Is Pediatric Chiropractic Treatment Safe for my Baby?
Earlier, I addressed how parents frequently ask me if chiropractic care is safe for infants. Let me explain why pediatric chiropractic treatment is safe if it is correctly done by a qualified pediatric chiropractic physician.
Is any baby too young to have safe chiropractic treatment?
To my knowledge, age is not an issue. I’ve taken care of many newborns who are only a few days old, with continuation throughout their first month of life. And, I’ve taken care of infants during their first year and beyond.
Also, I would be extremely cautious before treating any infant who had not already been evaluated by a medical doctor. I treat only musculoskeletal disorders, which doesn’t substitute for medical evaluation and treatment. Before giving a treatment, I carefully read the results of the medical doctor’s findings. Problem resolution is best achieved through a collaborative approach.
How much pressure can a newborn or young infant withstand?
Maternal pushing during a normal spontaneous delivery can create up to 30 pounds of pressure on the fetal head and neck. Is that a lot? Well, imagine holding a 30-pound bowling ball. Seems like a lot of pressure, doesn’t it?
How much pressure is exerted when a parent holds a baby? It depends on how much the baby weighs, but very little. We hold babies all the time and don’t question whether it’s safe, right?
How much pressure is exerted during pediatric chiropractic treatment?
The pediatric chiropractor exerts between ½ to 3 pounds of pressure. The amount of pressure needed depends on the weight of the infant’s head. In other words, if your baby’s head weighs 1-3 pounds (which it probably does), I apply about 1-3 pounds of the pressure during a chiropractic adjustment.
The pressure I use when giving a pediatric chiropractic treatment is comparable to the pressure you would apply to your closed eye without causing discomfort.
In short, the amount of pressure used during an infant chiropractic adjustment is far less than the pressure exerted during normal labor and delivery, or while being held in the parent’s arms.
How do newborns or young infants respond to chiropractic treatment?
In my office, infants respond favorably. That’s because I use gentle, finger-tip pressure that is “massage like”. Because of the very light touch, most infants fall asleep during this treatment. Unlike adult chiropractic treatments, which can be given with forceful thrusts, no audible sound should occur during a pediatric adjustment.
If done correctly by a qualified chiropractor, the treatment is very safe.
Wait! Are there circumstances where pediatric chiropractic treatment is not safe?
Yes! Sometimes, a newborn has a medical condition that could possibly be worsened by physical touch. For example:
- Infections, including acute infections, contagious disease, or meningitis
- Medical-surgical conditions including fever, recent surgery, jaundice, undiagnosed lumps and bumps, recent hemorrhage, gastrointestinal disease (e.g., intestinal intussusception) childhood leukemia
- Serious skin infections, e.g., open sores, eczema that is weeping or infected, or any other serious skin complaints
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the most common reasons why pediatric chiropractic treatment is not recommended. A collaborative approach is critical to safely managing infant conditions.
People may assume it is unsafe. But done by a skilled, collaborative chiropractic, that assumption is groundless.
I’m not convinced. Give me some facts and figures.
Let’s look at the data. Over the past 6 months in my practice:
I treated 59 newborns/infants (0-4 months old) over a period of 6 months.
- 259 individual pediatric chiropractic treatments
- No adverse reactions or concerns later reported by parents
- High degree of parent/patient satisfaction in reducing or resolving the functional problem.
How can I find a qualified pediatric chiropractic physician?
Not every licensed chiropractor is a qualified pediatric chiropractor. After they hold a state license, pediatric chiropractors acquire an additional 200 hours of training. Look for a pediatric chiropractic physician who has been awarded the Certificate from the Academy Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (CACCP) or Diplomate from the Academy Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (DACCP). You can easily find a pediatric chiropractor for your infant or child if you feel it would be helpful for him.
Do you have further concerns for the “safety” of pediatric chiropractic treatment? Let me know, I promise I will respond!