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Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care

It is common to get strange looks from people I talk to about taking infants to the chiropractor.  I know what is going through their heads: is it safe…babies don’t have back pain…do babies get adjusted the same way I do?  These are legitimate concerns for any parent, but to answer them I will begin with the most important question: WHY?

Let’s start with the obvious.  When was the last time you tried to squeeze through a 10cm hole?

“It’s kind of hot in these rhinos”

Being born is tough work, there are a lot of pressures and forces being exerted onto your baby during their journey into the world.  A current study demonstrated that 90% of newborns suffered birth trauma and associated strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth:

Over 1500 babies were studied periodically across an eight year period by Viola Frymann, an American osteopathic doctor. All babies were examined within the first five days of birth; in fact, many were checked within the first 24 hours of birth. This study revealed that approximately:

• 10% of the newborn babies had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms.

• 10% had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers.

• The remaining 80% all had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism.

Left uncorrected this trauma continues to impact your baby’s spinal growth and development, reducing the healthy function of their nervous system.  This can cause many health challenges later in life that could easily have been prevented.

The first year of life is the greatest time of spinal elongation

A baby’s spine lengthens by 50% by the time they reach one year old!  At no other time does this growth happen so rapidly, so you want to make sure your baby is in proper alignment ensuring proper symmetrical growth.

The Hueter-Volkman law states that bones change shape with pressure by slowing bone growth in response to pressure (compression forces).  Any spinal misalignment changes the balance of pressure across the spinal bones and can lead to asymmetric bone development.  This is the difference between having a spine like a straight, strong Oak tree versus a crooked tree.

Spinal Curves - Lordosis and KyphosisThe first year of life is also the time of spinal curvature development.  There are curves called “lordosis” present in your neck and lower back, and curves called a “kyphosis” in your mid-back and sacrum.

These spinal curves are necessary for movement, balance, upright posture, protection, and shock absorption.  Without being in alignment during this crucial time your baby’s spinal curves may not develop properly – giving them a poor foundation for later in life.

Optimize the function of the nervous system

The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, and it processes everything that your body does.  Movement, a heartbeat, seeing a baby smile, feeling the sun on your skin, laughing, smelling, creativity – all coordinated by the brain and spinal cord.

In infants the central nervous system also controls their growth and development.  Being the time of greatest brain and proprioceptor (body position sensors) development, you want to ensure the health of the nervous system.  This is what chiropractors who take care of babies look for, disturbances in their nervous systems that interfere with healthy growth and development.

Remember: If your baby’s spine stays out of balance, it can put tension on their nervous system.

Is it safe for infants to get adjusted?

Infant Chiropractic Adjustment

Yes.  Adverse events linked to pediatric chiropractic care are virtually non-existent, estimated at 1 in 250 million pediatric visits.  There is not a single medical procedure safer than that, but I would encourage parents seek out chiropractors who routinely take care of children in their practice.

When adjusting a newborn, a skilled chiropractor will only use the amount of pressure that you would use to comfortably push on your eye.  The child gets checked by hand and with technology, then is placed in position (usually in mommy’s lap), and gentle pressure is applied.  That’s all there is to it.  Simple, safe, effective.

Click here to read Part 2 of Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care.

Would you have any reservations to taking your infant to get adjusted?  Have you heard objections to babies seeing a chiropractor?  What other things have you done for newborn health?  I’d love to hear from you, please share in the comments below.


Bonus: Check out Dr. Jennifer’s 10 Reasons Parents Take Healthy Children to Chiropractors


About Cole Bradburn

I'm a writer and doctor in lifelong pursuit of health, happiness, and adventure. I currently live in Raleigh, NC with the love of my life and our amazing boys.

  • Tracy Stewart

    Thanks for the information! We took our son, James, straight from being released from the hospital to our chiropractor. James has always been very healthy. In fact, he is 3 1/2 years old and has never had an antibiotic (not so much as an ear infection….which I have been told all kids get?!?). I attribute much of the health of our family to our regular chiropractor visits!

    • Tracy, thanks for sharing. I am always amazed at how healthy kids who get regular adjustments are, and the difference you see between them and other children. You are doing a great job with them! Please continue to share your stories, and it was great to finally meet you last week.

      The average child gets two ear infections per year until they are 3 years old. I like to make a point that average isn’t normal.

  • Kani

    My brother-in-law was told by his chiropractor in Minnesota to occassionally hold their infant (carefully and for not too long) upside down by the ankles to allow his spine to self-decompress. The baby LOVED being upside down, giggled and smiled every time, and you could actually see his body tick when his spine adjusted itself. I’ve hung upside down in those leg cuff things before and liked it, I’m guessing he felt the same relaxation. It was really neat to see and so far they have a very healthy almost 2 year old. I’m guessing that chiropractor doesn’t do infants, but this works great for them until he gets a little bigger to go to their office.

