Chiropractic for your infant? Before we tackle that question we need to be clear on what chiropractic is.
Simply put, chiropractic care is designed to correct subluxations or areas of interference of the nervous system caused by inappropriate position and/or improper movement of joints (for more information check out last week’s article “The Baby and The Chiropractor: What’s Up, Doc?”). These “subluxations” can affect nearby nerves, cause pain, result in muscle spasms, and even effect organ function. Chiropractic care is much more than a quick crack for neck and back pain.
In 2009, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) said:
chiropractic can help children not only with typical back and neck pain complaints, but also with issues as varied as asthma, chronic ear infections, nursing difficulties, colic and bed wetting.
So, what’s the deal with the chiropractic “adjustment” and is it right for everyone? It is important to understand that chiropractors use a variety of techniques and apply age and size appropriate manipulations, a.k.a. “an adjustment,” meaning the method and force applied for a fully grown adult can be completely different than that applied to a five year old child or even a new born infant. Some chiropractic techniques, Sacro Occipital Technique (S.O.T.) for example, requires very little pressure (for an adult or infant) to produce a therapeutic result, versus the well-known crack, bang, boom so many people have grown to know and love.
Just how much force are we talking about? To explore this question let’s consider a case I saw a few years ago where an infant was comfortable breast feeding on one side but not the other because he could not turn his head easily in both directions. After examination it was determined that this was a clear case of an upper neck misalignment which may have been caused during the birthing process. Using about the same amount of force that it would take to hold a quarter up against a wall I applied a targeted “adjustment” and that was all it took to restore proper function and motion to the offending joint. To the delight of his parents, he was immediately less fussy and began feeding on both sides.
Just how young is too young, then? That is a decision you as an educated parent need to make with your healthcare provider, and to be honest, your best judgement. Just remember, “adjustments” are age and size appropriate and can be very effective, even for your infant. For more information check out the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
Tune in next week for the end of this series, Exactly How safe is Chiropractic?
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