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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 5, No. 5 - September/October 2013

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Babies & Chiropractic

By Dorte Bladt

Many years ago, in my first real job as a chiropractor, I was sitting in my adjustment room waiting for my next patient.

Suddenly I heard this loud baby screaming coming past my window "Oh, I hope they are not coming in here" I thought.

Sure enough, next thing I know there is commotion and wailing in the reception - the screaming baby had arrived. "Oh, I hope this baby is not coming in to see me!"

Minutes later the screaming baby arrives in my room in the arms of an exhausted looking mother.

She hands over the screaming bundle saying: "Peter has been screaming non-stop for the past 5 days, since the moment he was born. He hasn't slept for more than 20 minutes at a time. I can't get him to feed. I can't stand seeing him in such pain. Please help me", she said.

I have always been very keen to help babies and children achieve optimal health through chiropractic care; have taken extra paediatric courses at and after university, and have been taught how to assess and treat such a young spine and nervous system - which is very different to an adult spine.

However, being handed this screaming baby was still a bit of a challenge to me, he was so upset and cried incessantly!

To assess the health of this little guy I looked at his colour, posture, muscle tone and positioning. All these tell me how well his nervous system is working. Then I tested his cranial nerves and the primitive reflexes, which both show how the brain and spinal cord work.

A primitive reflex is a survival mechanism for a baby, for example the rooting reflex: stimulation of the baby's cheek will cause the baby to turn his head and open his mouth ready to suckle, and sucking reflex itself. These should be hard wired. I also checked the range of movement of Peter's neck; it is important to be able to turn fully both ways so the baby is able to feed on both breasts.

I carefully felt for the position of the cranial bones, to make sure they had come back out properly after being folded in on each other as the baby's head passed though the birth canal.

Finally I palpated for the movement between each of the bones in Peter's spine, using very gentle pressure, making sure there was nothing that disturbed the very delicate nerve flow of the spinal cord or spinal nerves.

Peter had a different birth. He was stuck in the birth canal for several hours while the labour stalled and this had caused a small misalignment of one of the vertebrae in his neck as well as a slight strain of the upper neck muscles-called subluxation. I gently adjusted this little boy, using my fingertips on the vertebra, with about the pressure we would use on our own eyeball.

Within 10 minutes, as I was talking to mum, Peter fell into an exhausted sleep. And he slept non-stop for the next 14 hours, woke up starving, and never looked back.

Since then, I have adjusted thousands of little babies suffering colic, feeding problems, sleeping difficulties, reflux, plagiocephaly (flat heads) and constipation.

They all had subluxation and nerve interference in common. The chiropractic adjustment is a safe, gentle and natural way of improving nerve function and relieving symptoms.

Dr. Gutmann (an orthopod) and Dr. Biederman (a surgeon) are specialists in manual medicine in Germany and they have assessed and adjusted thousands of newborns. Dr. Gutmann found, when he did research on over 1000 newborns, that 80% of them had some form of nerve dysfunction, and that this could cause many types of symptoms such as stated above.

Dr. Biedermann has found that intrauterine constraint or the birth process itself can cause a misalignment in the upper neck vertebrae and aberrant movement of the neck muscles (he calls this KISS syndrome; Kinematic Imbalance due to Suboccipital Strain). He explains that some of the signs and symptoms of KISS in a baby are torticollis, problems with breastfeeding, irritability (colic), sleep disorders, C-scoliosis, hypersensitivity of the neck, extension posture, refusal to lay on the back, facial/cranial asymmetry and reduced cervical range of motion. He also found that the babies respond very favourably to adjustments.
Interestingly Dr. Biederman states that uncorrected subluxation can lead to restlessness, slow motor development, poor coordination, asymmetric posture, functional scoliosis, difficulty concentrating, easily distracted and difficulty with balance and coordination and attention deficits in the older child or adult.

A colleague of theirs, Dr. V. Fryman, did research on 1250 five day old babies. She found that 95% of the babies had a subluxation following birth as well as neck muscle strain, and noted that the babies responded well to adjustments of the subluxated vertebra with immediate muscle relaxation and better sleep.

The miraculous improvement for little Peter was wonderful to experience for me, and more importantly for his family. So many important developments happen in those first few weeks: the bonding between mother and baby (as well as father/baby, new mother/father), the breast feeding and the sleep routine - a delicate time that needs no extra stress!

About Dorte Bladt

Dorte specialises in paediatric spinal and nervous system health. She checks your spine to assess if the bones, muscles or ligaments are working properly and will gently, safely and naturally correct it to allow the body and the nervous system to function better. Dorte also provides advice on which exercises would be beneficial as well as which position to sleep, stand and sit in for the best possible posture.

More Information

Dorte Bladt
Doctor of Chiropractic
Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown
2 Lincoln St, Charlestown NSW 2290
P: 02 4942 4842


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