By Alexander Germanis
The first few years of life are those with the most development, growth, and, unfortunately, risk. As babies rapidly develop, gain strength in their limbs, and learn to crawl and walk, it also means the increased explorations of the world that go along with development increases their chances of injury.
Whatever physical trauma our little ones might experience in those developmental years, according to Dr. Jess Bruin of Eastland Chiropractic, they have probably already undergone much worse. “Birth is potentially the most traumatic experience you’re going to go through in life,” Dr. Bruin says. “The obstetrician’s or midwife’s job are to get the baby out, and they are experts at this. So, sometimes that can give the baby a strain in the shoulder, neck, or knee. We’re trying to counteract that.”
This means it is never too early for someone to see a chiropractor. As Dr. Bruin talked about in the last article, things like in-utero constraint can pose a serious problem in the proper development of a baby while still in the womb. The Webster Technique, utilized by chiropractors like Dr. Bruin, was developed specifically to aid the mother, which in turn enables the baby to essentially help itself.
After birth, however, some babies can benefit from more direct chiropractic techniques. The techniques and the benefits can be applied almost immediately after birth. “My youngest [patient] came in at four days old,” Dr. Bruin recalls. “I had another one that was eight days old and born six-weeks premature. I saw mom and the baby at the same time.”
The important thing to realize when it comes to babies and small children is that chiropractic adjustments are definitely not the same for them as they are with adults. The misconception is that the baby is being physically manipulated in the same way. “That never happens,” Dr. Bruin assures. “The amount of pressure I’m using could be described as either what you would use when you test a tomato or what you can comfortably tolerate when you press your eyeball.” With a baby, the spinal composition is such that it only requires a small amount of pressure in order to make necessary adjustments.
“For adults, for the most part, I do a hands-on cervical adjustment,” she explains. “I never ever do that with a baby or turn their head or things like that. When I’m working on them, I prefer them to be facing their mom the whole time. Mom can see me, baby sees mom, and everybody is comfortable. We sit on a table about a foot apart. Then they understand everything that’s taking place before it happens.”
Babies are treated with the greatest of care. Dr. Bruin explains that the same pillows she uses for applying the Webster Technique for the mother before she has given birth can continue to be used afterward to cradle and support the baby during adjustments. “It’s like a soft, cushy bowl, so they can move, but are secure,” she describes. “So, when they move, I can just move with them.”
No baby can develop and grow without proper nutrition, so a baby who is unable to nurse is a serious issue. Kathy, the mother of Emma, brought her newborn daughter in to Eastland Chiropractic with just such a problem. “Emma wasn’t nursing properly,” Kathy remembers. “She couldn’t turn her head correctly in order to be able to nurse. Dr. Hoelscher, Dr. Bruin’s father and founder of Eastland Chiropractic, adjusted her, and she was able to nurse that day. She has continued receiving chiropractic care and has periodic checkups with Dr. Bruin to this day.”
Again, these are not major, forceful adjustments being applied to the babies. Like building a ship in a bottle, only the smallest and most delicate of adjustments can align things properly.
As children continue to grow, however, the potential for problems in their development increases. Fortunately, chiropractic care can be appropriate for all ages.
To learn about how chiropractic techniques can continue to help as children grow, read “Chiropractic for All Ages, Part 3” in next month’s issue of Healthy Cells Magazine.
For more information on Chiropractic care, healthy lifestyle, and nutrition, please contact Jess Bruin, D.C. at Eastland Chiropractic & Lifestyle Center, 309-662-8418, or online at www.EastlandChiro.com. Their office is located at 2406 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.
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