Dr. Andrea Toppin, DC
Birth is miraculous and beautiful in nature, but it is also a complex and hard process – not only on mom but also on baby! Birth is stressful for baby regardless of how they are born. Cesarean, emergency cesarean, vaginal with use of forceps or suction, or just an uncomplicated vaginal birth – all types of birth are physically impactful and somewhat traumatic on the newborn. It’s estimated that there about 90 pounds of pressure is forced on the cervical spine (neck) during a normal vaginal birth – and that’s WITHOUT the use of forceps or suction.
The first year of a child’s life is the most critical for their development. Babies are going through many different stages and growing very quickly. From the impact of birth, breastfeeding, rolling over, crawling, and learning to walk – babies go through a lot and their musculoskeletal system needs to be assessed and treated properly. Pediatric chiropractic care for newborns can help promote proper growth and development as well as limit any other health challenges such as nursing issues, torticollis, ear infections, constipation, reflux, and the list goes on.
At Washington Park Chiropractic, our pediatric chiropractors are trained to treat infants as soon as they are born. We recommend bringing newborns in sooner rather than later (usually 2-4 weeks post birth). Bringing baby in sooner can help avoid latching/breastfeeding issues, colic, sleep difficulties, reflux, torticollis, flat spots on the head and more. If baby has no overt symptoms we recommend a well-spine newborn exam and regular exams to preventative developmental roadblocks as your child grows. We can help ensure your little one reaches all of their critical milestones and stays healthy.
What are signs my newborn may need chiropractic care?
Gas pains and digestive issues
Excessive spitting up
Torticollis (limited head/neck movement)
Limited movements/mobility/arching of the back
Flat spots on the head
History and Inspection
During an initial infant chiropractic appointment, we begin by discussing mom's pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I believe this is the the most important piece of a newborn history. This can give us clues as to what is wrong with baby, why baby is uncomfortable, or why they have a mobility issue. During the is conversation we are observing baby in their carseat or on mom or dad for any signs of asymmetry, discomfort or abnormal movement. We then discuss if baby has any current health conditions, relevant medical history, medication/supplements used, and baby’s nutrition source (breastfed, formula, etc.). Asking if baby has any breastfeeding issues – latching is a big one – is also very important. Feeding and sleeping schedules are also important factors to discuss.
Next is the exam portion – which is the most important part! When they are on our treating table in a comfy cushion, we are looking for a possible head tilt/rotation, foot flare, stiffness/rigidity throughout the body, rotation/lateral flexion in the hips, shoulders, or neck, eye gaze, fisting of hands, tremors, tics, skin markings, hair tufts, symmetry (eyes, ears, head shape, mouth), head shape, tongue tie/lip tie, and eye discharge. We then check baby’s reflexes. Primitive reflexes are an important factor in development of head control, muscle tone sensory integration and development. We also check passive and active range of motion throughout the body, hip orthopedic tests (to rule out hip dysplasia), and palpation for muscle tension.
Infant chiropractic care is extremely gentle. Our doctors choose specific techniques based upon what the infant needs as well as the preference of the parents. Adjusting an infant can look like a gentle massage. The pressure used by the practitioner is similar to the pressure one uses to test the ripeness of fruit. Along with the adjustment, we are also helping to guide the infant’s proper movement and motion. Our gentle adjustments allow us to relieve pressure and tension where it is needed in the body – allowing the body to perform its functions properly, so baby is comfortable and can develop healthily and happily. We adjust the full spine usually along with any cranial, TMJ (jaw), and extremity work they may need.
Home care is very important! We generally demonstrate stretches or ergonomic modifications for the parents to do at home with baby in order for progress to be seen as soon as possible. Frequency and consistency of care – especially with an acute condition – is very crucial. With an acute condition, we typically treat baby 2 times a week for 2 weeks then as they show progress we gradually push out their frequency of appointments to weekly, bi weekly, monthly, and then once they are ready for wellness care – we see them quarterly (every 3 months).
Home visits are also a service we provide for newborns if you aren’t quite ready to go into the office post birth. Babies respond so well to care the sooner they are seen. Dr. Toppin and Dr. Goodman provide home visits for an extra cost (due to travel). Call/text or email our front desk for more information!
Our patients report that their babies have improved sleeping, behavior, mood, and quality of life after seeing us consistently. Schedule your newborn with Dr. Toppin or Dr. Goodman now and see the benefits for yourself.
1. Resolution of Failure to Thrive in an Infant Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce
Vertebral Subluxation: A Case Report & Review of the Literature.Journal of Pediatric,
Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic ~ January 6, 2021 ~ Pages 1-4. Santos J,
Alcantara J. Abstract
2. Comparison of child report and parent-proxy report using PROMIS-25 in the
chiropractic care for children. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Aug;52:102406. Alcantara
J, Whetten A, Alcantara J. Abstract
3. The quality of life of children under chiropractic care as measured by the PROMIS
parent-proxy short forms. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020 May;39:101134. Alcantara
J, Whetten A, Ohm J, Alcantara J. Abstract
Andrea Toppin, DC, FRC, SFMA is a sports chiropractor with an emphasis in women’s health (prenatal and postpartum) and pediatrics. As a former division 1 collegiate runner and a current elite marathoner, she uses her own experience as an athlete to help patients get out of pain and get back to their active lifestyles. Areas of special interest include running injuries, prenatal and postpartum care, newborn care, instrument assisted soft tissue techniques, and rehab/strength training. Stay connected with Dr. Toppin on Instagram @washparkchiro or @doctordre____.