“Are you going to crack my baby’s spine,” a mother asked me this morning. “Gosh no,” I said as I was taken aback by her question. Having evaluated, examined and adjusted hundreds of children, I sometimes forget that chiropractic for babies is new to some people and they really don’t know what to expect.
An initial evaluation of your baby includes a detailed history of their life thus far and of mom during pregnancy. The physical evaluation includes assessing the alignment of the spine, measurement of cranial bones, skin folds, reflex development and more.
Why would a baby be assessed? During the birth process, even under natural and controlled conditions, the baby’s skull and neck are put under force as the baby descends through the birth canal. We are looking for neurological disturbances that will affect growth and development.
According to world renowned Chiropractor and author, Dr. Jennifer Barham- Floreani, “The nervous system is the master controller of our body and if its communication channels become fuzzy, distorted or damaged then we may experience all sorts of communication errors. For babies this ineffective communication may play out as colic or irritability, an inability to suckle and breastfeed or poor sleep habits. For a child poor nerve communication may result in developmental delays, an inability to concentrate, behavioural problems, digestive issues, asthma, headaches – the list is endless.”
Some may be concerned about the forcefulness of an adjustment for a growing child. That would be a legitimate concern if all people received the same adjustment. Thankfully, they do not. Each person is adjusted according to their age and size.
Right now, the chiropractor is the only health professional trained to evaluate, diagnose and correct those nerve disturbances. Hopefully, in the near future other health professionals will be trained to do so, as early detection and correction optimizes the development of your child’s neuro-musculo-skeletal system (the nerves, muscles and bones).
There are a few signs parents can look for that may be an indicator of a spinal problem:
-Your baby’s head is tilted or has restricted neck rotation
-Colic type symptoms
-Repeated ear infections
-Bedwetting, excess gas or difficulty pooping
While this list of symptoms is not exhaustive, they are the most common and it is important to note that nerve disturbance can exist even in the absence of symptoms. Having a spinal evaluation at an early age gives your child a significant advantage and a great start for their health. I encourage you to find a family chiropractor for you and your family. There are several good ones in town-call one, you’ll be glad you did.