The birth process, even under natural and controlled conditions, is potentially traumatic. During the pushing stage of labor, the spine, particularly the neck, may be injured as the baby is compressed and pushed down the birth canal. The baby also after is pulled at the end of delivery and if interventions are used to help deliver, there can be additional strain or stretch on these delicate joints and nerves. This may cause the nerves to become stretched or irritated, and the vital communication system is disrupted. Damage may be more severe in a difficult delivery, as noted by Doris Haire, C.N.M..(3) Brewer and Presser report that the vertebrae can be pulled out of alignment by excessive and forceful extension of the infant’s head with forceps.(1)
This neurological disturbance is called a subluxation, and it is caused when joints are not moving properly therefore interfering with the nerve signal. As a result, one or more parts of the body may not be working at an optimal level. In babies, we may see this as a preference to nurse on one side or an inability to fully latch properly and in more significant challenges we see “torticolis” or twisting of the infants neck.
A Doctor of Chiropractic specializes in the detection and correction of subluxations. Instead of treating the just the symptoms, a chiropractor corrects the subluxation so that normal body functions may take place.
Checking Your Child
Symptoms of uncorrected upper cervical dysfunction (subluxations) may be expressed in a number of expressions. Babies cannot tell us where they may be in pain or experiencing issues, but some symptoms and behaviours are indicators that an examination would be the right first step to determine underlying subluxations.
Infants who are properly diagnosed for subluxations have a better chance of having the neurological defects ultimately eliminated (5) and may have a positive impact on many symptoms or complaints.
Although birth subluxations may cause immediate symptoms, there may be far-reaching effects that are manifested for years. The child’s ability to properly move or reach developmental milestones like sitting, crawling or lifting his/her head may be delayed or difficult. More frequent colds, susceptibility to recurrent ear infections, colic symptoms, and other expressions may result due to pain or altered near-biomechanical functions. (2,4,5,6)
When should your your infant be checked for subluxations?
Newborn infants can benefit from being checked within hours after birth by your chiropractor. Knowing if subluxation is present can help your determine the best next steps for improving the health of your child.
Ideally, your child should be checked regularly by a chiropractor to ensure the best opportunity to grow and develop normally as childhood falls, bumps, growth changes and other activities impact their movement, posture and function. Regular checks can help keep little issues from becoming chronic patterns.
Is Chiropractic Safe ?
The chiropractic approach to health care is natural and customized to patient size, age and needs. An infant, a 50 year old male and a 90 year old female do not receive the identical treatment method but the purpose and outcome is the same – better function. The chiropractor addresses the important relationship between the spine, nerve system and proper communication and coordination of all body processes gently and carefully with many years of training and experience. Various symptoms in children, such as colic, recurrent earaches, headaches, inability to crawl properly, poor gait or coordination and other symptoms may be manifested in some young children and babies due to abnormal body function caused by subluxations.(4,6,7)
Your chiropractor is part of your child’s health care team in building greater wellness both now and for the future.
- Brewer, G., Greene, J.: Right from the Start. Emmaus Pa., Rodar, 1981
- Fibelibus, J.: An Overview of Neuroimmunomodulation and a Possible Correlation with Musculoskeletal System Function, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, August 1989
- Haire, Doris: The Cultural Warping of Childbirth. Milwaukee ICEA 1972
- Kunert, W.: Functional Disorders of Internal Organs due to Vertebral Lesions. CIBA Symposium 13 (3): 85-86, 1965.
- Peet, J.B.: Chiropractic Pediatric and Prenatal Reference Manual. The Baby Adjusters, Inc. 1992.
- Walton, E.V. : Chiropractic Effectiveness with Emotional Learning and Behavioral Impairments, International Review of Chiropractic; 29:2-2,21-22,September, 1975.
- Winsor, H., M.D.: Sympathetic Segmental Disturbances- 11; The Evidence of the Association in Dissected Cadavers of Visceral Disease with Vertebrae Deformities of the Same Sympathetic Segments, Medical times; 49:1-7, November 1921.