    • Kani,
      That is great advice for newborns! In many cases they will easily self-correct while being upside down. There are times where strain from the birthing process, or falls (off of bed or changing table) require a specific adjustment, or the parents may be uncomfortable holding the baby upside down – you would be surprised how many are.

      Thanks for your feedback, and continue hanging upside down yourself (as long as you aren’t on birth control and/or smoking due to blood clot possibility) – it is very good to reverse the effect of gravity on your body, no matter if you are 5 days old or 50 years.

  • Love the Ace Ventura picture, never really thought of birth being like that but I guess it is!

  • Great article and very informative! I’ll be sharing!

  • Margie Camomile

    My girls came with me to the chiropractor since they were babies. My chiropractor would adjust them for free if they had a little tumble that could have caused any misalignment. I remember him adjusting them on his lap. As the girls aged they got adjusted as needed, especially when they played sports and had bigger tumbles, or they just felt they needed to have an adjustment. I take care of moms and babies after delivery, and can see what you mean about adjustments helping from birth.

    • Margie, thanks for taking time to share your experiences. It always warms my heart to hear of children being taken care of so they can grow into the healthy adolescents and adults they were born to be.

      What kind of work do you do? Is it in a hospital setting?

  • I agree. Babies who don’t get adjusted often grow up with either back pain or spinal problems. It’s best to go to your pediatrician first before going to the chiropractor to make sure that it is safe for your baby to undergo this kind of treatment.

  • John M.

     Hmmm…never thought of this. I really, truly think its a great idea, though.

    • It is amazing to see how well infants respond.  I have come to find that it is much easier to grow healthy children rather than repair broken adults.  Thanks for the feedback!

  • Jene26

    Thanks for responding earlier. I’ve been doing some other reading on this topic and you are right on target. I believe chiropractic care could be revolutionary in healthcare for the future.

    • Sure thing John. It sounds like we are of like mind on this topic, great to hear that you’ve been digging for some different answers!

  • I’ve never really though of the importance of taking your child to a chiropractor at a young age. But now I see the benefits it may bring in doing so. I would have to agree with the post since it will surely help your child’s bone condition as he grows older.

  • Since the skeletal system of babies is softer compared to adults’, realigning their spines can be easier. If babies undergo chiropractic care (despite their young age), they can look forward to less back pains and headaches in the future.

  • During early growth, a child’s spinal cord needs to be well taken care of so as not to develop spinal problems as they get older. Chiropractic treatment is indeed very helpful.  It assures good spinal alignment while children grow.  Constant visit to a chiropractor is therefore a must.

  • Though some may think that chiropractic care is dangerous for infants, it is actually very helpful for their growth.  The procedure will help in aligning infants’ bones as they grow older.

  • Pingback: Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care | Trinity Chiropractic Wellness()

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  • Hannah

    Thank you for this! I’m a CA in Washington and working on a project to reach more pregnant mothers and educating them about the benefits of chiropractic for their newborns. This was really helpful!

    • You are welcome, glad it was helpful and I am happy to hear that you are spreading the message to new momma’s to be 🙂

  • Nicholas Fogelson, MD

    Well here’s a doctor’s view, which you will no doubt disagree with.

    Chiropractic care is based on a completely fictitious view of human physiology, where complex physiologic processes such as immune responses and organ function are governed by imperceptible misalignments of the spinal column. I say imperceptible as these “subluxations” cannot be confirmed in any objective way, and are only ‘perceived’ by the chiropractor that claims to be able to feel them.
    Chiropractors have willinginly entered into a field based on a falsehood, and while they may not know it themselves, they are complete charlatans. When adjusting the back, they may provide some temporary relief, just as cracking my knuckles makes my fingers loose for a few moments. When they limit their practice to this, they seem to be somewhat helpful to people who believe they are helped by this practice. But when they believe that their adjustments of fictitious subluxations of the spine will treat actual disease, and convince patients that they should avoid actual science based medicine, they are a menace.
    To take a child to a chiropractor for adjustments of their spine is absolute folly, and to do so at the expense of actual pediatric care is child abuse.

    • George

      Does a baby “Believe” in chiropractic? As you claim, chiropractors are only helpful to people who believe they are helped? I just hope you have actually gone to a chiropractor and been educated, before you make such broad statements like this. I feel sorry for MDs who feel they have to bring other professions down, just because they are different than yours. But I have nothing but love for you, and hope that someday you can become unsubluxated so that you can see the world in a more open way.

    • Nicholas,

      There is a reason that for your medical training you study toxicology in detail and we study physiology and neurology in detail. Just as I won’t make recommendations on people visiting their medical doctor and their treatments (because it is outside my scope and expertise), I don’t think you should (and neither does many states, as it is malpractice to do so) make broad assumptions on something outside of your training and knowledge base.

