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Many chiropractors are saying that all babies need to have their spines checked to determine if vertebral subluxations are present. Subluxations may exist at birth, or they might even be produced by the birth process. New studies now indicate that many newborns have spinal nerve involvement that could threaten their health and, in some cases, their lives.
Abraham Towbin, M.D., a Harvard University pathologist, found evidence of spinal injury as a result of the birthing process. He called it “precipitous delivery techniques,” meaning excessive intervention—both mechanically and physically. Modern obstetrics seems to emphasize speed of delivery.
Dr. Towbin further states that he found evidence of spinal injury in many cases of unexplained crib deaths and respiratory conditions. He quotes an earlier study by Mathew Duncan, who discovered that it took 90 to 140 pounds of pull pressure on an infant to produce spinal damage.
Dr. Towbin states that this amount of pressure is not uncommon in the normal delivery process. According to his work, the birth process, under even the best-controlled conditions, is possibly a traumatic event for the newborn. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., states that obstetricians are trained to intervene, and adds that, in a substantial percentage of cases, this interference adversely affects the physical or intellectual capacity of the child for the rest of his or her life.
Can Chiropractic Help Children?
The effectiveness of chiropractic care for children has been a long-standing premise in our profession, and clinical results supporting this have been obtained for years. With the establishment of the Kentuckiana Children’s Center by Lorraine Golden, D.C., in Louisville, Kentucky, clinical data became more organized and the cases more dramatic. The center accepted more serious cases for care, and achieved results
Dr. Golden broke new ground in accepting serious cases— such as intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, etc.—on a regular basis and getting positive results. She was chastised by the medical profession and, to some extent, even by the chiropractic profession.
Now, more than ever, both chiropractic and medical sources are using research to document both the need and the effectiveness of chiropractic care for children. G. Gutmann, a German M.D., concluded in a paper published in 1987 in Manuelle Medizin that blocked nerve impulses at the atlas cause many clinical features, from central motor impairment to lower resistance of infections, especially in the ear, nose, and throat. He stated, “Chiropractic and radiological examinations are of decisive importance for diagnosis of the syndrome.” He further wrote that chiropractic can often bring about amazingly successful results.
Dr. Gutmann reported examination and adjustment of more than 1,000 infants with atlas blockages or subluxations, including three case reports. One report describes an 18-month-old boy with early relapsing tonsillitis, frequent enteritis, therapy-resistive conjunctivitis, frequent colds and earaches, and increasing
sleeping problems—fear of lying down or sleeping, falling from exhaustion, screaming during the night. After the first specific adjustment of the atlas, the child demanded to be put to bed and slept peacefully until morning. The conjunctivitis cleared completely, and his previously disturbed appetite returned to normal.
From this and other German medical studies, Dr. Gutmann concluded that approximately 80 percent of all children are not in autonomic balance and that many have atlas blockages or subluxations. He has been “constantly amazed how, even with the lightest adjustment with the index finger, the clinical picture normalizes, sometimes gradually, but often immediately.”
He reported that his colleague, Viola Frymann, examined a random group of 1,250 babies five days postpartum and found that 211 suffered from vomiting, hyperactivity, and sleeplessness. Manual examination revealed cervical strain in 95 percent of them. Release of this strain by specific manipulation “frequently resulted in immediate quieting, cessation of crying, muscular relaxation, and sleepiness.”
Dr. Gutmann’s highly significant conclusions are:
- “Observations of motor development and manual control of the occipito-atlanto-axial joint complex should be obligatory after every difficult birth.”
- With any developmental impairment, this joint complex should be examined and, if required, specifically
adjusted. “The success of adjustment overshadows every other type of treatment.”
Dr. Towbin, in his paper “Latent Spinal Cord and Brain Stem Injury in Newborn Infants,” writes, “…forceful longitudinal traction during delivery when combined with flexion and torsion of the vertebral axis is thought to be the most important cause of neonatal spinal injury.” It is evident that a close relationship exists between the traction stress applied and the occurrence of subluxations. He further states, “These injuries occur often during the birth process, but frequently escape diagnosis.” Modern techniques of obstetrics seem to emphasize the speed of completion of a birth, often at great cost to the newborn’s cranial and cervical biomechanics.
When All Else Fails…
In my own personal experience, chiropractic was the solution to my health problem. As a 3-year-old child, I had chronic asthma and pneumonia complications on a regular basis. After being dismissed from the hospital with a poor prognosis for my life, my father took me to a chiropractor as a last resort. After a brief period of care, my asthma disappeared and the complications ceased.
I can relate case after case in which chiropractic was successful after all else had been tried. Consider the following examples:
- A 7-year-old boy who was never supposed to develop beyond the mental age of 3 had six months of chiropractic care. Afterward, the child was enrolled in school in a normal curriculum.
- A 6-year-old girl, whose IQ was measured at 40, had two months of chiropractic care. Then her IQ was
measured at 80 by an independent agency that specialized in testing for intellectual disability.
- A 4-year-old boy who had Down syndrome could not, upon entry, walk, dress himself, or vocalize. After two months of chiropractic care, he began to talk, and after four months of care, he began to dress himself. After six months of care, he said his first words. My ego wanted the words to be “chiropractic” or “Dr. Webster,” but it was not to be so. His first words were to request his favorite food; prior to that, he could only grunt and point.
Chiropractors all over the world are caring for these cases and others like them, often obtaining dramatic results. The statement “you haven’t tried everything until you’ve tried chiropractic” is unquestionably true. It is no longer conjecture whether children can be helped under chiropractic care. Chiropractic can change lives. Just think of the thousands of lives it has changed. No longer are children suffering. What about the burdens being lifted from parents who searched and searched for answers and found them in chiropractic?
My life was changed through chiropractic, and there is a need for every child’s spine to be checked on a regular basis. Research proves it!
—Larry Webster, DC
Appearing in Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine Issues #60 & #69