Finding a baby chiropractor is a big decision. Some may wonder if chiropractic care for newborns is safe and have concerns over possible complications or injury to their new bundle of joy. While some new parents swear by it, others are doubtful. Why does a little person that's only been around for a few months need a chiropractor? Well, because being born is hard work!
When performed by a chiropractor who is familiar with the needs of newborns and infants, the practice is perfectly safe and can help your baby's health in many ways.
It is crucial that you find a doctor you are comfortable with, who will discuss a treatment plan to address your baby's unique needs.
Newborn Fast Facts
An estimated 60 to 90 pounds of force is applied to a baby's neck during a natural vaginal birth. This means that even the safest, smoothest deliveries can potentially misalign a baby's spine. In fact, in a study of 1,250 infants, 95% had cervical strain from the birthing process. A baby chiropractor can assess the strain on the spine and whether or not it requires corrective treatment.
Another recent study demonstrated that 90% of newborns suffered the effects of birth trauma, including strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth. Over an eight year period, 1,500 babies were studied within the first five days of birth. The results found that approximately:
- Only 10% of the newborns had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms.
- Meanwhile, 10% had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers.
- 80% had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism.
When left uncorrected, this trauma can greatly impact the baby's spinal growth and development, as well as their temperament, ease of sleeping and feeding, and immune health.
Add to this the many common ailments newborns face, such as digestive issues, improper sleep patterns, and an under developed immune system and you can see why a baby chiropractor may be necessary. Even if your newborn did not sustain injury or spinal strain during the birthing process, there are many common symptoms in infants that a baby chiropractors can help alleviate.
Is Baby Chiropractic Safe?
The first question many parents have is whether or not chiropractic care is safe for babies. After all, they are so small and so delicate. Every parent wants to ensure their infant is well cared for and never in a dangerous situation. It's a natural question that is entirely justified.
The answer is that yes, baby chiropractors can safely treat your infant.
When you think of chiropractic adjustments, cracking noises and abrupt twists and movements often come to mind. A baby chiropractor does not perform the same adjustments on an infant as they do on adults.
Chiropractic care for babies consists of a treatment method known as gentle chiropractic, which does not involve twisting of the spine or neck. Instead, it uses slow, gentle, easy motions, often similar to massage, to ease the spine back into the correct posture.
Adjustments for an infant will never be rough, and your baby most likely will not notice that they are undergoing care at all. Keep reading to learn more about how doctors perform gentle chiropractic treatment on infants. Sometimes, they don't use their hands at all.
Benefits of Seeing a Baby Chiropractor
One of the major spinal misalignment present within newborns and babies is with the Atlas Vertebra. The Atlas is a small bone located at the top of the cervical spine. Unlike other vertebrae in the neck, the Atlas is shaped more like a ring. It connects to the occipital bone to support the base of the skull, and roughly 50% of the head’s forward and backward range of motion occurs at this point.
Following birth, the trauma inflicted to the neck and cranium can cause the Atlas to slip out of alignment. Oftentimes when this occurs, the baby will only be able to turn his or her head one way, making it difficult to latch on one side compared to the other. Plus, when the neurological connection between the Atlas and jaw is interrupted due to misalignment, the baby will have further difficulty operating the jaw to feed.
Minor adjustments performed by a baby chiropractor can help to realign the Atlas, allowing the baby to feed and latch with ease.
All babies spit up. But, some babies do so much more frequently than others. The answer here can also lie within misalignments that a baby chiropractor can address. The reason some babies spit up more than others is because the diaphragm attaches to an area of the spine that is highly transitional, and is often restricted during birth.
When this happens, the diaphragm can become more restricted in its normal movements, which in turn affects the esophagus that passes through the stomach. Put simply, if baby's esophagus is constricted by the diaphragm, it will have a much harder time holding down food - resulting in constant spit ups.
By freeing up that restriction, the baby will have a much easier time eating - and keeping it down.
