Why might a baby need chiropractic?
Many people would think that a baby would not need to have any chiropractic work done as they are not old enough to have accumulated problems. There are many reasons that a baby might need chiropractic or other body work. Pediatric chiropractic has a goal of finding and helping to relieve restrictions in a baby’s joints or undue stress from their muscles and to promote proper neurodynamics required for a baby to thrive.
Here are a few of the reasons one might take a baby to the chiropractor.
Birth – Though the birth process is a natural one it can be tiring and difficult for both the parent and child. Contractions may place up to 40 pounds of pressure on the baby during labor. Babies do their best to get their little bodies in the correct position, however, their heads can be tipped or shoulders may be turned. When the baby is out of position, this pressure can tense the joints of a baby’s head, neck, back or shoulders. Even babies that are born via cesarean may have been stuck in the pelvis or suffered from extra pressure as they were delivered. For some babies they may have had to exert themselves more than their little body was ready for. Some babies are unable to heal the effects of this force on their own. Pediatric chiropractic treatment is focused on helping the new little being to achieve a balance of the muscles, joints, and nerves to allow them to focus on growing and learning.
Breastfeeding Struggles – Through breastfeeding is the natural way for a baby to eat, some babies have difficulty latching, developing or maintaining suction, or using their tongue to help express the milk. This may be due to muscular, fascial, or joint dysfunction that accumulated over time. Or it may be due to joints or muscles that were aggravated by birth. Problems present either with the breast feeding parent (pain, nipple damage, difference in feeding from side to side), or with the baby (reflux symptoms,, fussiness, quivering jaw, clicking at the breast, poor weight gain). A pediatric chiropractor will be able to help to figure out the cause, or causes of the problem. Often there is tension in the baby’s jaw and tongue as compensation for the proper biomechanics. Dr. Ouellette uses craniosacral therapy and gentle mobilizations to improve these biomechanics.
Sometimes the baby may have what is referred to as a tongue tie. Proper breastfeeding requires that the back of the baby’s tongue be able to elevate and create a vacuum to express the milk from the nipple, a tongue tie makes this movement difficult. Dr. Ouellette has been trained to help evaluate if a baby should be evaluated by a lactation consultant and also at times an EENT physician.
Asymmetry- Prepare for digital storage of thousands of photos and videos! When flipping back through the digital memories, sometimes a trend of always looking to one side will become apparent. If the preference is strong, it may lead to flattening of the head called plagiocephaly. Chiropractic care to restore motion and decrease soft tissue tension is an excellent way to address these issues. Babies also can present asymmetry when they start locomoting! Maybe they only roll to the right, or crawl with the left knee on the floor and the right leg up with the foot on the floor. These often point to a restriction in the hips, pelvic, or shoulders that can be addressed using gentle pediatric chiropractic care.