Chiropractors don’t see babies to help them with back pain. They see them to help improve spinal function to help improve their brain’s ability to process what’s going on in their body and give them the best possible start in life.
Chiropractic care may help babies to cry less and maybe even sleep better
What the researchers found in research studies was that just about all of the babies they checked had a problem that may have benefited from care by a manual therapist.
A question many new parents ask is whether they should take their baby to see a chiropractor or other manual therapist. But babies don’t have back pain do they? So why might a chiropractor help a baby? Well, the answer is really simple. Chiropractors don’t see babies to help them with their back pain. They see babies to help improve spinal function with the aim of improving your child’s brain’s ability to process what’s going on in their body and give them the best possible start in life. But why might a baby have problems with the way their spine is functioning?
That’s another really simple question to answer. Spending 9 months growing in mums tummy can get really cramped.1 2 Before baby is even born the pressure they’re under in mum’s uterus can cause changes to the way their bones move and fuse together or the shape of their skull.2 3 And then the strains baby faces during delivery, either as they pass through the birth canal, or from forceps or other forms of assisted delivery, can cause injuries to baby’s spine or nervous system that doctors and parents may not even be aware of.4
In fact, a study was published in 2015 where researchers looked at 100 healthy newborn babies and tested them for a variety of problems with the way their spine and the bones of their skull were moving.1 What the researchers found in this study was that just about all of the babies they checked had a problem that may have benefited from care by a manual therapist. Over 90% of the babies had a problem with the way their neck was moving and even more had a problem in their lower back. That was a really interesting finding because who knows… maybe babies get back pain after all? The researchers in this study were also interested to see whether the duration of labour made a difference to how many problems the babies had with the way their spine and skull moved. What they found was that the longer labour went on for, the more problems the babies had. These problems are all the types of things chiropractors and other manual therapists aim to help with when they check your baby.5 And may explain why research studies have suggested chiropractic care may help babies to cry less and maybe even sleep better.6 7
When appropriately applied, chiropractic is known to be safe for kids and babies.8 9 So maybe it is a good idea to have your baby checked by a chiropractor, especially if they had a long or difficult birth, to make sure they get the best possible start in life.
- Waddington EL, Snider KT, Lockwood MD, et al. Incidence of Somatic Dysfunction in Healthy Newborns. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2015;115(11):654-65.
- Morrison CS, Chariker M. Positional plagiocephaly: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. The Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association 2006;104(4):136-40.
- Kirschner RE, Gannon FH, Xu J, et al. Craniosynostosis and altered patterns of fetal TGF-beta expression induced by intrauterine constraint. Plast Reconstr Surg 2002;109(7):2338-46; discussion 47-54.
- Chaturvedi A, Chaturvedi A, Stanescu AL, et al. Mechanical birth-related trauma to the neonate: An imaging perspective. Insights into imaging 2018;9(1):103-18.
- Fysh PN. Chiropractic care for the pediatric patient. Arlington, VA: International Chiropractors Association Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2002.
- Miller JE, Newell D, Bolton JE. Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy on infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomized controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2012;35(8):600-7.
- Carnes D, Plunkett A, Ellwood J, et al. Manual therapy for unsettled, distressed and excessively crying infants: a systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ open 2018;8(1):e019040-e40.
- Todd AJ, Carroll MT, Robinson A, et al. Adverse Events Due to Chiropractic and Other Manual Therapies for Infants and Children: A Review of the Literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014.
- Doyle MF. Is chiropractic paediatric care safe? A best evidence topic. Clinical Chiropractic 2011;14(3):97-105.