One of the many joys of being a Chiropractor, is seeing a child that has either emotional or physical issues that resolve with Chiropractic adjustments. There is no better feeling than to have a parent that is totally frustrated by their fussy baby and after adjusting the baby's spine, the child has a better temperament and the parent is finally able to enjoy their child. This is a very common issue that many parent's face and they just think they have to "deal" with their grumpy baby.
In this series of posts, I am going to go through each age bracket that I see at my clinic on a daily basis. Every child needs to have their spine examined during various stages in their life. This series of posts will identify each age bracket and the reason that we want to examine a child's spine during these developmental stages.
Birth - 3 months
The very first time you should take your baby to a Pediatric Chiropractor is right after birth. After every delivery, your midwife or OB will check the baby's heart, lungs, reflexes, abdomen, etc. Nowhere in their exam of your child, do they check the movement of the baby's spine (Chiropractors refer to restrictions in the movement of the spine as subluxations). Just imagine, you are going down a slide. Instead of the slide having a large diameter, imagine that the slide is only a few inches away from your body on every side and you have to squirm and squeeze your way down to the bottom. Not a very pleasant ride, is it? Now, imagine before you got on that slide, you were trapped in a small box for 10 months without anyway to stretch out your limbs or neck. That is pretty much what a baby deals with during their development in the uterus and the subsequent journey down the birth canal. This is why, EVERY baby should have a spinal examination after delivery.
Spinal restrictions in a baby can lead to a multitude of symptoms. Restrictions in the neck can lead to the baby favoring breastfeeding on one breast. Restrictions in the lower back and pelvis can result in constipation, fussiness sitting in a car seat and colic. Restrictions in the upper back can result in spitting-up or acid reflux. These symptoms are extremely common and many parents don't even know that Chiropractic adjustments can help. Many will, unfortunately, put their baby on medications. Chiropractic is a medication-free approach to health with no side effects.
Chiropractic adjustments on a newborn are EXTREMELY gentle. We do NOT apply high force or do any type of thrust to the baby's spine. Adjustments to a newborn is just very gentle pressure to get the spinal segments to move. To the untrained eye, the adjustments will look a lot like a gentle massage. Your Chiropractor will give you some homework to do at home to help your baby's spine stay movable. This homework could be showing you how to do light massage to various areas of your baby's back or movement exercises to keep the child's back mobile.
Not every Chiropractor has the same training to evaluate and adjust newborns. You will want to search for a Pediatric Chiropractor on the International Chiropractic Pediatric Associations website (www.ICPA4kids.org).