Chiropractic Care For Babies
Chiropractic care is recommended for everyone. Yes, everyone including babies can benefit from Chiropractic care. In this article, we will discuss some of the common conditions for which parents bring their babies to a Chiropractor.
It is not always easy for parents or even doctors to identify the exact problems that might be causing babies to become fussy and irritable. Numerous research studies have demonstrated that Chiropractic treatment is effective in reducing fussiness. This could be the result of biomechanical stress on your baby’s spine. These misalignments can lead to physical discomfort, increased nerve irritability, sleeping difficulties and crying. This might explain why parents often notice a marked difference after a few Chiropractic sessions, with reportedly high levels of satisfaction for the care they receive.
Prolonged and frequent crying could be a sign that your baby is suffering from colic, which is discomfort in the abdominal area, usually as a result of entrapped gas causing bloating. In many cases, colic can begin as early as three to six weeks old. While little is known about the exact cause of colic, infantile colic is thought to be linked to an immature or underactive gastrointestinal system. This is fairly common, affecting 10 to 40 percent of infants worldwide.
An underdeveloped digestive system might not be able to cope with the gas build up, which is a natural consequence of food digestion, leaving the gas trapped in the gut system to cause bloating and pain in the abdomen. Because colic can cause the baby a lot of distress, it often leads to a fussy and crying baby. You might also notice the baby trying to raise its legs up or moving around in a cycling pattern in an effort to mimic intestinal motion to expel gas.
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Many pediatricians describe it as an issue that should settle with time, typically by six months of age. However, Chiropractic care has been shown to reduce the symptoms for almost all pediatric cases. With gentle manipulation, the Chiropractor can help to stimulate nerve flow to the muscles of the small intestine and facilitate the natural peristaltic cholinergic activity of the gut, so as to aid the movement of gas and fluid. A Chiropractic adjustment can go a long way in allowing the body to perform its functions properly, thus helping the baby digest and process food without too much fuss.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (Reflux)
Parents know that it is very common for infants to spit up after a meal. This is usually nothing of major concern since the lower esophageal sphincter muscle is yet to be fully developed in order to prevent the regurgitation of stomach contents back up the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux becomes a problem when it persists beyond 12 to 14 months. Symptoms such as coughing and gagging are serious if it affects the baby’s ability to feed properly, which can lead to poor weight gain or even weight loss. Prescription medications like H2 receptor blockers can help reduce the symptoms, but several studies have shown better success with Chiropractic care, especially since nerve interference is one of the many root causes of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Relieving pressure on the spine through Chiropractic adjustments can ease the pain and address the issue.
Torticollis, sometimes termed wryneck, is a common reason for parents to bring their infants to a Chiropractic office. Muscle spasms causing a stiff neck can make it difficult for the baby to get into a comfortable position for breastfeeding, leading to issues with nursing. Irritation of the central nervous system can prevent the muscles of the tongue and throat from functioning properly, and cause movement restrictions in the jaw, neck and shoulders.
Breastfeeding and latching difficulties
Every baby is born with an instinctive ability to suck. If your baby has trouble with latching on properly during feeds, it could be due to a nursing dysfunction with the suck-swallow reflex. Irritation of the central nervous system can prevent the muscles of the tongue and throat from functioning properly, and cause movement restrictions in the jaw, neck and shoulders. There could be similarities to torticollis, which is another common reason for parents to bring their infants to a Chiropractic office. A stiff neck can make it difficult for the baby to get into a comfortable position for breastfeeding, leading to issues with nursing. If a baby has problems latching, there are normally very high rates of breastfeeding failure.
Chiropractic care can help babies to overcome these difficulties. One research study found that approximately 80 percent of babies were able to be exclusively breastfed after just four Chiropractic treatments. Appropriate Chiropractic adjustments can improve your baby’s ability to latch, which would greatly decrease the stress for both mother and child.
Another common problem among infants is ear infection due to fluid buildup in the eustachian tubes. When the tube fails to drain, fluid gets built up in the middle ear cavity, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Infants and younger children are more prone because of their developing eustachian tube, which allows more bacteria to enter the middle ear where these infections typically occur. The resultant inflammation creates excessive pressure in the ear, causing pain and discomfort to the infant. While some ear infections clear up on their own, others may require medical treatment with antibiotics. Chiropractic can resolve the issue of fluid buildup in the eustachian tubes. If the muscles surrounding the eustachian tubes are in spasm, that can restrict the tube openings and prevent the fluid from draining properly. Gentle Chiropractic manipulations can help to dilate the muscles around the eustachian tube, thus unblocking it and relieving the pressure. The goal of the Chiropractic adjustment is to assist in the drainage of the middle ear, so as to decrease the occurrence of ear infections and prevent future episodes.
While Chiropractic adjustments are useful in treating specific conditions, there can be many benefits to your child’s overall health. The practice of Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between spinal structure and nervous system function. The purpose of Chiropractic is not just for short-term pain relief, but also the preservation and restoration of long-term health by spinal adjustments and other natural means to stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal via the nervous system. In general, Chiropractic care can be beneficial for the growing and developing bodies of babies and children. Most of the focus that Chiropractors have with children tends to be on wellness care, ensuring a properly functioning nervous system as they grow, which is crucial to achieving optimal health.
