I’m a proponent of chiropractic adjustments and try to visit my doctor every three weeks or so for regular spinal alignment maintenance. That’s a lot of one-on-one time with my face down on a table and plenty of opportunity for endless chatter.
While lying on the table, I was intrigued to learn about an entire world I never knew existed: chiropractic adjustments for children and newborns. Supporters say adjustments are important to keep the spine aligned after common toddler falls, the trauma of child birth, and manipulations can even combat acid reflux, ear infections, and colic.
Ever multi-tasking, here is an interview I did face-down with chiropractor, Dr. Sarah Bentley, about pediatric adjustments.
There are different things that are happening. You’ve got in-utero constraint where the baby is not lined up properly towards the end of the pregnancy when there is less room to move around. So, babies can have different torsions and compressions on their bodies. The baby’s feet can be crossed or breach, for example, and these constraints can put different forces on their joints which can magnify when they get older. They may have issues that can be asymptomatic as a baby and not show up until a couple of years down the road.
One adjustment in a baby is worth 15 adjustments in an adult because you are preventing the baby growing around whatever that joint restriction is. Their body is going to make adaptations. So, if you take care of that when they are young, their body won’t make all of those adaptations.
What about wild toddlers, like mine, who fall a lot? How are adjustments helpful for falls?
Even though falls are normal, they cause trauma. I think people say that babies are meant to handle the falls, but it is still a repetitive injury. Falling on their bums can cause lower spine compressions. Adjusting to get rid of the restrictions so that the body is lined up and won’t create any compensatory patterns over time is helpful. All toddlers fall, so it’s helpful for all toddlers to get preventative care, but especially if there’s a bad fall, it’s probably smart to come in.
Describe a pediatric adjustment.
The pressure would only be the weight of a dime. When you are talking about newborns, it is extremely light pressure made with a pinky. Their little joints are so tiny and their vertebrae are not completely formed yet so you have to be aware of that. You wouldn’t ever put massive force into a baby’s joints.
Once I was holding a baby and I put a little pressure where I could feel the restriction in her back and she looked up at me and did a little “ooh” with her mouth and when it released you could feel her body just relax and sway. And when I would find another spot, she would look at me again and “ooh” and then once it released, she would rock and sway. She was very responsive.
How soon do you like to see newborns?
It just depends, but as soon as the first 48 hours is completely common. I know babies that have been adjusted right in the delivery room.
Because the nerves that exit our spine invade all of our body, there can be interference when you’ve got compression. With reflux, adjustments in the thoracic spine can help to alleviate that.
I had a patient who had their baby on Prilosec for reflux and she came in to be adjusted and the reflux was gone the next day. She was able to get off of the medicine. That’s not always the case for it to work after one time. Sometimes it takes several visits and patience. Modern medicine has it that we just take a pill and it’s taken care of, but sometimes it just takes time.
Some critics say that because the vertebrae is not exactly formed in infants, there is risk to injury. What’s your response to that critique?
I think there is a concern when you’ve got somebody who is putting full force on a spine. It goes to who your practitioner is. I understand people’s concern, but I think if you have a qualified practitioner, you shouldn’t worry.
Are all chiropractors suited to treat children?
As in any profession, there are good and bad chiropractors. You shouldn’t expect a lot of torquing or extreme manual adjustments with babies and toddlers because they are so flexible and you don’t want to cause damage to those joints. The adjustment will need to be a very gentle and light movement.
People shouldn’t be scared to get their child adjusted, but they should do their homework to make sure they have a good chiropractor who isn’t going to do extreme adjustments to their baby. There are some chiropractors who have extra training in pediatric chiropractic care. Talk to people who you trust and get a referral. Word of mouth is usually the best way to find someone.
Your Dallas Moms Blog contributors try to be that word of mouth for our readers. If chiropractic adjustments are of interest for you and your family, here is a list of Dallas practitioners we recommend. Feel free to call their offices and get referrals that will inform your own decisions.
Dr. Sarah E Bentley : 10440 N. Central Expressway, Suite 800, Dallas; 214-960-8796
Dr. Reynardo Adorable ; 6029 Belt Line Rd, Suite 100, Dallas; 972-392-7008
Dr. Cameron Laberot : 13520 T I Blvd, Dallas; 972-671-5263
Cafe of Life Chiropractic : 3112 Swiss Ave, Dallas, 214-871-7979
Dr. Amber Brooks : 14330 Midway Rd, Suite 116, Dallas; 469-547-1173
If you want more information, be sure to check out this article on a child’s nervous system from the upcoming August edition of Natural Mother magazine. Why Every Child Deserves To Have Their Nervous System Checked