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Chiropractic & Bedwetting

As parents we’ve almost all been there: it’s the middle of the night and your child wakes you up to let you know they’ve wet the bed. What should be your last few hours of sleep are now spent changing sheets and drying mattresses. Not only that but your child is embarrassed and frustrated – they don’t understand why this keeps happening.

Rest assured, your child is not alone. The development of urinary control is a normal part of a young child’s growth. In fact, we are all born without control of our bladder function and therefore bedwetting is a completely normal part of our development; as we grow, we gain our ability to control our bladder. And while the majority of children will naturally stop wetting the bed around the age of 5, it isn’t unusual for some children to continue to wet the bed past this age. 


“The National Sleep Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Boston estimate that approximately 10% of 7-year-olds and 5% of 10-year-old children still wet the bed. Overall, between five and seven million children in the United States wet their beds on a regular basis.”

Bedwetting Statistics: How Common Is It? 2013.


While bedwetting beyond the age of 5 is not uncommon, it also shouldn’t be ignored as it could be a sign of a dysfunction. There are a few different causes of bedwetting, including:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Bedtime Habits (i.e. drinking too much or not going to the bathroom before bed)
  • Emotional Stress (i.e. major life changes or disruptions in routine)

Another possible cause of bedwetting could be a nervous system imbalance. Our nerves control our organ functions therefore any miscommunications between the brain and the body – or any irritation of the nervous system – could lead to improper control of the urinary system.

How Chiropractic Can Help

When it comes to bedwetting, there are two possible explanations for nervous system involvement. The first is the child’s phrenic nerve reflex. The phrenic nerve is a “mixed motor/sensory nerve that courses through the neck and thorax” (Radiopaedia). It is involved in the development of the ‘phrenic reflex’ which is a system that stimulates muscles such as the diaphragm or bladder in order to increase activity at certain times during sleep. If there is a spinal misalignment that is interfering with this reflex, it can lead to a more relaxed bladder during sleep. The relaxation of this muscle is what leads to leakage. 

Another possible explanation is a subluxation of the lumbar and sacral spine. We empty our bladder using certain muscles – these muscles are controlled by nerves in our lower back and pelvis. If those nerves cannot function properly, it can lead to your child having issues controlling their bladder function. 

Luckily, both of these nervous system imbalances can be corrected by a chiropractor through safe and effective adjustments. And while fixing these imbalances may not be a “cure” for the bedwetting, it is a natural approach that can help to resolve bedwetting by allowing the child’s body to function as intended… ultimately leading to more control over their own urinary output. 

For more information about how chiropractic care can help with bedwetting, contact us today!


*The Pediatric Series: Bedwetting & Chiropractic. 2015. Wellness Media Resource Materials, Inc.