The Delivery

The birth process, even under natural and controlled conditions, is potentially traumatic. During the pushing stage of labor, the spine, particularly the neck, may be injured as the baby is compressed and pushed down the birth canal. The baby also after is pulled at the end of delivery and if interventions are used to help deliver, there can be additional strain or stretch on these delicate joints and nerves. This may cause the nerves to become stretched or irritated, and the vital communication system is disrupted.

This neurological disturbance is called a subluxation, and it is caused when joints are not moving properly therefore interfering with the nerve signal. As a result, one or more parts of the body may not be working at an optimal level. In babies, we may see this as a preference to nurse on one side or an inability to fully latch properly and in more significant challenges we see “torticolis” or twisting of the infants neck.

A Doctor of Chiropractic specializes in the detection and correction of subluxations. Instead of treating the just the symptoms, a chiropractor corrects the subluxation so that normal body functions may take place.

Is a Subluxation Serious ?

A subluxation causes a neurological disturbance. All body functions are controlled by the brain sending and receiving messages over nerves. During a natural birth, newborns frequently suffer subluxations as they are pulled, twisted, and compressed. Damage may be more severe in a difficult delivery, as noted by Doris Haire, C.N.M.., infants may sustain skull fractures, intestinal hemorrhage, cord compression, brain damage, damage to the facial nerve and facial paralysis.4

Damage to the spine and delicate nerve tissue is also common. Brewer and Presser report that the vertebrae are easily pulled out of alignment by excessive and forceful extension of the infant’s head with forceps.2

Checking Your Child

Complications of uncorrected subluxations may be serious, resulting in respiratory depression, and in some cases linked to SIDS. Infants who survive and are properly diagnosed for subluxations have a better chance of having the neurological defects ultimately eliminated.6

Most authorities believe that brain stem and spinal injuries at birth are essentially attributable to excessive longitudinal traction, especially when force is combined with flexion and torsion of the spinal axis during delivery.

Although birth subluxations may cause immediate symptoms, there may be far-reaching effects that are manifested for years. The child’s ability to fight against disease, for example may be lowered. More frequent colds, ear infections, colic, and other illnesses may result.3,5,6,7

When should your your infant be checked for subluxations?

Newborn infants should be checked within hours after birth by your chiropractor. Subluxations are a serious threat to your newborn’s health. Your child should be checked frequently by a chiropractor to ensure  the best opportunity to grow and develop normally.

Is Chiropractic Safe ?

The chiropractic approach to health care is natural and customized to patient size, age and needs.  An infant, a 50 year old male and a 90 year old female do not receive the identical treatment method but the purpose and outcome is the same – better function.   The chiropractor addresses the important relationship between the nerve system and proper communication and coordination of all body processes gently and carefully with many years of training and experience. Various symptoms in children, such as colic, earaches, headaches, inability to crawl properly, poor gait or coordination and a lowered resistance to normal childhood infections may be manifested in some young children and babies due to abnormal body function caused by subluxations.3,5,6 In light of this, your chiropractor may be the best doctor to help your child improve his/her health.


Reprinted with premission from



  1. Abraham, Towbin: Latent Spinal Cord Brain Stem Injury in Newborn Infants, 1969
  2. Brewer, G., Greene, J.: Right from the Start. Emmaus Pa., Rodar, 1981
  3. Fibelibus, J.: An Overview of Neuroimmunomodulation and a Possible Correlation with Musculoskeletal System Function, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, August 1989
  4. Haire, Doris: The Cultural Warping of Childbirth. Milwaukee ICEA 1972
  5. Kunert, W.: Functional Disorders of Internal Organs due to Vertebral Lesions. CIBA Symposium 13 (3): 85-86, 1965.
  6. Peet, J.B.: Chiropractic Pediatric and Prenatal Reference Manual. The Baby Adjusters, Inc. 1992.
  7. Walton, E.V. : Chiropractic Effectiveness with Emotional Learning and Behavioral Impairments, International Review of Chiropractic; 29:2-2,21-22,September, 1975.
  8. Winsor, H., M.D.: Sympathetic Segmental Disturbances- 11; The Evidence of the Association in Dissected Cadavers of Visceral Disease with Vertebrae Deformities of the Same Sympathetic Segments, Medical times; 49:1-7,  November 1921.