More and more women are seeking chiropractic care during their pregnancy to assist with the physical changes that occur pre- and post-pregnancy. However, not as much attention is paid to the dramatic and sometimes lasting developmental effects the birth process can have on the baby. Dr. Annie and Dr. Rachel of Rise Wellness Chiropractic give us some great information on chiropractic care for babies:
Why Would a Baby Need a Chiropractor?
The number one reason we recommend chiropractic care for children is due to birth trauma. Birth trauma is one of the most overlooked causes of upper cervical misalignments in children. A misalignment of a vertebra, known as a subluxation, is what chiropractors look for and correct in the spine. A study in the 1980s by a German physician found that out of 1000 births, 80% had upper cervical misalignment with neurological impact.
Manual extraction when pulling the baby out during birth has been measured up to 60-90lbs of axial traction on the cervical spine, which can definitely lead to subluxations and affect the nervous system. Most people have heard of Erbs Palsy, which is caused by traction of the brachial plexus during the birth process and causes temporary (but sometimes permanent) paralysis of the arm muscles. If the birth process is strong enough to traction the brachial plexus, it’s strong enough to traction the spinal cord and brainstem, but typically no attention is paid to this area.
A subluxation in this area is going to affect how the brain processes information and relays that to the body. If these kids are developing without all of the sensory input they should have, their brain isn’t getting all of the information it needs to development higher brain activity, which can show up as behavioral and emotional challenges, or immune challenges later in life.
Why Is Sensory Input Important?
As children develop and grow they rely on sensory input from their environment. This input sends feedback to their developing brains. Interference in a child’s nervous system caused by a subluxation can impede the neural feedback, affecting the brain’s interpretation of the environment. When the subluxations are corrected through gentle, pediatric-specific chiropractic care, the child’s nervous system is better connected and can develop and grow free of interference.
What Does Chiropractic Care Of a Baby Look Like?
Adjustments for kids, and especially infants, are not what is typically associated with chiropractic care. There is no twisting or popping. Because of the small developing structures, chiropractors that are trained in working with children and infants understand how to cater their approach to the specific needs of the child. With infants, the adjustments are so gentle that we use no more pressure than you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato, but are very effective when applied specifically to the area of subluxation.
We recommend any newborn get checked for subluxation within the first two weeks after birth. Here are some signs that indicate your child might have a chronic subluxation pattern affecting their nervous system:
- Recurrent colds or ear infections
- Asthma or allergies
- Stomach or bowel issues
- Asymmetric crawling or walking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances or bed wetting
- Colic or reflux
- Clumsiness or incoordination
- Postural differences
- Growing pains or headaches
How to Find a Chiropractor For Your Child
When looking for a chiropractor for your baby or child, we recommend that you find one that has a specialization in pediatric chiropractic care or has done training through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). You can find an ICPA provider by clicking on this link to find resources in your community!