      You are misinformed to think that we think immune response and organ function are governed by subluxations. Obviously something in the human body isn’t so black and white. If you are well trained in physiology, you will understand something called dysafferentation (or afferent bombardment of the dorsal horn) and the effects that has on the brain’s perception of the body and subsequent efferents. To keep it short, a subluxation will cause incorrect proprioceptive firing, which drives the perception of the body by the brain, and then causes incorrect efferent communication back to the body. A subluxation is not a “bone out of place,” but is improper neurologic communication. In dysafferentation, surrounding paravertebral muscles and end organs can be affected to varying degrees. Dysafferentation has been shown to result in anatomical and functional changes in the brain itself.

      So what does a subluxation cause? Dysafferentation, dysponesis, dyskinesia, dysautonomia (read more here – All to varying degrees, and different in each human body due to their own adaptations and stress responses. Chiropractors do not treat disease, but they do address a lack of ease in the normal functioning of the human body (dis-ease).

      As for objective measurements, we have plenty. Here’s a few we use in my office:

      sEMG, Thermography, Computerized Range of Motion, Motion X-rays (if needed), Heart Rate Variability, and Algometry. I could only hope that every doctor in the medical field has such objective measurements they systematically use when prescribing medication, as medical errors in hospitals alone kill at least 185,000 / year and injure over 1 million per year ( and respectively). That’s just the ones that are considered “mistakes.” Many also perish from properly administered medical treatment and aren’t included in those numbers.

      As you see, I like to have references for what I say rather than make declarations based on personal bias. I truly hope you have the opportunity to visit a chiropractor some day and learn a more vitalistic approach to the body vs. a mechanistic one.

      As for one personal view I have: To raise up a kid and teach them to reach for “drugs” every time something goes wrong, and to forcefully inject them with previously unheard of numbers of vaccines in the name of passive immunity is child abuse. The human body is made to adapt and thrive, not to be chemically altered or dependent.

      • Desiree Lombos

        bam baby! very educated, very calm, non condescending. That’s what differs us chiropractors to other health care professions- most especially in comparison to medical doctors. 🙂

        • Keep up the good work Desiree. Always nice to hear from a fellow chiropractor.

          • Levi Pulver

            Great response!!!

        • kev

          Unfortunately, Yours was rather condescending and childish. Any mis-understanding of the chiropractic profession is a result of chiropractors not communicating what they do properly and taking part in advancement of chiropractic research. I come from a medical family but a chiropractor saved my life after many medical doctors turned me away. I do not blame the MDs, i blame the system. Chiropractic can have a huge positive impact in healthcare and help change that. Comments like the one you made do not help in my opinion. Please watch your words.

          There a plenty of great MDs and chiropractors and there are plenty of horrible ones. It is foolish and ignorant to lump people into categories based on the sticker behind their name. Just my thoughts.

          I have friends who are alive thanks to chiropractic (received as a baby). There is a time and a place for everything! Our culture has brainwashed us into the quick fix, the surgeries, and the pills. People think they have no options. Spread the good news. Ignore the bullshit.

          • Desiree Lombos

            hah! look who’s talking and look who’s using condescending words. All I said was that chiros are DIFFERENT than MDs. I dont wanna laugh but ROFLMAO. I am a chiropractic student and ready to save the world soon as I get out. I dont know about you but seems like your vocab is full of condescending words..seems like you are sad. Don’t worry. NON of them were real to me 🙂 And I have nothing to prove to YOU or anybodye else. Chiropractors can enjoy life save lives and say what they want to say and nothing is childish about that thank you.

        • maddy

          You reckon? The bit implying actual doctors don’t support goid nutrition or exercise, but, rather, only drugs came across as quite condescending, I thought.

          • Sue Burtenshaw

            That’s what MD do they push drugs

      • Patrick Penza

        I love the venom spewed by “Doctor” Nicholas Fogelson”. He must be friends with the doctor at the ER I saw a few years ago when I had 2 herniated disks between my L5, L4, and L3 vertebrae and thought it was a good idea to lift my leg straight up when I was lying on my back and tell me to “relax”. He must also believe that he can get all the information needed from a simple x-ray of the bone structure and forget about disc health from an MRI.
        I appreciate your well-educated and researched response Cole to someone who clearly has blinders on and potentially heavy shareholdings with various Pharmaceutical companies. You don’t have to feel the need to deject the idea, I am putting it out there.
        I have NEEDED to see a Chiropractor since the age of 17 when I got by back blown out by a very large lineman in football. Turns out I also have 2 genetically deteriorating disks in my lower back. There isn’t a drug on the market that will help HEAL this injury only prevent pain. Chiropractic care however, helps to alleviate the stress on these discs and allows me to live a functional life free of surgery.
        Back issues are just ONE of MANY issues that Chiropractic care has PROVEN to help much more than pills and chemical creations that “alleviate” pain sensors and mask the key issues.
        Migraines, sinus swelling, ear infections, arm pain, fibromyalgia, CTD, etc. The list goes on and on.
        Hopefully one day in our near future Chiropractors will get the respect they deserve for the services they provide from the “Medical Community”

        • I agree. Thank you for sharing your story Patrick.

