Many people don’t realize that babies can also receive chiropractic treatment. In fact, here at Windrose Health Centre, we have two chiropractors who not only treat babies often, but have taken extra courses so they can better serve the pediatric population.
Now, why would a baby even need a chiropractor? I know what you are all thinking – babies are tiny and hardly move, how could they have any pain? The truth is that just because they are little, doesn’t mean that their joints and muscles can’t experience any injury or discomfort. One of the most common reasons for a newborn to see a chiropractor is due to birth trauma. Whether the birth was uncomplicated or had interventions, pregnancy and then labour and delivery can be quite tough on the little one. Getting assessed as soon as the parents are comfortable can be very beneficial in ensuring that the baby is moving forward with no lingering complications or complaints, that can continue through the rest of their lives.
Here are a few other reasons why a parent might want to get their baby assessed:
- Colic: A baby is said to have colic when they cry for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks. The research on what actually is behind colic is not conclusive. However, there are some studies to suggest that chiropractic treatment can help decrease crying time and improve babies sleep.
- Latching or feeding difficulties: Difficulty with breastfeeding can be due to many different variables and factors, proper latch being one of them. A baby may have difficulty latching and sucking properly due to altered tongue action (either caused by tethered oral tissues like a tongue tie, or other mechanical factors), decreased neck range of motion, or altered jaw mechanics, just to name a few. Chiropractic care, along with other medical professionals – like a lactation consultant, can be effective in correcting these issues and leading to improved latch, and thus, less difficulty with breastfeeding.
- Torticollis: Torticollis is when a baby’s neck range of motion is decreased and they end up holding their head and neck in a slightly distorted or “abnormal” position. We also occasionally may see a baby who can turn their neck in both directions but has a clear preference to one side. This may result in a positional plagiocephaly (a flat spot on the back of the head) or feeding difficulties like we mentioned above. Chiropractic treatment can help increase a baby’s range of motion and help loosen up the tight muscles that may be causing these situations to occur.
So, we’ve gone over the “why” behind chiropractic treatment and babies, but what about the “how”? I get asked all the time if babies get treated the same way as adults, and the answer is yes & no. Whether we are seeing a baby or an adult, we still do a thorough history and physical examination to get to the root of what is going on and how we can help – so that pretty much is the same regardless of the age of the patient. Where you will see differences is in the techniques used to treat a baby. Simply put, a baby is not receiving a chiropractic manipulation in the same manner that an adult would. An adjustment, or manipulation, for a baby is more of a press and hold technique, using the same amount of force as you might use to check the ripeness of a tomato. It is both gentle, yet effective. Stretches, exercises and some gentle soft tissue therapy are other treatment options that may be used as well.
If you have any questions or would like some more information about how we at Windrose Health Centre might be able to help your little one, please reach out to Dr. Richelle and Dr. Krysta and we would be happy to help answer them!