Infant Chiropractic Care
Assessment & Gentle Treatment for Newborns and Babies
Why do babies need chiropractic?
When you consider the birth process, it’s not hard to see why babies may be a little kinked or tight from the delivery. The most common injuries are musculoskeletal in origin, and are mild to moderate in nature. The joints are open, the ligaments are lax, and the head and neck are disproportionately sized. Even a normal birth induces excess rotation and lateral flexion.
Birth injuries as well as suboptimal in-utero positioning put newborns at risk for various conditions, including postural asymmetries- such as preferred head positions and torticollis- which can lead to positional plagiocephaly (flat head), colic, excessive crying syndromes, and difficulties with breastfeeding.
Infant chiropractic, when performed by a skilled,experienced chiropractor with specialized training in the care of infants is very safe. It is very gentle and there is no quick thrusting involved. We use a combination of mobilizing, touch and hold adjustments and massage techniques intreating newborns.
The most commonly noted side effect noticed by parents is improved sleep following a chiropractic appointment.
We all know of the many benefits of breastfeeding for our babies. In addition to providing the ideal nutrition, it also reduces the risk of otitis media, atopic dermatitis, gastroenteritis, lower RTI, asthma, SIDS,leukemia, diabetes, RA, and obesity (decreases by 4 % per month). It also improves cognitive function.
But, it’s not always easy! What’s involved in breastfeeding for the baby? The newborn uses 6 cranial nerves and 60 voluntary and involuntary muscles connecting across 22 bones, inorder to suck, swallow and breathe while breastfeeding! So, there’s a lot involved for a baby in learning how to breastfeed effectively. Now add to all of this, the birth process! Mechanical forces on the skull, neck and jaw during birth can disrupt normal nerve and joint function.
Specialized chiropractic treatment is used to reduce the tension in the neck, back and jaw, which allows the baby to latch more effectively and efficiently. This makes breastfeeding more comfortable for both Mom and baby.
Positional plagiocephaly is an abnormally flat spot on the baby’s head. This can happen due to abnormal in-utero positioning, as well as forces on the neck at birth which lead to the baby having a preferred head position, and subsequent avoidance of positioning the head equally on both sides.
Chiropractic care helps to restore normal movement in the neck, which allows the baby to turn his head equally to both sides. By removing the consistent pressure on the flat spot of the head, it will typically round back out on its own. It is best to start with chiropractic care as soon as possible for this concern, as it is easiest to make corrections early.
Torticollis is an abnormal head position in which the babytips their head to one side, and turns their head to the other side. This can happen due to baby’s in-utero position, or due to a difficult delivery. Chiropractic care focuses on stretching and massaging the tight muscles as well as adjusting the affected joints. Uncorrected torticollis can lead to a flathead, as well as difficulties with breastfeeding.
Colic is defined as more than 3 hours of crying per day, more than 3 days per week for more than 3 weeks. The crying tends to be very intense, often to the point of screaming,and is commonly worse in the evening hours. Colicky babies are often inconsolable and do not want to be put down.
Sadly, only 25% of babies actually stop crying at 3 months.
Chiropractic care is extremely effective in reducing or eliminating colic altogether. The chiropractic approach to colic is multifactorial. We look to find the source of the discomfort, and then the approach is customized for the baby’s needs. We’ll look at a variety of factors including diet, latch and breastfeeding habits, and of course musculoskeletal issues which can cause pain as well as issues with the nervous system.
Most children who have had chiropractic care sleep more deeply and more restfully after treatment. We believe this is because chiropractic care makes their bodies feel better, and helps to relax the nervous system. A retrospective review of 2 different studies showed that the most common side effect of chiropractic care of the young child was improved sleep patterns, including less time to fall asleep, deeper sleep and less frequent waking, less disrupted sleep and decreased restlessness. This Was the case whether or not the patient presented for sleep difficulties.
Here are some videos demonstrating what care looks like: