Taking your newborn to the chiropractor has become a bit taboo. 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!
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.
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 sleeping and feeding, and immune health.
Benefits of Baby Chiropractic
One of the major misalignments 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 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. This 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.
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 chiropractor can relieve that additional stress from a baby's back and neck, allowing them to rest peacefully.
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 reccurrence 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 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!
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.