CHIROPRACTIC for BABIES
Treating infants and children within the chiropractic profession, is based on the principle that children are unique individuals undergoing the process of human development and not merely, “little adults‟. A specifically trained chiropractor is a clinician capable of delivering chiropractic care to a child in a considered and effective manner, observing at all times the clinical parameters which would require that child to be referred to other health professionals where necessary. Dr Catriona McNamara has completed a 2-year postgraduate in Chiropractic Paediatrics and regularly teaches a multidisciplinary approach to the care of infants and children.
- Chiropractic for Children
- Irritable Baby
- Breastfeeding Difficulties
- Growing Pains
Common presenting issues:
- Poor sleep
- Growing pains
- Delayed walking
- Feet/ foot turned in or out
- Pre/Post tongue tie bodywork
Issues with balance:
- Unable to ride a bike by 6 years
- Constant tripping and falls
Dr McNamara has completed 2 years of postgraduate study in chiropractic Paediatrics. This is known as a Diplomate in Chiropractic Paediatrics.
Your baby won’t sleep on its back?
Your baby hates the car seat/ pram?
Your baby won’t turn one way and has a flat spot on his/her head?
Your baby cries but you have seen so many doctors, lactation consultants and specialists with no real answers!
Why aren’t babies PERFECT when they enter the outside world? Many people do not understand and can be surprised to find that babies, some only a few days old, have their spines examined and assessed by chiropractors. When the facts are explained however, it does make sense. Even under optimal conditions the birth process is potentially a very traumatic experience for the newborn. Delivery of the newborn may involve large forces to the baby’s neck. This is potentially the first opportunity for spinal/nerve and or muscle damage to occur. Unexplained crying could be from discomfort in their muslces/ joints. A chiropractor trained in Paediatrics is able to assess for joint concerns or nerve damage. A difficult delivery or the use of forceps for instance, may further increase the stress on the baby’s spine.
The most common and most significant birth injuries are neurological. This is particularly problematic because it is the time of greatest development of the nervous system. Fortunately it is also the most receptive time for repair. If you have noticed your baby turns to only one side or has a flat spot on their head, an orthopaedic and neurological assessment from one of the Chiropractors could help avoid problems worsening.
Chiropractic for infants is extremely gentle. The amount of force needed to help an infant’s musculoskeletal system is usually no more pressure than an adult can tolerate on their eyeball.
In natural delivery a baby’s neck and body are designed to be gently compressed as they pass through the birth canal. Assisted deliveries use distraction forces (pulling) on the body to aid delivery. Traction can place large amount of “stretching” stress on the head and neck structures (or in the case of emergency caesarean, wherever is necessary to remove the baby quickly). Although sometimes necessary these forces may cause issues in the newborn that are not commonly recognised as relating to the birthing process.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your baby have difficulty settling and/or staying asleep?
- Does your baby prefer sleeping with its head turned to one side?
- Has your baby developed a flat area on one side of their head?
- Have you noticed your baby using one arm more than the other?
- Do they favour one breast during feeding?
- Do they fuss and arch at the breast?
- Is breastfeeding painful?
- Do you believe your baby is excessively irritable despite being reassured by health professionals that crying is normal?
- Is your baby delayed in rolling, crawling or walking without any obvious reason?
The most common presentation involves babies that can only turn their head one way (Torticollis). This can present with their sleeping pattern having their head turned in one way or tilted on one side. A large percentage of these babies will develop a “flat head” on their skull (Plagiocephaly), which is due to the constant pressure in this area. Early chiropractic intervention for your baby can assist normal head rotation, and therefore reduce or prevent this condition in susceptible babies.
Does your baby have a flat spot on their head? This flat spot may be deformational plagiocephaly and occurs due to the malleability of the cranial bones in a babies head in their first year of life. Whilst it is important for your baby to sleep on its back it is also important that they can turn their head both ways to ensure no flattening of the skull.
Research has shown that there can be an association between developmental delays and plagiocephaly which can interrupt your baby’s motor development.
When the body is looked at from behind, a normal spine is straight without much deviation from one side to the other. Scoliosis is a disorder that is generally associated with a lateral, or side-to-side, curvature of the spine. Scoliosis can affect both children and adults. In children it can be a more serious condition because it can rapidly progress as the child grows.
