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Posted by on in Chiropractic Information

AUTHOR // Cole Bradburn, D.C.

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Chiropractic/why-infants-need-chiropractic-care.html

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It is common to get strange looks from people I talk to about taking infants to the chiropractor. I know what is going through their heads: Is it safe? Babies don’t have back pain. Do babies get adjusted the same way I do? These are legitimate concerns for any parent, but to answer them I will begin with the most important question: Why?

  • 10 percent of the newborn babies had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms.
  • 10 percent had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers.

  • The remaining 80 percent all had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism.

Left uncorrected, this trauma continues to impact a baby’s spinal growth and development, reducing the healthy function of her nerve system. This can cause many health challenges later in life that could easily have been prevented.


Birth Trauma

Birth in its many different forms can be quite traumatic. While each birth is unique, there is always a chance that the baby suffers some sort of strain due to a variety of reasons. Even the most natural births can result in trauma that goes undetected. As researcher G. Gutmann has written, “The trauma from the birth process remains an underpublicized and therefore significantly under-treated problem.”


What can cause birth trauma?

  • Very short labor

  • Very long labor

  • Failure of the cervix to dilate

  • Use of Pitocin to strengthen/induce uterine contractions

  • Use of forceps or vacuum extraction

  • Cord around baby’s neck

  • Cesarean delivery (due to lack of progress)

  • Pulling or twisting on the head to deliver the infant’s body

     


Evidence

Beyond the Frymann study detailed above, a Harvard University pathologist, Dr. Abraham Towbin, found evidence of spinal injury common as a result of the birthing process. He also found evidence of spinal injury in many cases of SIDS and infant respiratory conditions.

Birth trauma often causes neurological dysfunction. In fact, a study by Gutmann examining more than 1,000 infants concluded that approximately 80 percent had some form of nerve dysfunction. This is of utmost importance, since 65 percent of neurological development (brain and nerve system) occurs in a child’s first year. During this crucial time it is vital that the nerve system be healthy so the child can grow and develop to her potential.

What can nerve dysfunction from birth trauma look like?

  • trouble breathing

  • reflux/frequent spitting up

  • irritability/colic

  • difficulty nursing (impaired sucking/swallowing or head positioning)

  • balance issues

  • sleeping difficulty

  • delayed developmental milestones

Chiropractic care is focused solely on removing nerve dysfunction (which improves brain-body communication) so a new baby can grow, develop, and function at its highest potential. We as humans were born with an innate ability to heal. Chiropractors minimize the obstructions to that ability.


Spinal Elongation

A baby’s spine lengthens by 50 percent in his first year. At no other time does this growth happen so rapidly, so you want to make sure your baby is in proper alignment, ensuring proper symmetrical growth.

The Hueter-Volkman law states that bones change shape with pressure by slowing bone growth in response to pressure (compression forces). Any spinal misalignment changes the balance of pressure across the spinal bones and can lead to asymmetric bone development. This is the difference between having a spine like a straight, strong oak and having a spine like a crooked tree.

The first year of life is also the time of spinal curvature development. There are curves called lordosis present in your neck and lower back, and curves called kyphosis in your mid-back and sacrum. These spinal curves are necessary for movement, balance, upright posture, protection, and shock absorption. Without being in alignment during this crucial time, a baby’s spinal curves may not develop properly—giving him a poor foundation for later in life.


Optimize the nerve system

The central nerve system consists of the brain and spinal cord, and it processes everything that your body does. Movement, a heartbeat, seeing a baby smile, feeling the sun on your skin, laughing, smelling, creativity—all are coordinated by the brain and spinal cord.

In infants the central nerve system also controls their growth and development. Infancy is the time of greatest brain and proprioceptor (body position sensors) development, so infancy is the time to ensure the health of the nerve system. Chiropractors who take care of babies look for disturbances in their nerve systems that interfere with healthy growth and development.

Remember: If your baby’s spine stays out of balance, it can put tension on the nerve system.


Is it safe for infants to get adjusted?

Yes. Adverse events linked to pediatric chiropractic care are virtually nonexistent, estimated at 1 in 250 million pediatric visits. There is not a single medical procedure safer than that, but I would encourage parents to seek out chiropractors who routinely take care of children in their practice.

When adjusting a newborn, a skilled chiropractor will only use the amount of pressure that you would use to comfortably push on your eye. The child gets checked by hand and with technology, then is placed in position (usually in Mommy’s lap), and gentle pressure is applied. That’s all there is to it. It’s simple, safe, and effective.

Two major studies on chiropractic and infantile colic have shown that over a period of two weeks (usually three visits) 94 percent of babies adjusted by chiropractors showed a successful rating, with 25 percent showing improvement after the first adjustment. Dr. S. Vallone, in a 2007 study, concluded, “Chiropractic adjustments in the early stages of neurologic imprinting appear to safely and effectively address the craniocervical dysfunction and help restore natural, efficient suckling patterns for infants who are unable to successfully latch.”