      • Gobsmaked Gary

        Good reply to what was nothing more than troll bait.

    • Jan Taplin

      Dear Nicholas,
      You may want to watch “The Great Chiropractic Debate” on YouTube

    • Complete and total nonsense Dr. I have numerous friends who have gone under the knife for a horrific procedure called Spinal Fusion. This barbaric procedure has hurt more people than it has helped. I decided to go the Chiro way and go through non surgical Decompression for 2 months. After the therapy my pain is almost completely gone while my friends are all going under the knife for a 2nd time and one of them for a 3rd time and he is addicted to the pain medicine. You MD’s think you have all the answers and let me tell you from my PERSONAL experience you don’t. You know how to cut …. good for you.

  • Very nice post…

  • Angri Mahn

    Cole – you obviously have an issue with alternate points of view…if you did not, you would not moderate the comments that justifiably disagree with your worldview.

    • Funny you should mention that. While I’m labeled as “Moderator” (due to how disqus comments function) I have never removed a comment on this site and allow all opinions to be expressed. Why else would Nicholas Fogelson’s comment still be on here?

      Your comment was caught in the spam filter, it has been fixed.

      • Angri Mahn

        “Spam filter?” Really? What tripped it?

        • Unsure. About 2-5 comments per month wind up in the spam filter. It has only happened since I switched to the disqus comments plugin which replaces the one that ships with wordpress. I don’t know what their algorithm for detecting spam is, but it’s much more stringent than others.

          • Kenny

            Sir, your name is really Angri? That says a lot for what your comments are expressing. From everything that I’ve read, Cole is simply educating the ever-so uneducated public on what Chiropractic has come to learn over the past 118 years. What Chiropractic has come to learn is that the body has the capability of healing itself. Please refer back to a time when you cut your hand, leg, head or some part of your body. No Band-Aid is needed to heal…no Bacitracin was needed to heal the wound. As a matter of fact no antibiotics are needed to heal the wound. Now, if the wound is severe enough stitching or staples may be required to enhance healing time…but that is all they are doing…enhancing TIME. Please tell me how you evaluate a child for ear infection in your clinic Dr. Mahn? Is it by parent-related consultation and appearance or do you also add in a culture of the pathogen from the ear?? I can only give you data from personal experience and from testimonials from the same question presented to people I’ve encountered. 99% of the time the diagnosis is “Ear infection” and the child is given some form of antibiotic with only a visual ‘exam’ of the external ear. Rarely will the child allow a person to look into the ear due to pain. Where I see the problem is that most often times the doctor has no idea if said infection is bacterial (commonly treated with antibiotics and a proper treatment based on the ‘medical’ model) or if its viral (antibiotics have no bearing on such virus’ therefore not a viable treatment option). How would a Chiropractor evaluate the same child?? By the same standards an M.D. would with one exception. The Chiropractor would place his/her hands on the child and evaluate the upper cervical spine. This is where the nerves that give life to the ears lie. If there is a problem in the ear, very often times there is a problem with C2,3 or 4. An adjustment that is specific to that region of the neck can be delivered and in many cases the ear infection goes away slightly faster than it would with an antibiotic. However, one slight difference in the post treatment phase…the Chiropractic child has much fewer recurring episodes over the ‘medically’ treated patient. M.D.’s deserver praise, in which they have been given quite a bit of through this site. When I’m in an emergency situation, I want to rely on our expert care givers in the medical field. However, when I’m in an acute or chronic situation where my body simply is not functioning correctly…I’d rather depend on the internal intelligence that brought 2 cells together, formed a viable living being that heals and regulates itself with no outside influence. If my body needs help, my first helper will come from a Chiropractic adjustment because ONLY that will return my body to a state of optimal homeostasis.

  • Would you rather me call it Spinal Segmental Sensitization (a hyperactive state of the dorsal horn caused by bombardment of nociceptive impulses from sensitized and/or damaged tissue)?

    How about afferent bombardment of the dorsal horn?

    Spinal cord segment facilitation (which is what the osteopaths call it)?

    While I can tell from your vitriol that I won’t be able to have an open conversation with you about a different perspective (seriously, why do all these “professionals” go into name calling on the internet?), I will pose this question:

    How good is the science surrounding traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals if they are always hurting people? There is lots of bias, and then you try to hold everyone else to your biased standards. For example:

    The Vioxx cover up and recall – The record indicates that the actions of both Merck and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contributed to the nearly 30,000 excess cases of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths that resulted from the use of the drug between 1999 and 2003. While Merck sought to cover up the danger of its own drug to protect its bottom line, the US government aided the company by approving sale of the drug without conducting any serious investigation into potential harmful consequences of its use.

