With so much uncertainty in the health care of our country it is vital to educate ourselves to benefit the next generation to come after us. Birth today can be very traumatic, especially with all the technology and medical intervention that takes place on a regular basis during birth. (Recall the Journal of American Medical Association study showing that the U.S. ranked last for neonatal mortality, infant mortality, and for the health of newborns.) As a result, there has been an ever-increasing occurrence of traumatic birth syndrome.
TRAUMATIC BIRTH SYNDROME describes the presence of trauma-induced skull, spinal damage, and spinal misalignment as a result of the birth process. As mom is pushing, accompanied with surgical intervention, forceps delivery, or vacuum extraction, can make for an exponentially more traumatic birth. When you think about this, it is no surprise that vertebral subluxation (misalignment and/or damage of the spine) in infants is a common reality.
During the pushing stage of labor, the spine may be injured as the fetus is compressed and pushed down the birth canal. The most common subluxation in infants comes from the pulling, twisting, and compression of the infant’s spine during birth. This can cause things like respiratory depression and other illness. If something alters the normal birth process, you will frequently have subluxations occur at the point of greatest stress (upper and lower neck vertebrae). While in severe cases, these can result in more obvious, clinical nerve damage such as nerve palsies. Frequently subluxations remain sub-clinical with health issues rising at a later time. These issues often appear as colic, sleep disorders, symptoms of lowered immunity, poor development, and more! Pediatric expert, Dr. Maxine McMullen states, “Subluxations should be analyzed and corrected as soon as possible after birth to prevent these associated conditions.” and she's absolutely right!
These subluxations have been found to be severe enough to lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) due to the pressure subluxation can cause upward towards the lower brain, as well as creating numerous other disorders common to newborns, infants, and young children. Reports show that Chiropractic care can be helpful in such diverse disorders as cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, ear infections, the prevention of SIDS, and the others.
One of the most interesting studies, based on examination and adjustment of one thousand infants, was done by Dr. Gutmann, a German physician. He concluded that blocked nerve impulses at the level of the atlas (first vertebrae in neck) can be the cause of central motor impairment and lower resistance to infections, especially those of the ear, nose, and throat.
One example of Dr. Gutmann’s published case studies describes a boy of eighteen months with early relapsing tonsillitis, frequent enteritis, drug therapy resistive conjunctivitis, frequent colds, earaches and sleeping problems. After the first specific chiropractic adjustment, the child was put to bed and slept peacefully until morning. The conjunctivitis cleared completely, and the previously disturbed appetite returned to normal.
Dr. Gutmann’s research showed that the 1,000 children treated had success, almost without exception, for a variety of ailments by chiropractic adjustments at the atlas. Symptoms to have responded favorably include: congenital torticollis, disturbed mental and especially linguistic development, recurrent sinus infections, bronchitis tonsillitis, enteritis (inflammation of the intestine), persistent conjunctivitis, restless sleep, unmotivated central seizures, cerebral spasms, disturbed motor responses with repetitive falls, Infantile scoliosis, distortion of ilio-sacral joint, growing pains, appetite disturbance, and inability to thrive.
McMullen, M. “Physical Stresses of Childhood that Could Lead to the Need for Chiropractic Care.” Proceedings of the National Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics, San Diego, California. Intl. Chiropractors Assoc. 1991
Gutmann G. “Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome in Infants and Small Children.” Originally published in Manuelle Medizine, Springer-Verlag, 1987. English translation published in International Review of Chiropractic July/Aug 1990
Hospers LA, Daso JA, Steinle LV. “Electromyographic Patters of Mentally Retarded Cerebral Palsy Patient after Life Upper Cervical Adjustment.” Today’s Chiropractic, 15(5), 13-14, 1986
Hospers LA, Sweat RW, LaRee H, Trotta N, Seat MH. “Response of a Three Year Old Epileptic Child to Upper Cervical Adjustment.” Today’s Chiropractic, 15 (15) 69-76, Dec-Jan 1987
Young G. “Chiropractic Success in Epileptic Conditions.” ACA Journal of Chiropractic 1982; 19 (4):62-63“Ear infection; a retrospective study examining improvement from chiropractic care and analyzing for influencing factors.” J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1996 Mar;19 (3): 169 – 177
Fallon, J.M.: The role of chiropractic adjustments in the care and treatment of 332 children with otitis media. JCCP1997; 2:167-183