Nothing makes me feel as honoured as when I am given the opportunity to check a newborn spines just days after arriving to this world. It’s such a special time, and the importance of starting these infants with healthy cranial and spinal mechanics cannot be overlooked.
A lot of pressures and forces are applied to the developing spine during birth! Birth is a big event, for both mom and baby! In particular, stress to the infant spine can come from:
- Very short labour
- Very long labour
- Failure to dilate
- Forceps vacuum
- Cesarean section
- Pulling traction with neck extended back, rotated flexed or bent to side
Why Is A Spinal Check-Up In Infancy Important For Your Child’s Health?
Second to being in the womb, the first year of a child’s life is a period of intense growth. At birth the spine is 20cm, within 24m will grow to 45cm. The entire spine doubles in the first year! The first 12months of life are also crucial for spinal curve development, and 65% of neurological development occurs in the first year. Given these rapid changes, the vertebrae are especially susceptible to changing shape in response to pressure by slowing bone growth. Spinal misalignments will causes asymmetrical growth, and tension on nerve system means less ability for growth and development. This then leads to changes in the health of the sweet little ones. Infants will often develop symptoms such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Reflux spitting up
- Irritability colic
- Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, head turning, swallowing)
- Sleeping difficulty
- Balance issues
- Delayed developmental milestones
For most parents I meet with, spinal care for their child has not been something they have given much thought to, in fact many adults are the same! But once they observe the gentle care their child receives, and the profound changes in their overall wellbeing, it’s quite easy for them to continue to see the benefits of chiropractic care for their growing family.