    • In July 2012, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay a fine of $3 billion to resolve liabilities regarding promotion of Paxil and Avandia and other drugs and failure to report safety data.

    The Celebrex debacle – Pfizer, and its partner Pharmacia, only released the first six months of data from a year-long study.

    After saying all that, I believe that the medical profession provides great value in emergency care. They always have. I do not believe that data is on their side when attempting to take care of lifestyle disease with pharmaceuticals. We have mountains of “medical research” and yet the health of our country is failing in spite of the fact that we spend more and more on healthcare and continue to get sicker as a nation (US is ranked 38th by WHO).

    If there is an alternative to that model, I’m all in. And I’m guessing that many people are coming with me.

  • I can say we agree on the fact that many people make poor choices regardless of research showing what is good for them. What I think is harmful is people using pharmaceuticals prescribed from their doctors (who I believe to be good intentioned) to continue making poor choices while covering up some of the consequences. The problem then only propagates and will require more medication for the remainder of their lives which has a huge cost and very little benefit. The only fix to lifestyle disease is changing the lifestyle.

    Like I said, I am a supporter of heroic medicine, or emergency care. MD’s are great at that and we need them, but working in health care I see that the majority of them are helping people cope with chronic lifestyle issues by giving them pills. Not to mention the pressure placed on many MD’s who work in a corporate or clinic setting to see a patient every 7 minutes, which doesn’t leave time for anything but prescribing.

    I also think we both know much medical research is highly funded and also biased by the major pharmaceutical companies. Allopathy is the delivery vehicle for the decisions and malfeasance propagated by pharma and government, and therefore has some level of responsibility to keep their own science pure.

    Here are articles supporting why I think medical care is failing:

    Kilo CM, Larson EB: JAMA 2009;302(1):89.
    “On balance, the data remain imprecise, and the benefits that the U.S. health care currently deliver may not outweigh the aggregate health harm it imparts. Health care contributes only about 10% toward reducing premature death; even a perfectly designed delivery system would prevent only a modest proportion of premature death.”

    Couple that with Dr. Barbara Starfield’s paper also published in JAMA that showed 225,000 die per year from iatrogenic causes, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

    And finally, David Eddy MD, PhD in the BMJ – “Only 15% of medical interventions are supported by scientific evidence. This is partly because only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound.”

    Again, it is the job of a profession to police their own science.

    Where I think we have our biggest divide is addressing the Randomized Controlled Trial as what you are defining as science. The problem for RCT’s if that is what you are looking for in chiropractic is the same problems that RCT’s have in surgery. They are simply not good for skill dependent interventions. Show me RCT’s demonstrating efficacy of coronary bypass, or even knee surgery. The evidence is not there, but because of our understanding of anatomy and physiology, we deduce it’s a good thing to do. That’s why chiropractic care (like surgery) is full of case studies and meta-analysis, but not RCT’s.

    Looking within allopathy, the greatest indictment against the use of RCT is that there is no evidence that clinicians following protocols of evidence based medicine have better outcomes than those who don’t.

    A double blind randomized controlled clinical trial is determined by the quality of the question more than the quality of the outcomes. For example:

    Is sunshine good for wilting plants? Divide plants into two groups for 6 weeks – those that receive real sunshine and those that receive fake sunshine. At the end of the 6 weeks, all the plants are still wilting.
    Conclusion – Sunshine is not good for wilting plants

    Let’s add water, maybe that was the problem. Now we have four groups: real sunshine/real water, real sunshine/fake water, fake sunshine/real water, and fake sunshine/fake water. All plants are still wilting at the end of six weeks.
    Allopathic conclusion – water and sunshine are no good for wilting plants.

    But does sunshine move plants to a state of homeostasis and balance? Of course it does, plants will die without water and sunshine. So the intelligent question (from the perspective of a chiropractic approach) is what is it that plants require in order to function properly? What are the toxicities and deficiencies in the environment that drive this plant away from health.

    You can’t measure vitalistic intervention efficacy with an allopathic model (driven by symptoms), it is measured by “did the target move towards homeostasis/get healthier.” The body, and how it functions and responds to it’s environment as a whole is the lens which we look through, versus “did the symptoms improve,” which can be fickle.

    • Angri Mahn

      The articles you cite are interesting, but I fail to see where they support the efficacy of chiropractic. I am not sure where you derive your “seven minute doctor visit” from, but would be interested in any supporting, credible evidence.

      Please do not attempt to cloud your inability to provide evidence to chiropractics clinical efficacy to the “inability to conduct RCTs on coronary bypasses or knee surgeries” – chiropractic is nothing like either one of those extremely complex procedures. There are no credible RCTs supporting any veracity of chiropractic.