Apart from proper nutrition and rest, the immune system is reliant on a healthy spine. The spinal cord is the main relay system for the nervous system. Thus, any misalignment in the spine can cause the nerve pathways to become irritated. An issue with the nerves can cause other parts of the body to malfunction. Hence, studies suggest that Chiropractic care leads to improved body function and stronger immune system in both adults and infants, allowing for better protection against pathogens and allergens.
Chiropractic care for children often begins in infancy as the birthing process can be traumatic on a baby’s spine. A baby is born with a C-shaped primary spinal curve which becomes the sacral and thoracic kyphosis. During the first year of development, the spine doubles in length while the secondary curves form. The cervical lordosis is formed when the infant starts to lift and support the head on his or her own. Later on, the lower back curvature forms when the infant is learning to assume an upright position, sitting without external support. These important milestones occur over a short but significant period of time.
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However, a problem can arise without proper alignment of the spine. In case there is any misalignment in the spine, there is a chance that the child’s skeletal structure may not develop properly, which could negatively impact the baby’s physical development. Gentle Chiropractic adjustments look to address imbalances in spinal symmetry, improving the child’s overall posture during this important period of growth and development. Therefore, early Chiropractic care is an effective way to prevent scoliosis.
Risk of injury
It is one of the greatest experiences in life to watch your child learn to crawl, stand, and eventually walk on their own. During this process of trial and error, it is inevitable that your child will fall, but they will get up and try again. What we can do is to minimise the risk of injuries and address seemingly minor and insignificant misalignments in order to prevent them from turning into a more serious condition as the child ages.
A superficial injury is easier to see and treat, but children are generally not good communicators about their pain and it is much more difficult to expect them to realise that they might have a significant discomfort that is not normal. This is where Chiropractic care can help to promote a healthy future for your child. A registered Chiropractor is trained to assess for conditions of the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems. Early treatment and prevention via regular Chiropractic care is a great way to avoid long-standing problems. If you notice any difference in the way your child is walking or moving, a session with a Chiropractor can be useful.
Throughout infancy and childhood, there are numerous events such as birth trauma, falls while learning how to walk, simple knocks from outdoor play or sports, and studying for long periods of time. All of the above may affect your child’s growth. It is much easier to correct any misalignments and postural abnormalities in a growing child compared to an adult. Because children’s bodies are still developing, it is typically quicker and easier to see noticeable changes whereas considerably more time is needed for an adult with similar complaints. The regular application of safe and gentle pediatric Chiropractic adjustments can have a huge impact on a child’s life for the better.
Chiropractic care is safe and gentle for babies
One of the top priorities of parenthood is to make sure that your child grows up happy and healthy. If you are not familiar with how a Chiropractor treats infants, you might imagine it as a similar experience to adult treatments, with a lot of “cracking” and “popping”. Hence, it is understandable that you may be hesitant about seeking the help of a Chiropractor for your newborn baby.
However, that could not be further from the truth. It is important to clarify that Chiropractic care for babies is gentle and different to the adjustments commonly performed on adults. The approach and techniques that Chiropractors use differ greatly for infants and young children. Because the bodies of young children tend to be more responsive to Chiropractic treatment, Chiropractors only need to apply gentle pressure when treating babies, often likened to the pressure you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato. Not only is Chiropractic care safe for your baby, studies have also shown that Chiropractic care can be beneficial for the growing and developing bodies of babies and children. Regular pediatric Chiropractic adjustments can often make a huge difference in promoting the overall health of your baby.
Another frequently asked question is whether the baby will cry during a Chiropractic treatment. It is never easy to watch your child cry, thus this can be a genuine consideration for many parents. Whether your baby cries depends on various factors such as the skill and experience of the practitioner, personality of the baby, their mood at that point in time, usually related to fatigue and hunger levels. Some babies are friendly with strangers, whereas others might be less receptive to being touched by an unknown person.
If there are misalignments in the baby’s spine, those areas might be hypersensitive and there could be mild discomfort when the baby is being examined. Although it might be discomforting for infants to be held in a position they are not familiar with, rest assured that Chiropractic adjustments for babies are typically very gentle and not painful. In fact, research evidence suggested that crying is reduced by treatment with manipulative therapies.
Most of the focus that Chiropractors have with children tends to be on wellness care, ensuring a properly functioning nervous system as they grow, which is crucial to achieving optimal health.
Our Australian trained and registered Chiropractors at Kissun Chiropractic have babies of their own, and are experienced in treating babies and children. Contact us at +65 62432191 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book your consultation today.
Kissun Chiropractic is a trusted and leading Chiropractic clinic in Singapore offering affordable and effective treatments for all ages in the community. Our team of Chiropractors are Australian trained and registered, and experienced in treating neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as headaches, neck, shoulder and backaches, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, sciatica, pregnancy aches and pains, sports injuries, performing ergonomic assessments and postural checks. Patients’ conditions are managed through natural, safe, non-invasive, drug and surgery free treatments, relying on the bodies’ inherent recuperative functions. Treatments are customised to patients’ specific needs and preferences.
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Ernst E. Chiropractic for children. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1161. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-2620. PMID: 18978003.
Chiropractic care for children: Controversies and issues. (2002). Paediatrics & child health, 7(2), 85–104. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/7.2.85
Lee AC, Li DH, Kemper KJ. Chiropractic Care for Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154(4):401–407. doi:10.1001/archpedi.154.4.401