The strains that a baby faces during delivery, either as they pass through the birth canal, or from forceps or other forms of delivery, can cause injuries to baby’s spines and nervous system that doctors and parents may not even be aware of.
Research studies show chiropractic care is safe for children and babies
As they grow, young children can often take knocks on sports field and they fall from jungle gyms. When you put all of this together your baby or young child can end up with problems in their spine that chiropractors call vertebral subluxations, or chiropractic subluxations.
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 in the way their bones move and fuse together and can influence 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 spines and nervous system that doctors and parents may not even be aware of.4 Then once baby is born they have many tumbles and falls as they learn to sit, stand, crawl and walk. And as they grow they take knocks on sports field and they fall from jungle gyms. When you put all of this together your baby or child can end up with problems in their spine that chiropractors call vertebral subluxations, or chiropractic subluxations.
One study that was published in 2015, 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 the babies they checked had a problem that may have benefited from care by a manual therapist such as a chiropractor. 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.
But as a parent, what can you do about this? One option to consider is to take your baby or child to see a chiropractor so that they can ensure their spine is in tip top shape. Thousands of parents choose to do this every single day. Recently the Victorian government in Australia held an inquiry into chiropractic care for babies and children and they asked parents in Australia to let them know about their experiences when they took their children to a chiropractor. This is what the inquiry found…5
Almost 22,000 parents responded to the inquiry and told the Australian government that they had taken their child to see a chiropractor (actual number is 21,874) and 99.7% of these parents reported a positive experience with the chiropractic care of their children.
These parents had accessed chiropractic care for their child for a wide range of conditions and complaints, including maintaining general health and wellbeing. The most common conditions included posture concerns, colic, neck pain, difficulty with breastfeeding, back pain, and headaches. And the overwhelming majority of parents reported that chiropractic care helped their child, with 98% of thesec parents indicating that their child improved after seeing the chiropractor.
But what about the safety for chiropractic care for kids and babies? A question chiropractors are often asked is whether chiropractic care is safe for children and babies. This inquiry in Victoria had a very big focus on safety and what they found was that through their “extensive search they identified very little evidence of patient harm occurring in Australia. In particular, there were no patient complaints or practitioner notifications that arose from significant harm to a child following spinal manipulation.”
This is backed up by research studies that have also found that chiropractic care for children and infants is very safe and rarely associated with adverse events.6-8 These studies have found that when an adverse event related to chiropractic care for children or babies is reported, they tend to be short periods of muscle soreness after an adjustment, that goes away by itself.
So the research evidence is clear that when a thorough history and exam is taken and appropriate techniques are chosen, parents can be confident that their child truly is in safe hands with their chiropractor. So, make sure your child’s spine is in tip top shape and give them the best possible start in life by taking them to see your family chiropractor.
- Waddington EL, Snider KT, Lockwood MD, et al. Incidence of Somatic Dysfunction in Healthy Newborns. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2015;115(11):654-65. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2015.136 [published Online First: 2015/10/27]
- Morrison CS, Chariker M. Positional plagiocephaly: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. The Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association 2006;104(4):136-40. [published Online First: 2006/05/17]
- Kirschner RE, Gannon FH, Xu J, et al. Craniosynostosis and altered patterns of fetal TGF-beta expression induced by intrauterine constraint. Plastic and reconstructive surgery 2002;109(7):2338-46; discussion 47-54. [published Online First: 2002/06/05]
- 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. doi: 10.1007/s13244-017-0586-x [published Online First: 2018/01/23]
- Safer Care Victoria. Chiropractic spinal manipulation of children under 12. Melbourne, Australia: Safer Care Victoria, 2019.
- 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 doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.09.008 [published Online First: 2014/12/03]
- Doyle MF. Is chiropractic paediatric care safe? A best evidence topic. Clinical Chiropractic 2011;14(3):97-105. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clch.2011.06.004
- Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore (NY) 2009;5(5):290-5. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2009.06.002 [published Online First: 2009/09/08]