Frequently spitting up food is not just inconvenient for parents, but can be painful and troublesome for a baby. As they regurgitate food, stomach acid irritates the lining of the infant's throat. They may also have a more persistent feeling of hunger.
A baby chiropractor will look for signs that your baby's diaphragm is restricted and develop a plan to realign the spine to promote better eating habits. As a result, your infant may experience fewer digestive problems and less stomach pain.
While we like to think that babies are fussy for no reason (which can definitely happen), typically babies who cry through the night and experience trouble sleeping aren't just fussy. They're uncomfortable. The same way that adults can feel insomnia-inducing discomfort when something in our spine is out of alignment, physical discomfort in babies can be caused by spinal misalignments as well.
By performing an adjustment, a baby chiropractor can relieve that additional stress from a baby's back and neck, allowing them to rest peacefully.
The same way adults feel knots, sore spots, and tightness in the back and neck that causes us to toss and turn, babies do as well. Since they cannot vocalize their pain and let us know what they are feeling, you may assume that their crying throughout the night is a result of hunger, wanting to be held, or part of their normal routine.
However, if your baby has ongoing issues with sleep despite a regular feeding schedule and no other signs of discomfort, have a baby chiropractor evaluate your infant to look for back and neck issues. It can lead to a more comfortable night for both baby and parents.
Improving Digestive and Immune Health
Aside from eating and sleeping, babies often face a plethora of other struggles during their first few months of life. Chiropractic can improve digestive and immune health necessary to eliminate the re-occurrence of issues such as:
- Chronic ear infections and ear aches
- Colic and acid reflux
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty recovering from illness
- Asthma and allergies
Specialized Adjustments for Babies
At ChiroCare of Florida, we understand that even as an adult, your first trip to the chiropractor can be intimidating. When you're unsure of what to expect, it's very understandable to experience a bit of nervousness. Therefore, we completely understand when parents seem a bit unsure about allowing their baby to achieve chiropractic care for the first time.
However, we must emphasize that baby chiropractic care is 100% gentle, non-invasive, and safe. Plus, it differs greatly from the chiropractic care an adult would receive.
Similar to adults, babies can benefit greatly from chiropractic care. However, the same adjustments that are being performed on your adult body are nothing like the treatment babies receive. Often a chiropractor will use solely his or her fingers to delicately and gently feel for misalignments and softly correct them.
Aside from manual adjustments, a baby chiropractor will sometimes also use an assisted manual technique. This means that he or she will use a specialized device to very softly massage and realign the area that is experiencing a subluxation. Likewise, a chiropractor may use a technique called ultrasound therapy. Unlike when the baby was still in the womb, ultrasound technology used outside of the womb is meant to provide a warming, soothing effect that can calm tight muscles, alleviate discomfort, and help healing at the cellular level - ensuring your little ones grow big and strong!
What to Do If Your Baby Cries During Treatment
It is common for babies to cry in new and unfamiliar situations. Seeing a baby chiropractor is likely not something they have done before and they may begin to cry, just as at the pediatricians office. It is not uncommon.
Many parents fear that their baby will begin to cry during treatment and that it is a sign of pain, or that it means something is wrong. Typically, crying is the result of fear and unfamiliarity and not pain. A baby chiropractor is extensively trained to treat infants and will quickly notice if something is wrong. If they feel an area on your baby's back or neck that is misaligned and may be painful they will thoroughly evaluate your infant to determine the best course of treatment to avoid and solve the pain your baby is experiencing.
As when your infant is at the pediatrician's office, try to avoid interfering in treatment or taking your baby away from the doctor. We understand your concern and appreciate the anxiety that new parents often face. Your baby is in trusted hands at ChiroCare of Florida.
Chiropractic Care for Your Little Ones
Trend or taboo? While chiropractic for your newborn might be intimidating at first if you're new to the practice, thousands of new parents have trusted chiropractors with the health and happiness of their babies. Bear in mind that with birth, comes pressure and stress upon the baby. Chiropractic is an all-natural approach to helping them start life with total wellness.