Chiropractic care for infants is surprisingly NOT a new concept! People have been taking their infants to chiropractors for 50+ years! Usually when we tell parents that we care for infants we get a lot of the same questions: Is it safe? Why would an infant need to be adjusted? And How do you know the infant needs to be adjusted?
Is it safe for infants to get adjusted?
Yes! An adjustment for an infant is very light and we use the same amount of pressure as it takes to comfortably push on your eye. The infant gets checked by hand and with technology, then is placed in a pillow or in mommy’s lap and gentle pressure is applied. It’s simple, safe, and effective. The American Chiropractic Association has done research on the safety of infant and pediatric adjustments and it was found that only 1 in 250 million pediatric visits were linked to an adverse event. There is not a single medical procedure that is safer! Of course, we recommend you take your children to a pediatric trained chiropractor like the doctors we have here at Vitality.
Why would an infant need to be adjusted?
The birth process is usually where the first “subluxation” is noted in an infant. There are a lot of pressures and forces being exerted on the baby during the natural birth process. If the baby is not born by the natural birth process, via cesearean or if forceps of vaccum was used the baby is at a much higher risk for a birth trauma. Here is a list of things things that 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
A study completed by Viola Frymann found that 90 percent of newborns suffered the effects of birth trauma. This included strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth. Frymann, an American osteopathic doctor, studied more than 1,500 babies periodically across an eight-year period. She examined all babies within the first five days of birth; in fact, many were checked within the first 24 hours of birth. This study revealed that approximately:
10 percent of the infants had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers. 80 percent all had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism. And the remaining 10 percent of the newborn babies had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms.
ONLY 10% of babies don’t suffer some type of trauma through the birth process!!
These micro-traumas don’t show up as typical “neck and back pain” like we see with adults. Commonly when this occurs the infant will be fussy, gassy, have latching issues or constipation. If these issues are left uncorrected, this trauma continues to impact a baby’s spinal growth and development and will reduce the healthy function of their nerve system. This can cause many health challenges later in life that could easily have been prevented.
How do you know if the infant needs to be adjusted?
Here are some of the symptoms:
- reflux/frequent spitting up
- difficulty nursing (impaired sucking/swallowing or head positioning)
- balance issues
- sleeping difficulty
- delayed developmental milestones
Here are some things that you can look for at home that are clear indicators that your infant has a subluxation.
1. Uneven feeding on each breast – commonly mother will report nursing is painful on one side and not the other, the baby may seem unhappy when nursing from a single side or completely refuse to nurse on one side.
2. Your infant tilts their head to one side – You may notice this in pictures or when they are in their car seat that they always have their head tilted to one side. It may only be slight and sometimes hard to for the untrained eye to notice.
3. Head rotation – it is common parents will notice their infant is unable to turn their head to one side or the other and it may seem painful for the baby to use the range of motion in their neck.
Chiropractic care is focused solely on removing nerve dysfunction to improve brain-body communication so your new baby can grow, develop, and function at their highest potential. As wellness chiropractors, we focus on helping the nervous system stay in balance so your child will develop a healthy spine and nervous system from the very beginning!