      You attempt to discredit RCTs by providing results that do not align with real (science-based) world. May I ask what you are talking about when you say “fake sunshine?” Are you referring to growing lamps – which provide comparable results to real sunshine. And I am really curious what do you mean by “fake water” – I await your explanation for that!

      It is disheartening to see that you make up an RCT that fails for all conditions, and then you contradict yourself when you swoop in as the chiropractor asking the “intelligent question” of “what is that plants and require in order to function properly,” after having earlier stated that plants will die without food and water – how can you say that after your bogus RCT had plants dying under all conditions? Regardless, self-contradictory or not, it is not that important.

      What *is* important that your claim of “vitalistic intervention efficacy” cannot be measured. This gets to one of the chiropractics greatest fallacies – the belief in this “vitalistic force,” which has never been proven to exist. Of course, if you cannot measure or detect this force, than you cannot be held account for any results (or lack thereof) for manipulating said force – such as being able to objectively measure if you got the target “to move toward health,” all without having to provide a clinical definition of “health.” Great fodder for Star Wars movies, but no applicability to the real world we live in.

      Best of luck in your future endeavors – you have stacked the deck against yourself if you really believe in the non-critical review of chiropractic. The rest of us will continue practicing and using SBM.

      • Here is the research you seem to crave demonstrating clinical efficacy of chiropractic (and in medical journals, might I add). I see the trap and logical fallacy you have created by setting the criteria for what you deem acceptable by your own bias. At this point it doesn’t matter what I show you since you are so opposed to the idea, but I’ll play along. I do believe in critical review of chiropractic (and you’ll see some below), but it’s not the end all be all. It has to be taken into context with case studies, physician experience, etc… I will also assume that you have never had your C1 adjusted by an expert chiropractor, so your claim that “chiropractic is nothing like those incredibly complex procedures” has no factual basis or merit. An adjustment delivered at the right location, with the right velocity, amplitude and line of drive is every bit as complex. You may be confusing the invasive nature of surgery as the operational definition of complex in this case, and since you haven’t had the experience yourself I understand that perspective, even if it is incorrect.

        By the way, many in the medical profession have been embracing vitalism (why else does the placebo work). I assumed you wouldn’t still embrace cartesian dualism, but after our conversations I’m not so sure. Here’s a reference if you need it –

        Chiropractic Research (Enjoy)

        “[Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy] in conjunction with [standard medical care] offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard care, for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low back pain.”
        –Goertz et al. (2013), Spine

        In a Randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measures showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.
        — Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), British Medical Journal

        “Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”
        – Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

        “Reduced odds of surgery were observed for…those whose first provider was a chiropractor. 42.7% of workers [with back injuries] who first saw a surgeon had surgery, in contrast to only 1.5% of those who saw a chiropractor.”
        – Keeney et al (2012), Spine

        “In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care.”
        – Hoving et al (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

        “Chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades.”
        – Meeker, Haldeman (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine

        Cramer GD, Tuck NR Jr, Knudsen JT, Fonda SD, Schliesser JS, Fournier JT, Patel P. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 (Jul-Aug); 23 (6): 380-394

        As to the 7 minute doctor visits:

        Peter Salgo, a professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons:

        Groenewegen PP, Hutten JBF. Workload and job satisfaction among general practitioners: a review of the literature. Soc Sci Med. 1991;32:1111–9

        • Angri Mahn

          Looks like my reply hit your spam filter…

  • Andrew B

    I commend you on how well you handled the critism and people trying to bash one of the most rewarding and amazing professions in the world! It’s crazy how many people don’t know exactly what chiropractors do or what it takes just to become one. I found this article to be a good read. Especially the comments. I am not overly sure how one can argue the spinal cord and the nervous system to be not intimately connected. Keep up the good work and educated postings.

    • Andrew,
      Thank you very much for taking a minute to leave your thoughts, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Like you, I am amazed that other educated fields do not understand the impact on the nervous system. Appreciate your encouragement.

  • Christian

    The nervous system is the master control system of the body, but it does not run the body. A corpse has all the same parts as the living body. It is the innate (inborn) intelligence of the body, the “life force”, that provides for all expression of life. The better the expression of this life force (which is undeniably present, but we have not fully understood it nor fully found a way to measure), the greater experience we have in this life. Chiropractic care is for everybody, from birth to death.

  • Dr. Mike Stanley, D.C.

    Great article, and I also commend you on how you handled the criticism. It always is fun for me to treat members of the medical community. When I explain it to them, the way you just did, they get it. Suddenly years of bias and misinformation looks foolish to them and many of them end up being great patients.

    I don’t think Dr. Fogelson realized that he was going to get an educated response from you. It seemed he came in here looking for easy fodder which 1) He did not find and 2) Shame on him for speaking on a subject on which he is ignorant. As you stated, if I do not give my patients medical advice, I would prefer it if they didn’t give their patients chiropractic advice.

