Chiropractic for Babies & Colic
Some people are surprised when I talk about chiropractic care for babies. Some may even cringe at the thought of a chiropractor adjusting a baby because they’re thinking: “Is chiropractic safe for babies?” or “Do babies get adjusted the same way as adults?”
These are valid questions. In short, YES chiropractic is safe for babies/newborns with chiropractors who have been trained in pediatric chiropractic techniques. And NO, babies do not get adjusted the same way as adults. A baby’s joints are more cartilaginous than bony and only require about the same amount of pressure as you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato.
Why should an infant get checked by a chiropractor?
The birth process can be traumatic for an infant and can cause spinal misalignments. Spinal misalignments that are left uncorrected will impact your baby’s spinal growth and development, reducing the healthy function of his/her nervous system.
In some cases, a spinal misalignment will manifest in visible symptoms immediately. However, in many cases, infant spinal misalignments may not present any visible symptoms until later on in life. This is why ALL babies would benefit from getting checked by a chiropractor.
Getting your baby’s spine checked by a chiropractor ensures that your baby’s spine is healthy right from the start!
While there are many benefits of chiropractic for babies, below are 3 common signs that indicate your baby should see a chiropractor:
The causes of colic can be from gassiness to abdominal pains to reflux. In essence, the newborn is experiencing some type of symptom and the only way they know how to express their pain is by crying.
A chiropractor can determine if a spinal misalignment is causing the newborn to be in a state of discomfort. Trained chiropractors can detect spinal misalignments with a thorough examination and correct the misalignment with a safe and gentle adjustment to the spine. A study has shown that spinal adjustments can decrease the number of hours a baby is colic by 2.7 hours per day compared to the medicated group which decreased colic by 1 hour per day.(1) The authors of the study also add that as the study went on, the chiropractic group continued to see improvements. Another study with 316 colicky infants showed that through chiropractic care, 94% of them had improvement.(2) More recently, this study concluded, “chiropractic manual therapy improved crying behavior in infants with colic”.(3)
2. Favors turning head to the left or the right
If your newborn prefers to keep their head turned to either the left or the right, it is a clear sign that the infant has a misalignment in their upper neck area. One tell-tale sign of this is if the newborn favors one breast over the other while breastfeeding. While this child may not have any overt symptoms such as being colicky, it is wise to ensure this child has his or her spine checked from a preventative standpoint to correct any underlying problem that may arise in the future.
Reflux among newborns is not uncommon, but consistent and constant reflux should be addressed because the underlying problem may be due to a spinal misalignment. A spinal misalignment may cause dysfunction of the esophageal muscles leading to reflux and in more serious cases GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Some signs and symptoms of GERD include interrupted sleep, excessive gas, vomiting, excessive crying, and difficulty breastfeeding. In a recent case study, the authors conclude: “pediatric patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorder such as GERD may benefit from clinical adjustments to sites of vertebral subluxations.”(4)
As a father of two beautiful girls, who both got their first chiropractic adjustments within hours of being born, the spinal health of infants and children is particularly close to my heart.
We love helping babies start life on the right track with a healthy spine and nervous system! If you have an infant and are looking for a natural healthcare alternative, contact us at Health & Healing Family Chiropractic for a free consultation.
- The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of infantile colic: A randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer. Wiberg, Jesper M.M. et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics , Volume 22 , Issue 8 , 517 - 522.
- Infantile- colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases. Klougart N1, Nilsson N, Jacobsen J.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989 Aug;12(4):281-8.
- Efficacy of Chiropractic Manual Therapy on Infant Colic: A Pragmatic Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial. Miller, Joyce E. et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics , Volume 35 , Issue 8 , 600 - 607.
- Chiropractic care of a pediatric patient with symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, fuss-cry-irritability with sleep disorder syndrome and irritable infant syndrome of musculoskeletal origin. Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC1 and Renata Anderson, DC. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2008 Dec; 52(4): 248–255.