Chiropractic Care for Infants

Birth is an extremely athletic event that can easily result in injuries to both mother and baby. Mom may have injuries that are often associated with childbirth such as complications from C-section, tearing, incontinence or muscle soreness.

However, we rarely discuss the birth-related injuries that the baby may suffer and the treatments available for them. Whether babies are born naturally or from C-section deliveries, birth injuries can have many common presentations such as; a baby not being able to turn their head resulting in trouble breastfeeding; a shoulder or arm that doesn’t move well or is held close to the body; colic and earaches making life more difficult for both mom and baby. The good news is that these issues can often be successfully treated by chiropractic which has a better safety profile than regularly prescribed or over the counter medication for the same problem. Below are some common ailments that can be addressed with chiropractic care.

Breastfeeding Issues
There are many causes of breast-feeding dysfunction which can be amenable to chiropractic care. The child itself may have neck pain or dysfunction that prevents it from turning it’s head which prevents the baby from nursing on both sides. Latching and suckling may also be difficult for a baby who has cranial or TMJ dysfunction. Both the baby’s posture and the mother’s must be evaluated as well, as certain cradling positions may be uncomfortable for mom or baby and prevent a peaceful feeding. Dietary concerns of the mother may also need to be addressed and often times this overlaps with colic.

Colic is another poorly understood condition that has multiple factors. This ends up being a diagnosis with no real meaning as there are so many things that can cause irritability and distress in an infant. Consequently, it is very difficult to research because the causes vary so widely. Musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction are probable causes for irritation and chiropractic can help with those cases where pain is a contributing factor. There is some evidence for improvement in colic with changes in dietary intake, allergen-reducing strategies and herbal supplementation. Our doctors can work with you on herbal supplements and nutritional strategies tailored to your baby (and often mom’s) intolerances.

Ear Infections
Ear infections are a common childhood malady and can begin in infancy. The Eustachian tubes of a baby or child have a more horizontal orientation than in adults. This means that fluids can’t easily drain. The fluid accumulates, develops bacteria and results in a painful ear infection. Chiropractic adjustment can help by relaxing surrounding muscles and stimulating tube drainage therefore removing the fluid and bacteria that can lead to an infection. As a child moves towards adolescence the Eustachian tubes move to a more vertical position stimulating drainage which is why they tend to get fewer infections as they get older. In a few research studies herbal eardrops and homeopathic treatments have been shown to help decrease pain and lead to faster resolution than anti-biotics or natural history. We also know that prevention should be emphasized as well with elimination of risk factors, such as second hand smoke and bottle-feeding, as well as maintaining nutrition and identifying underlying allergies that may increase inflammation. Supplementation of vitamins and probiotics can also be beneficial in prevention and treatment.

There are many other conditions infants are seen for such as constipation, failure to thrive, food allergies and not meeting developmental milestones. If you ever worry about your child’s growth, health or development, please give us a call and always consult the doctors before starting any new supplements with you or your baby.

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