It is a common misconception that as a chiropractor I only can help those people with bad backs. When it is suggested to my patients that they bring their babies and infants to be checked I often get very strange looks. I know exactly what's going through their heads "Is it safe? How could a baby possibly have back pain? You cannot adjust my baby like you do me?" Of course these are perfectly legitimate concerns and worries and I hope to address some of these questions.
Firstly and possibly the most obvious question, why on earth would you take a baby to a chiropractor? Well being born is hard work, and even with a normal delivery there are a lot of stresses and forces put through the body of a tiny baby. In the case of more complicated deliveries the forces used with instrumentation and those applied in c-sections must also be taken into consideration.
Abraham Tobin, MD, Ph.D., a pathologist, in Harvard University did some research on birth trauma and came to some interesting conclusions about the effects of being born.
"... severe spinal stress occurs, as in the case of most of us, a child can linger for many years before malfunction and disease occur and death results at an early age. How ever if the damage is in the form of the usual spinal stress we can exist for a number of years apparently well but with so called "take it for granted" problems... The real cause of our demise is not the disease, nor the drugs or surgeries, but the spinal stress that happened at birth. This is what robs us of our innate potential for a long, healthy life."
Really what this boils down to is that this stress and pressure can cause restrictions in the spine and skull. These restrictions can prevent the brain from sending its message effectively down the spinal cord and out the nerves to the organs, glands, tissues and cells of the body. In babies and young children this can result in issues such as reflux, silent reflux, colic, ear infections, fussy feeding (particularly in breast feed babies only latching on on one side or failing to suckle correctly resulting in mastitis and other similar problems for poor Mammy), ADHD, digestive problems, and possibly asthma.
So is chiropractic care safe for my baby? Absolutely. Adverse events linked to paediatric chiropractic care are extremely rare, with 6 incidences reported during a 59-year period with up to 30 million treatments estimated per year. When I adjust a baby I only use the amount of pressure that you would use if you were comfortably pushing on your eye.