1. Why would my Baby or Child need Chiropractic Care?
The trauma of birth whether it is a vaginal delivery, caesarean or assisted delivery (forceps, vacuum extraction) for most people will be the greatest trauma they will ever encounter. Research has estimated that 73% of babies may suffer with musculoskeletal injuries following birth. Musculoskeletal injuries may lead to irritability and excessive crying (4). Falls off the change table, bed, couch or when learning to walk may also cause spinal misalignments (subluxations).
Dr H Biedermann, a Medical Doctor from Belgium has been advocating the importance of spinal examinations for the newborn for over 40 years. “Birth trauma remains an underpublicised and, therefore, an undertreated problem. Manual treatment of birth trauma injuries to the neuromusculoskeletal system could be beneficial to many patients not now receiving such treatment, and it is well within the means of current practice in chiropractic …”(2).
2. How does the Doctor of Chiropractic help?
Chiropractors, through a procedure called an adjustment, helps restore misaligned vertebrae(caused by birth, fall, trauma etc) to a more normal movement. This allows optimal functioning of the spine, muscles and underlying nervous system.
With musculoskeletal problems removed from the body, babies can breastfeed and move freely without pain or stiffness. They often become more happy, may feed and sleep better.
Children often are more settled, calmer and sleep better as musculoskeletal discomfort is removed following chiropractic care.
3. Is Chiropractic treatment different for Babies/Children than for Adults?
Yes chiropractic treatment is different for babies and children. The techniques are varied to suit their spines. A baby’s spine is very supple during the first few months of life, so the doctor of chiropractic applies only a slight pressure to make an adjustment. For children techniques are low force and high velocity (fast) with low amplitude (depth).
4. Is Chiropractic appropriate for Babies and Children?
Yes. Chiropractic’s drugless and preventive approach to good health makes it perfectly appropriate for infants, children, and teenagers. Chiropractic is licensed in all 50 states of the U.S. for the care of children of all ages.
5. Is Chiropractic safe for a Baby or Child?
Yes. Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of children’s health care. Recent research studies have shown chiropractic to be both extremely safe and effective (3).
“There is no evidence in any way or form that chiropractors cause any damage to a child’s spine, and there’s no recording in a medical journal of an adverse finding against a chiropractor in over 20 years” (4).
In fact the amount of babies and children being seen by a chiropractor has sored over the past few years. This is due to the benefits in sleep, behaviour and health (less colds or illness) parents have noted by taking their babies and children for chiropractic care (4).
5. When should I take my Baby or Child to a Chiropractor?
As soon as possible. The sooner your baby or child can be checked and treated, the sooner the spinal misalignment (subluxation) can be corrected, allowing the body to function optimally. Spinal misalignments generally do not correct themselves, and because most occur at birth, the brain and body interprets these as normal and compensates around them (like a bent tree grows crooked). The earlier spinal misalignments can be detected and treated, the fewer treatment sessions will be required.
6. How often will my Baby need to see the Chiropractor?
This is unique to each baby and depends on the type of birth and the age of the baby. The more traumatic the birth (long labour, use of forceps or vacuum extraction) and the longer the baby has had the problem , the longer it will take to correct.
(1) Joyce, M.,Fontana, M., Jernlas, K.,Olofsson, H & Verwijst. I. 2013. Risks and rewards of early musculoskeletal assessment. Journal of Health Visiting. Vol 1: Issue 10: 590-596
(2) Biedermann, H. “Manual therapy in the newborn and infants”.The Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine, no.1 17 1995 Pages: 2-9
(3)Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC, Jeanne Ohm, DC, and Derek Kunz, BS, THE SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PEDIATRIC CHIROPRACTIC: A SURVEY OF CHIROPRACTORS AND PARENTS IN A PRACTICE-BASED RESEARCH NETWORK. Explore 2009; 5:290-295.