by Dr. Kelly Silvi
This is often a question that I get from patients, or just parents in general when they learn that I am a Pediatric Chiropractor. It is a great question! I see it as an opportunity to teach parents about the human body and how that translates to their new baby.
In order to understand why you should bring your baby to a Chiropractor, you need to have an understanding of what they do. Chiropractors focus on treating the joints in your spine. This is a concept that is generally known, but what people may not know is that the focus is on the spine due to its intimate relationship with the nervous system. Treatments bring increased function and movement to the joints and muscles, which in turn decrease the irritation to the nerves. An optimally functioning nervous system is key to your body sending and receiving the appropriate messages at the appropriate times.
So why should you bring your baby to a Chiropractor? The simple answer is because babies have spines too! The same concepts apply to babies as they do to adults. A chiropractor will check baby’s spine and remove restrictions in their joints so that the nervous system can function optimally. Their little bodies are growing quickly and it is important that the appropriate messages are being sent at the appropriate times!
New babies go through a lot of transition phases in a short amount of time, starting with birth. Whether it is traveling through the birth canal, or being born through the uterine wall, it is a significant physical stress to their little bodies. I frequently treat babies in their first day of life to assist their bodies in finding balance after the hard work of being born. Babies are developing and adapting at an incredible rate in their first 5 years of life. A chiropractor that is trained in Pediatric care will have great knowledge to treat their little bodies through all stages of their development. Chiropractors can correct restrictions in the cranium (skull) and spine before they manifest as symptoms.
When a baby is treated or adjusted by a Chiropractor it looks significantly different than an adult adjustment. This is a very important distinction to make for parents. There are no quick movements or firm pressure when working with babies. The treatments are gentle and progress slowly, going at a speed that is dictated by the baby’s comfort. It is common for babies to sleep or nurse during treatments, which is fun for the parents to see.
I mentioned that treatments can often make corrections to the body before symptoms appear. Symptoms in babies often look very different compared to adults. Babies can’t verbalize that they have a headache, are constipated, or have pain when they turn their head to the right. Instead, they might not sleep well, cry and grunt a lot, or have feeding difficulties. As a Chiropractor it is our job to piece together their symptoms and determine what will help them feel better. In addition to balancing their bodies, we are also trained to provide nutritional and lifestyle advice for you and your newborn.
I believe every baby should be checked by a Chiropractor after birth. If they do have restrictions in their joints, getting them adjusted and balanced will help your baby start off with a good foundation for growth and development.
For more information, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is a great resource for families. Their website provides research on Chiropractic care and a variety of other wellness topics.
Dr. Kelly Silvi practices in South Minneapolis. Her fascination with health and the human body grew into a passion for supporting and educating her patients, while providing safe and comfortable Chiropractic care. She is certified by the Academy of Chiropractic Family Practice and the Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics in pregnancy and pediatric care.