    Dr. Fogelson, a little respect towards Dr. Bradburn. When you come on here saying “Well here’s a doctor’s view”, you are minimizing Dr. Bradburn’s own title and the hard work that he put in to rightly earn that title.

    Keep up the great work, Dr. Bradburn. It’s obvious you are a dedicated doctor with a passion for helping people.

    Dr. Mike Stanley, D.C.
    Wichita, KS

    • Thank you Dr. Stanley, I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I agree that Dr. Fogelson wasn’t expecting or looking for a dialogue. I think it’s exactly that dialogue that will break down walls, just as you mentioned in your experiences.

      I appreciate you taking a moment to leave your thoughts, and you keep up the great work in Kansas as well. I take great enjoyment in hearing from fellow chiropractors around the country.

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  • Summer Miller

    I have a daughter nearing ten months that I’ve had adjusted since birth. She goes out at c2 and two other places – between shoulder blades and lower back. Should we be looking at cranial sacral therapy to keep her in place? Can’t find a reason she loses adjustments, usually within a few days… Any ideas?

    • Hey Summer, good to hear from you. Without being able to do a chiropractic analysis on your daughter, it is hard to make appropriate recommendations, but I will share my thoughts.

      First, is there some kind of persistent stress that is causing her subluxations to occur? The stress could be physical (body position, falls and tumbles, carseat position, baby sleeping on stomach or improper use of an infant carrier), chemical (something in the environment – toxins via detergents, household cleaners, mold… or something toxic or deficient in her diet), and emotional (not likely at her age, but we know that children need to feel safe and loved).

      Second, if there is nothing in her environment or physical day to day, I would recommend seeking out cranial-sacral therapy in addition to the adjustments. We actually had to have a view visits to a cranial-sacral therapist with our son between 6mos and 8 mos of age.

      Let me know if you have further questions. Hope that helps.

      *One thing I commonly see that can cause subluxations in the low back/mid back is when parents change the kids diaper by lifting the legs (and therefore lifting their butt) up towards the ceiling or by pulling the legs up towards the baby’s head. Ideally, you undo the the side tabs of the diaper, and then roll the baby onto their side to wipe and replace with a fresh diaper, then return the baby to lying on his/her back. This way you aren’t putting as much pressure through the spine.

      • penguin1424

        WOW thanks for the comment about changing the diaper. Never even thought about how that would affect them. Will be changing the way I do it!

        • Glad it helped, and glad to hear that your baby is doing better.

  • Lydia Crist

    As a new D.C. of only 3 months or so, I’m extremely happy with this article, but even more so with your ability to provide such calm and educated responses to the negative comments.

    I work with two incredible chiropractors who have already entrusted me with some of the harder cases we have going in our office right now: an 18-year-old 1 year post-major car accident (she was supposed to die and then she was supposed to be brain dead and then she was supposed to be paraplegic but here she comes walking into our office with some tremors and sensory deficits but very much alive and moving) and a woman with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3. Both ladies had their doctors laugh at them when they said they were seeing a chiropractor and were told that it was dangerous. Both of them came back to me and told me this. And there are plenty more patients in our office that have had similar encounters with their medical doctors.

    Sadly, we can’t always rid people of their unfounded biases. But at least we’re not being jailed any longer.

  • Philip

    I’m no MD or DC but an fairly well aducated. I don’t however buy the argument that an infant needs adjusting. Their bones and spines are softer and are meant to go through a 10cm opening. They are softer so the can adjust on their own and grow as they should. I can see where it would be necessary if forceps or other tools of force were used to pull the child out, but a natural birthed child should have no need to go to the chiropractor. While your studies showed those 10/10/80%, I don’t believe it showed anything about pre and post chiro care. I’d love to see a study of infants from each group which also has a control group of no care and a group of those treated by a chiropractor as infants and followed up around age 8 to see the differences in their spine.

    My wife has been going for years and I just started yesterday for a herniated disc L5 and S1. For us, it’s for years for not taking care if our body. I understand the need for a chiropractor, just not an infant/

  • Nice post…

  • Roma Nall DC

    Dr. Bradburn, I love your explanations of science based information and results. Research that is proven in the neurology effects that is highlighted in our chiropractic education and profession. Your eloquence and patience in your responses to edgy insultive ill-informed and un-informed people is to be applauded.

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  • Kim Salameh

    As a massage therapist previously employed in an office that provided adjustments for infants, newborns and adults, I personally witnessed the amazing effects of chiropractic care. Parents would come in at their wits end. THeir colicky babies hadn’t slept for weeks. After ONE adjustment the parents would rave about the wonderful results! Time after time. Working hand in hand with the chiropractor was so rewarding! I saw amazing changes in adult spine xrays after a few short months,say for scoliotic patients. Neuromuscular and chiropractic care can dramatically reduce pain.

