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Periodically when talking to a parent about checking their child’s spine, I’ll get a response that goes something like this, “I think bringing the baby in to get checked is a good idea but his dad (who has never seen a chiropractor) (either doesn’t see the need or) is afraid.” It’s my hope that forwarding this article to that parent will help move the conversation forward.
Whether a child descended the birth canal or was delivered by Cesarean Section, it is possible that the stresses associated with birth produced a spinal misalignment (known as a Subluxtion) that could be affecting his/her health and well-being.
The birth process, as it naturally occurs causes compression and can easily result in spinal Subluxations. In addition, delivery in this country, is most commonly done by medical personnel that are trained to intervene and not let nature take its own course. So, distraction of the head and neck are fairly common even in a ‘natural’ birth. Once you add any intervention, from an episiotomy to an epidural, Ptocin or any number of additional interventions, the chances of a ‘minor’ spinal trauma increase proportionately. Even a baby born without ANY intervention whatsoever can experience a Subluxtion.
So what about a C-section? With a C-section, the object is to get baby out quickly thus minimizing many potential complications. This typically means that baby is pulled out by whatever part first presents; arm, leg, head, torso, whatever. The chance of spinal trauma is increased.
Why does it matter? Won’t it just resolve itself? Theoretically it could; but here are some thoughts: when the spine is misaligned, it puts stress on the spinal nerves and they don’t conduct their messages properly. Misalignments in the neck for example, commonly result in colic, difficulty nursing, increased likelihood of ear infections and more in babies. Did your child have (or are they having) any of these issues? As your child gets older, these issues, if caused by a Subluxtion, may present in other ways as well (a subject for future articles). Another issue is something called proprioception. That is the ability for the body to sense and understand where it is in time and space. When the spine is Subluxated, loss of proprioception is one of the first results. So maybe your child had no symptoms (very likely) but now he/she is learning to walk. Do you supposed that it might be more difficult if he/she doesn’t have a good sense of his/her body? Does your child fall, bang his or her head or do other things common to babies learning to walk and run? What they are doing may be perfectly normal or may not. You have no real way of knowing unless they are checked by a qualified chiropractor. As a parent, I remember being amazed that my kids could stand up in a confined space, like under the kitchen table, without banging their heads but their playmates, who hadn’t had their spines checked and adjusted couldn’t.
Take the idea of proprioception just a bit further now: lack of proprioception ultimately means your child is functioning at less than 100% of what is possible for them in our world. Why would any loving parent knowingly allow this? Add to all this all the falls and other traumas an older child has experienced and you can see why a spinal check is appropriate even in the absence of symptoms.
Ok, so now you’ve heard some of the logic but your still skeptical and scared. Understandable. As a member of our society, you understand that insurance rates are based on the cost to the insurance company, the likelihood that the insurance will need to be used and the possible payout if it is. Chiropractors pay about 10% of what a general practice physician does in malpractice rates and an even lower percentage compared to surgeons and specialists. Simply stated, the insurance companies recognize we don’t hurt people.
If you have never seen a chiropractor before, I venture to say, that your fears come from a combination of 2 related things: what you think might happen thru a manual adjustment to the neck and medical propaganda. Did you know that in 1989, the Chiropractic profession won a Class Action Lawsuit against the AMA & several other medical organizations for Anti-trust and colusion?! And that the AMA lost when it was appealed. From 1965 onward the AMA’s ‘Council on Quackery’ existed with the written purpose of destroying the profession of chiropractic in the United States. The seeds that were sewn by this counsel have effected the profession and public perception to this day. They are, in fact, what is largely responsible for people having that fear of getting their neck adjusted. The real hazards are minuscule. In fact, if your child has had a vaccine, you’ve already exposed them to a procedure statically many times more dangerous than a manual adjustment. In addition, as a chiropractor that has adjusted hundreds of babies over a 25 year career, I’ll also tell you that the amount of force I use isn’t significantly more than what I’m using right now to type this article into my computer!
Lastly, of course, is the basic fact that while your child DOES need to get checked he/she may NOT need an adjustment. He/she may be perfectly fine or may not. Doesn’t she/he deserve the opportunity to find out?
I hope this article has served to ally some fears or at least start a conversation. I’m happy to answer additional questions by phone or in person.

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