As parents you would have discovered that your child occasionally wet their bed at night, but usually this is something they grow out of by the time they’re about 5 years old. But for some kids this does not happen.
Low self-esteem from bed wetting can have a major impact on children’s mental and emotional well-being
Improve Bladder Control
A chiropractor isn’t directly trying to treat the bedwetting. Instead they’re trying to improve spinal function with the aim of improving your child’s brain’s ability to process what’s going on in their body. And for some kids this seems to result in more dry nights and improved bladder control!
As parents you would have discovered that your child occasionally wet their bed at night, but usually this is something they grow out of by the time they’re about 5 years old. But for some kids this does not happen. For some children this persists and this is known as nocturnal enuresis. Not only is this frustrating for parents who have to change wet beds night after night, but it can also cause a host of additional problems for the suffering child. Some are devastated by their parents’ disapproval and some are teased by their siblings. 1 2 Some of these children suffer greatly from low self-esteem that can have a major impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing. 1 2 If this wasn’t bad enough many of these children struggle with their social life and miss out on sleep-over parties and school camps, to avoid other children finding out about their bedwetting problems. 1 2
So why might chiropractic care help these children? Well we know that gently adjusting the spine changes the way the brain perceives what’s going on in the body.3 4 So improving spinal function with chiropractic care may help the brain and central nervous system to ‘notice’ that the bladder is full and wake the child at night.
So what does the research evidence say? Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done yet in this area but there are many individual cases published in the scientific literature suggesting that chiropractic care may help at least some children with their bedwetting.5 And in 1994, a group of researchers performed a clinical trial including 46 children who frequently wet the bed at night.6 They measured their bedwetting frequency for 2 weeks and then divided them into 2 groups. One group received 10 weeks of chiropractic care from final year chiropractic students and the other group received a sham control intervention – or pretend chiropractic care. They then measured their bedwetting frequency for another 2 weeks after the 10-week intervention period.
So what did happen after 10 weeks of chiropractic care? The researchers found that after 10 weeks the children receiving chiropractic care had on average almost 2 more dry nights over a 2-week period. The kids who did NOT receive any chiropractic care had no change in the number of nights they wet the bed. This does not sound like much improvement but when the researchers took a closer look at the results they found that 25% of the children who received chiropractic care actually had a 50% or more reduction in wet nights over the course of the trial. None of the control group had this type of improvement. This suggests that chiropractic care may well help at least some children with their bedwetting, while for others it doesn’t help much but for those kids that it does help, it helps a lot.
Remember that the chiropractor isn’t directly trying to treat the bedwetting. Instead they’re trying to improve spinal function with the aim of improving your child’s brain’s ability to process what’s going on in their body. And for some kids this seems to result in more dry nights and improved bladder control!
So if you know of children suffering from bedwetting share this with their parents in case they also want to try chiropractic care. When appropriately applied, chiropractic is known to be safe for kids and babies.
We know from this study that at least some children who wet the bed, chiropractic care really seems to help. So it’s worth giving it a go because it’s not just about the dry nights but also about the child’s mental and emotional and social well-being.
- Glazener CM, Evans JH, Cheuk DK. Complementary and miscellaneous interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005(2):CD005230.
- Robson WLM. Evaluation and Management of Enuresis. N Engl J Med 2009;360(14):1429-36.
- Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76.
- Lelic D, Niazi IK, Holt K, et al. Manipulation of Dysfunctional Spinal Joints Affects Sensorimotor Integration in the Prefrontal Cortex: A Brain Source Localization Study. Neural Plast 2016;2016:3704964.
- Huang T, Shu X, Huang YS, et al. Complementary and miscellaneous interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2011(12):CD005230.
- Reed WR, Beavers S, Reddy SK, et al. Chiropractic management of primary nocturnal enuresis. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1994;17(9):596-600.