    • Thanks for adding your experiences Kim! We also work with massage therapists in our office, as we find that together we can get remarkable results.

  • Erin

    This is a great article! You write with such clarity and respond to criticism with a lot of grace. I can’t believe I am just now seeing your blog but I am excited to be a subscriber now! Thank you because I know it takes an incredible time commitment to keep up all this writing and investigation in to the facts!

  • penguin1424

    My son’s name is Cole!!!

    OK, this is a long read and I’m posting it based on my own experience. Cole (4 months on 2-12-16) has been having colicky issues for over 5 weeks. We started prevacid for the burping that would cause severe screaming. The doctor told me to look up PURPLE crying. The PURPLE crying method does tend to explain the colic issues but doesn’t really offer any relief. The prevacid helped but goodness, he was becoming increasingly hard to calm and soothe. Warm baths didn’t help. Swaddling did after about 20 minutes of screaming. And I’m talking SCREAMING….blood curdling, hair raising, bone chilling, sell your baby screaming! So back to the dr yesterday (2-19) for his 4 month checkup. Told her the prevacid seem to help with the screaming pain after burping but the screaming otherwise was not any better. I told the nurse that on Monday he cried for about 6.5 hours straight sans 2 one hour naps and the 3 times I had a bottle in his mouth. She tilted her head at me and said “really?” was it REALLY that long because you know when they are crying, it seems like forever. I was like yeah b***h, I’m not 17. I logged it and timed it so as not to lose my sanity. She just rolled her eyes. So about 2 and 1/2 seconds into the exam, Cole started screaming. Yes SCREAMING. So I’m looking at the doctor going…um…yeah….this is what he does. I couldn’t even hear most of what she was saying because I couldn’t focus on anything but him crying. He even got 2 vaccines and didn’t flinch because he was so pissed. So I’m looking at her for guidance and she just says, “well, he should get over it by 6 months so good luck.” GOOD LUCK?? Are you freaking SERIOUS??? So I was pissed when I left there. Happened to have dinner with a few friends going through the exact same thing. Their GI doc has their kiddos on double the dose of prevacid as Cole and said it has made a WORLD of difference. So I get on first thing this morning for the GI and I have an appointment for MARCH 16. Yeah, great. So I decided that I was going to go to the chiropractor. I have one that I have used that has been really helpful. He is more of a sports medicine doc and had worked with the Astros, Texans, and the Rockets. I told him, “please fix him, he is broken”. He asked what was going on and I told him the doc told me “good luck”. He said no no no, I can help. I showed him a video I took of Cole where he was screaming and arching his back and rolling side to side. How can you look at that and then tell me he is not in pain? So we get taken back and he holds Cole out in front of me and pops his back in 5 places. I could hear it. Then he laid him down and popped his neck and twisted him to pop his hips. He freaking laughed through the whole adjustment!! AND OMG let me tell you….he almost went comatose because he was so relaxed. So we got home and over the course of the day, he would sleep 2 hours, wake up and eat a 6 oz bottle, then go back to sleep for 2 hours. He did that until about 9pm. Then he played in the floor for about an hour, had another small bottle and was back to sleep by 11pm. Normally it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes of intense walking and bouncing to get him to fall asleep but not tonight. Oh my gosh, I have a new baby. And even if it was just for the day, him and mommy definitely had a good day!!! I know it is very early in his treatment but there was nothing else that I changed in his routine EXCEPT for the adjustment. Anyone is welcome to argue with me but let me send you a 5 minute video of him screaming and play that over and over again for 5 HOURS and then tell me you wouldn’t do absolutely anything to help your baby! I, of course, AM NOT foregoing medical care of my child as Dr. Fogelson suggests for people seeking chiropractic care. I get vaccines and regular check ups for both of my children (I have a 3 year old as well). I’m an educated professional (with two AA’s, a BS and an MBA) but currently a stay at home mom and I just want the best for my babies. So if spinal adjustment is “folly” and gives me the results I have experienced for the past 3 days, then I guess I’ll take folly and run with it!

    • Glad to hear that you had a great day with your son. That response (sleep/eat/sleep) is so common after a baby gets adjusted. His nervous system and body are finally relaxing and also processing the adjustment. I’m sure it is beyond words to meet your little Cole as he really is when he’s not in pain/discomfort. I’m so glad you made it to a chiropractor while he is very young, it will make an incredible difference.

      Thank you for sharing your story, it helps everyone here that is reading this.

  • nalisha

    Hi Cole, I am curious if you have any article recommendations for me to read about infant chiropractic care. I am writing a research article for my clinical observation/research class in college and the articles I have found are not closely related to pediatric chiropractic which is what I am interested in. I know there is much debate on whether or not infants should get adjusted, but much of what I am finding is opinion based and biased against chiropractic. Thank you

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    Good article, Thanks!