Better immunity through a healthy spine and nerve system

A leader in psychoneuroimmunology, Dr. Candice Pert, credits chiropractic as having a significant effect on maximizing immunity via maintenance of a healthy nerve system.

A pilot study examined the relationship between intensity of chiropractic care and incidence of childhood diseases. The results showed that children who went to the chiropractor more than seven times per year had an increased resistance (immunity) to common childhood diseases.

Many parents, myself included, have their children checked regularly by chiropractors as part of a healthy lifestyle to help them develop to their potential. Chiropractic is a safe, gentle, and effective way to address nerve dysfunction and promote overall wellness in the newborn and growing child.

It is my sincerest intent that this information will help as many families achieve better health through chiropractic. If we can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or leave a comment below. Here's also another great article on babies and chiropractic, enjoy! 3 Signs Your Newborn Needs to See A Chiropractor

Blessings,

Dr. Matthew Posa

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Guest Blogger: Dr. Tyler Kong, Mississauga Chiropractor - Health & Healing Family Chiropractic

Many people are surprised when I talk about chiropractic care for babies. Some may even cringe at the thought of a chiropractor adjusting a baby because they’re thinking: “Is chiropractic safe for babies?” or “Do babies get adjusted the same way as adults?”

 

Have you ever seen a new born get checked by a chiropractor? Here's Dr. Matthew Posa from The Healthy Family Chiropractic in Milton

These are valid questions. In short, YES chiropractic is safe for babies/newborns with chiropractors who have been trained in pediatric chiropractic techniques. And NO, babies do not get adjusted the same way as adults. A baby’s joints are more cartilaginous than bony and only require about the same amount of pressure as you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato. The birth process can be traumatic for an infant so I’m a strong believer in ALL babies getting checked by a chiropractor. In many cases, infant spinal misalignments may not present any visible symptoms until later on in life. However, there are 3 visible signs that babies may show to indicate they need to get checked by a chiropractor:

1. Colic

There are many new parents who have a baby who is colicky. This can be a very difficult time for many parents because of the feeling of helplessness. The causes of colic can be from gassiness to abdominal pains to reflux. In essence, the newborn is experiencing some type of symptom and the only way they know how to express their pain is by crying.

A chiropractor can determine if a spinal misalignment is causing the newborn to be in a state of discomfort. Trained chiropractors can detect spinal misalignments with a thorough examination and correct the misalignment with a safe and gentle adjustment to the spine. A study has shown that spinal adjustments can decrease the number of hours a baby is colic by 2.7 hours per day compared to the medicated group which decreased colic by 1 hour per day.(1) The authors of the study also add that as the study went on, the chiropractic group continued to see improvements. Another study with 316 colicky infants showed that through chiropractic care, 94% of them had improvement.(2) More recently, this study concluded, “chiropractic manual therapy improved crying behavior in infants with colic”.(3)

2. Favours turning head to the left or the right

If your newborn prefers to keep their head turned to either the left or the right, it is a clear sign that the infant has a misalignment in their upper neck area. One tell-tale sign of this is if the newborn favours one breast over the other while breastfeeding. While this child may not have any overt symptoms such as being colicky, it is wise to ensure this child has his or her spine checked from a preventative standpoint to correct any underlying problem that may arise in the future.

3. Reflux

Reflux among newborns is not uncommon, but consistent and constant reflux should be addressed because the underlying problem may be due to a spinal misalignment. A spinal misalignment may cause dysfunction of the esophageal muscles leading to reflux and in more serious cases GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Some signs and symptoms of GERD include interrupted sleep, excessive gas, vomiting, excessive crying, and difficulty breastfeeding. In a recent case study, the authors conclude: “pediatric patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorder such as GERD may benefit from clinical adjustments to sites of vertebral subluxations.”(4)

As a father of two beautiful girls, who both got their first chiropractic adjustments within hours of being born, the spinal health of infants and children is particularly close to my heart. While these are just 3 visible signs your baby needs to get checked by a chiropractor trained in pediatric techniques, I can’t stress enough that ALL babies will benefit from getting checked.

Contact The Healthy Family Chiropractic at 905-864-1516 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like more information on chiropractic for children or if you would like to find a pediatric chiropractor in your area.

REFERENCES:

1. The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of infantile colic: A randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer. Wiberg, Jesper M.M. et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics , Volume 22 , Issue 8 , 517 - 522.

2. Infantile- colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases. Klougart N1, Nilsson NJacobsen J.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989 Aug;12(4):281-8.

3. Efficacy of Chiropractic Manual Therapy on Infant Colic: A Pragmatic Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial. Miller, Joyce E. et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics , Volume 35 , Issue 8 , 600 - 607.

4. Chiropractic care of a pediatric patient with symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, fuss-cry-irritability with sleep disorder syndrome and irritable infant syndrome of musculoskeletal origin. Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC1 and Renata Anderson, DC. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2008 Dec; 52(4): 248–255.

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