We often get questions at the office about Chiropractic care for babies. Questions include:” Is it safe?”,  “Does it work?”, “What can Chiropractic do for my baby?” or “Will it hurt my baby?”. But the most common question we get is “How does a Chiropractor adjust a baby’s neck”. In this blog, we’ll answer the major questions and concerns parents may have when deciding on bringing their baby into the office. We’ll also cover the incredible benefits of chiropractic care for infants.


How does a Chiropractor adjust a baby’s neck?

Chiropractic adjustments on infants are safe, gentle and effective. Gentle pressure is applied to the vertebrae (joints of the spine) to check for movement. Moving slowly up the spine, if a joint feels stuck, we simply hold there until the muscles relax and movement is restored. The same goes for the neck, gentle pressure is maintained until the area relaxes and proper movement is restored. There is no twisting motion to perform the adjustment or popping noise (like many adults notice). It is a completely different method of adjusting than older children and adults due to the flexible nature of infant’s spines. I always warn parents that it’s very boring to watch! 


Does it hurt? 

Not at all! The amount of fingertip pressure used is the same as you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato. Babies’ necks and spines are mostly made of cartilage at this stage and their support muscles are not fully developed yet. Very little pressure is required to encourage joint mobility. We just hold our finger position on the affected segment and wait for baby’s body to relax and do the rest. A lot of babies even fall asleep during their adjustment! 

Why should I bring my baby in to get adjusted?

Growing in the womb, then being born is hard work and even the best births can be traumatic. Babies spend the majority of their time in the womb in the fetal position then are expected to stretch out and relax after birth. Many factors can impede that, like a c-section birth or a quick labor.  A series of bio-mechanical events need to happen in order for baby to be born into the world and all of those put stresses on their tiny bodies. Gentle adjustments help lengthen the spine and relieve unnecessary pressures on the spine allowing the baby to grow and develop properly outside the womb. 

Let your mind wander for a moment….Imagine that your baby’s body is a garden, and the nervous system is a garden hose. If you have a kink in the hose, the garden won’t get enough water and it won’t grow as well. Same goes for our spines! Nervous system interference prevents our bodies from functioning at 100%. Babies can’t tell us they’re hurting, but they can show us!

Common issues that we help parents overcome are:

  • Sleeping issues

  • Colic

  • Digestive issues (constipation, painful gas, etc)

  • Latch troubles

  • General discomfort

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Torticollis or difficulties turning head to one side

  • Plagiocephaly (AKA “flat head syndrome”)

  • Spit up or reflux


Does it work?

Now that we know HOW infant adjustments are done - parents often want to know if it actually works! ABSOLUTELY! Here are some of the benefits: 

  • Longer and more peaceful sleep
  • More easily consolable and less fussy 
  • Reduced spit up and reflux
  • Improved mood
  • Ability to be set down independently and enjoy alone time
  • Helps encourage regular, non-straining bowel movements and gas (reduces constipation issues)
  • Improved latch
  • Increased neck mobility
  • Improved head shape 

Are there any side effects?

The majority of babies that are adjusted will have a great nap following their adjustment and a big bowel movement. A large number of them often fall asleep during their adjustment! There are always a few babies that might have some minor muscle discomfort the day/evening of their adjustment (especially babies that present with more severe muscles spasms or symptoms) but after a few extra cuddles, they fall into a more restful sleep and wake up a whole new baby!

Is Pediatric Chiropractic for you Baby?

If you have any other questions regarding Chiropractic care for your baby, or are curious to see if adjustments can be beneficial to your child, don't hesitate to reach out to our office at (406) 551-2177. The majority of health insurance plans do cover Chiropractic care for your child (including Medicaid!). Our billing specialists are happy to assist you in determining what your child's benefits are. 


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