs to function optimally.”
Should Your Child Visit a Chiropractor?
For Karen, a mom from Michigan, the decision to work with a chiropractor wasn’t immediate. But once she experienced the provider’s concern for her and her son, she felt more confident. Karen says her chiropractor incorporates a more personal understanding of her son’s condition into the practice.
"Our 11-year-old son is still wetting enough to soak the Goodnites® NightTime Underwear, usually four or five nights out of seven. Nothing seems to work,” she says. “Our doctor doesn’t seem to be concerned at all, but our chiropractor, who tried adjustments to alleviate the problem, seems to be very concerned. We feel stuck in between.”
What to Expect
An adjustment is usually quick and painless. The chiropractor will manipulate the spine by pushing, twisting or pulling on a section of your child’s body. You might hear a popping sound, but it’s not anything to worry about. It can be a normal part of the process.
How frequently the chiropractor will want you to return for visits — and how long you’ll need to continue going — will depend. “The length of time that one would need to see a chiropractor varies on the degree of ‘correctness’ that his or her spine needs,” says Amy. “For my son, the treatments lasted five minutes two to three times a week.”
Amy continues, “My son went to the chiropractor two to three times a week for about two and a half months. After his third visit, he had a dry night, and a few other nights sporadically after that.We were told that one of his nerves from his bladder was being blocked and that adjustments would help. I believe they did.”
However, after going to the chiropractor for two and a half months, Amy decided to stop the treatments after her son was not totally dry. “We, of course, were very hopeful that the chiropractor would have a permanent fix,” she says. While it wasn’t the complete solution she had hoped for, Amy strongly believes the treatments did help lessen the frequency of the nighttime wetting. “This did not totally solve his problem, but I believe it improved his wetting.”
Although nighttime wetting can be stressful for kids and parents alike, Amy says that treatments such as pediatric chiropractic can provide hope. “I just want to make others aware of this option to help their children,” she says. “My son was usually soaked by morning. He still is usually damp, but nowhere near how it used to be.”
If you’re considering trying a chiropractor for kids experiencing bedwetting, ask ahead of time if they’re comfortable treating youth and if they’re experienced with this issue. Like you, your child is probably experiencing stress, and making sure you choose a provider they’re comfortable with is important.