| Yes, I'm a chiropractor. I practice in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I adjust dancers, actresses, athletes, attorneys, bankers, producers, comedians, and hair stylists; and everything else in between. I adjust every type of person from every walk of life. I'm sure you all know that.
What you might not know is that I also adjust children—regularly—even babies.
My daughter Delilah received her first chiropractic adjustment when she was just one-hour-old. Now you might wonder why a newborn baby would need a chiropractic adjustment, since most of you probably associate chiropractic care with an injury or chronic pain. However, chiropractic also keeps the body functioning optimally by removing any physiological interference with the delicate nervous system.
The nervous system controls and coordinates all bodily processes, from heart rate to respiration to immune function. The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain and spinal cord, with bundles of nerves coming off the spinal cord to innervate (control) all the organs and tissues of the body. When a spinal bone is misaligned in such a way as to cause irritation to the sensitive nerve tissue, it can wreak havoc on the body.
A mal-alignment causing irritation to nerves is called a subluxation. Subluxations are not only misalignments, but the spinal joints are also usually stuck—that is, proper movement of the area is nil. This does in fact cause pain, but pain is not a necessary component of subluxations. Subluxations can present without pain, but neurological compromise can still be possible. And neurological compromise can cause plastic changes; in other words, permanent deformation. That's precisely why we adjust children. We start adjusting them before subluxations show external symptoms, or before physiological changes can take place.
But wait! Why would children have subluxations? Subluxations are usually associated with some sort of trauma—falls, auto accidents, things like that—so why children? Actually, the first traumatic experience for most babies born vaginally is the twisting and turning of the baby's head and neck by the obstetrician, to help the shoulders clear the relatively small opening of the canal. Now, mind you, I do not mean mental trauma, although birth really is a baby's first drastic life challenge. What I mostly mean here is physical trauma. Think about it: most babies go through hours of squeezing contractions, banging their little heads against the widening, but not so wide, cervical opening of the uterus, before they are placed exactly right to fit through the very tight vaginal canal. And that certainly isn't any joy ride. My daughter spent several hours partially stuck head first in the canal. Since we had the heart monitor up and running from the start, I got to witness first-hand her little heart rate dip to frighteningly low levels, sometimes for as long as three minutes, as an IV dripped pitosin into my wife's veins. Scary. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, our baby's head finally came out, and the doctor had to twist and turn it to help her shoulders follow. It was really very similar to wringing out a wash cloth. Holding one end firmly (baby's body in canal) and twisting the other end one way and then the other (baby's head). And that's how the first subluxation is born right along with baby on the first day of life.
Hey, I'm not mad. I'm happy they did it. They got my daughter out safe and sound. I'll trade a subluxation any day for my baby sitting snugly in my arms.
So, as I said, I adjusted my daughter within the first hour of her life. I did it while sitting in the nursery waiting for Mommy to be cleaned up. It was easy. While Delilah slept, I felt her little newborn spine and found her first cervical vertebra (atlas) jutting out to the right and back. I put my thumb on it and pressed ever so lightly. I held it for about five to ten seconds, felt it kind of sink away from my touch (pufp! is what I felt), and she let out a loud, “Wah!”
Done. Delilah's first adjustment.
I don't adjust her all that often…yet. She doesn't need it. I check her periodically, though. As children start to stand on their own—and fall—they develop their next set of subluxations in the pelvis and sacrum. Then as they get older, they start falling while in full sprints; they fall off bikes, roller skates, skate boards; they fall out of trees, off monkey bars, and get punched in the head. Don't you think these things might cause a subluxation or two? Delilah's not there yet—she's just eighteen months old—but I still check her and adjust her when she needs it.
Like I said, we all associate chiropractic care with pain relief and injury care—and it's great for that! But chiropractic's strongest benefit is to maintain the integrity of the vital nervous system, as nothing, and I mean nothing, can happen in the body without some input from the master control center. And for that, I wouldn't even think of not adjusting my daughter regularly. It's the only way I can sleep soundly at night, knowing that my little angel is well adjusted at all times.
**See the incredible effects of a properly functioning nervous system on display in this hysterical video showcasing my daughter's unusually adept use of chopsticks.
- December 23, 2007
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