Chiropractic for Babies
Very often the way that baby is lying in mommy’s tummy can affect the alignment of the baby’s spine. If the head is squashed up against the wall of the uterus or the pelvis or if there are space constraints such as breech positions, multiple babies or big baby-small mommy, it can restrict the ability of the baby to move while in-utero. This could result in the baby’s joints being jammed or displaced. Once baby is born, displaced vertebrae in the neck can be easily noticed as baby will tend to have a ‘favourite side’ that they will always turn their head to.
The other time that baby’s spine is put at risk for becoming displaced is during the birth process as illustrated by the following table:
Natural Birth vs Cesarean Birth
How baby responds
A Chiropractor’s primary concern is the optimal functioning of the spine and nervous system. A pair of spinal nerves, coming off the spinal cord, exits between each vertebra. These nerves supply and influence every organ, tissue and cell in the body. Any displacement can cause the spinal nerve that exits at that vertebra to become irritated or compressed.
In babies the following symptoms could be seen as a result of nerve irritation:
- Head favouring to one side
- Asymmetric head position
- Irritable bowel – Cramps, winds, reflux
- Colic – late afternoon crying or niggling
- Excessive arching (up till 6 months)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Recurring ear infections
- Not rolling, crawling or walking properly
What to expect at your first chiropractic consultation.
- A comprehensive history will be taken regarding your pregnancy, the brith of the baby and baby’s post-natal behaviour and symptoms.
- A basic neurological examination will be done to assess the reflexes relevant to baby’s age.
- An orthopaedic examination to check the movement of all extremity joints (hips to feet, shoulders to hands).
- Chiropractic motion palpation – this is the technique we use to feel for any restrictions in the movement of the spinal joints.
- Advice on appropriate exercises for baby’s condition, how to overcome over-active reflexes and to assist in encouraging movement to achieve the age appropriate developmental milestone that baby should be working toward.
- Advice on nutrition and remedies.
- The chiropractic adjustment – these are the specific and gentle techniques that we use to help relax ‘stiff’ joints and correct the quality and range of movement of restricted joints. Once the joint has been released it will free up any nerve irritations and improve the flow of the neural pathways.
Depending on the age of the child and the degree of restriction it can typically take 3-6 treatment sessions over a
2 week period to clear up this restriction.