Effects of Scoliosis
Scoliosis is usually first seen in children between the ages of 10 and 15. However, it can occur in younger children aged 3 to 10 years (juvenile scoliosis) and in babies (infantile scoliosis). The effects of scoliosis can include poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness as well as spinal pain. In rare cases scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems. If scoliosis is detected and treated early, patients can avoid these symptoms in many cases. If left untreated, scoliosis can sometimes progress to where surgery is required. We work closely with orthopaedic surgeons if this is required. Early detection is paramount.
Chiropractic Treatment of Scoliosis
Scoliosis can be treated by your chiropractor in a variety of different ways to help alleviate pain and keep joint mobility.
If you are unsure whether your child is suffering with scoliosis please contact our practice for an appointment. One of our experienced chiropractors will conduct a thorough spinal examination specifically looking for the presence of scoliosis. We encourage parents to care for their child’s spine on a regular basis by having it assessed each school holidays.
Our chiropractors have undergone varying degrees of training in the field of chiropractic paediatric and neurological assessment and management. These tests are used to determine which parts of a child’s brain/nerves are functioning at the expected level for his / her age and / or which parts of the child’s brain/nerves are not functioning at the expected level. The results can provide us with insight as to whether your child may benefit from treatment and if so what type of treatment would be best suited. A combination of treatment modalities is usually recommended for optimal results. This also may include referrals to other health practitioners. We have great working relationships with: Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Naturopaths, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Paediatricians, Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists.
Your spine is one of your most important health assets… Why let it grow incorrectly! Teeth are best checked early… So is your spine.
It is better to grow healthy children than to fix damaged adults!
On first presentation to the clinic you will fill out a questionnaire about your child / baby and their health concerns.
Our chiropractors will discuss this at length with you and then perform several age appropriate neurodevelopmental tests, which may include:
- Gross Motor Development
- Fine Motor Development
- Sensory Exam
- Cerebellar Exam
- Cranial and Neurological Examination
- Primitive Reflexes
- Orthopaedic Examination
This first visit usually is a great deal of talking and investigation. Your chiropractor may then ask you to observe, write down or do some homework with your baby/child over a couple of days in order to get a more complete picture. Your 2nd visit involves further examination and discussion about the way ahead which may involve strength exercises, sleep advice, stretches, posture advice, balance exercises or dietary/feeding changes. Treatment is nearly always given on the first visit. However if further investigation is needed it may be delayed until the 2nd visit or a referral to another of our many expert Paediatric Health Specialists.
As Chiropractors we often see children with leg pain. These are pains in their lower limbs often waking them at night for no apparent reason. These are often described as GROWING PAINS. Once assessed and cleared of any other possible causes the Chiropractor will assess for biomechanical pressure that could be causing this leg pain. The sacrum is often closely assessed as the neural pathways arising from this lower section of the spine/pelvis trace into both legs.
Sacral joint problems as an adult will manifest more like ‘sciatic’ type pain and trouble rising from sitting. Pain will usually be around the 2 dimples at the base of your spine. Gonstead Chiropractors have done extensive training to assess, examine and correct any dysfunction in the pelvis.
Many people do not understand and can be surprised to find that babies, some only a few days old, have their spines examined and assessed by chiropractors.
The most common and most significant birth injuries are neurological. This is particularly problematic
because it is the time of greatest development of the nervous system. Fortunately it
is also the most receptive time for repair.
Research shows in the German medical journal Manuelle Medizin, the authors
Gutmann and Fryman reported examining a random group of 1258 babies within 5
days after birth. Of this group, 211 suffered from vomiting, hyperactivity and
sleeplessness. Manual examination revealed spinal abnormalities in 95% of the group.
Examination of the growth patterns of a child’s spine reveals that the time of fastest
spinal growth and development is of course in the first year of life, when the
average length of the spine grows from 24 to 36 cm. It is also the time when the
infant is learning to crawl and walk and therefore subjected to considerable stress.
This phase of the child’s development involves the establishment of the important
secondary spinal curves in the neck and low back. All of this makes the first 12
months a critical period of spinal development.
Beyond this first year, spinal growth and development continues right through until
the mid 20’s or until skeletal maturity. During these growing years it is important to ensure many stresses of daily living, such as poor posture, screen time, knocks, falls, carrying schoolbags, sporting injuries etc are
not causing spinal problems which may otherwise go unnoticed simply because there
are no obvious symptoms.
One of the most neglected factors in many children’s health is their spine.