Many studies have shown that back pain and other problems can occur from infancy, to childhood, throughout past adolescence and into adulthood. When spinal bones become misaligned, it can partially disrupt the nerve signals that pass between the spinal cord and the brain. Areas where spinal alignment is abnormal are called subluxations. Some researchers believe that the birth process is stressful enough to affect the spine, and that infant chiropractic care can help correct problems early or detect ones that may not be evident for many years.
Immediate signs of such injuries can be brain swelling and bleeding, as well as neurological deficits and breathing problems. Some physicians believe that learning disabilities, vision and hearing problems, and headaches sometimes result from trauma to the nervous system during birth. Chiropractic care for babies typically involves checking for misalignments in the vertebra, or back bones. Signs of neurological deficits or brain trauma can also be assessed.
Infant chiropractic care is generally significant because of the risk of injury to a baby when passing through the birth canal. Pulling and twisting motions can lead to injuries of the back, head, and other parts of the body, while ligaments in the pelvis can limit the amount of space a baby has to pass through. Physical stress inside the uterus can also contribute to spinal, muscular, and neurological problems because of the limited space in which the fetus can move.
Some physicians suggest that a mother give birth in an upright position rather than lying on the back. Infant chiropractic care can help to determine if there are any injuries or other problems with the spine immediately after birth. As a baby transitions from crawling to walking, infant chiropractic care can also be important. The change in movement often puts stress on the spine; constant crying, called colic, has sometimes been attributed to back pain or issues related to strain on the spine or nerves.
Researchers have found that many children, throughout the school years, experience back pain as well. Some studies have stressed the need for chiropractic care for kids because of the rapid changes in the musculoskeletal system during growth. Heavy backpacks can also put strain on the spine. As with infant chiropractic care, manipulation of structures in the back can be accomplished with the fingers instead of the whole hand. Problems are often treated by addressing nutrition as well, while conditions can be diagnosed and monitored with physical examinations and medical scans.