Today’s research paper review is about a newborn infant that had difficulty breastfeeding and his head was misshapen after a vacuum extraction was used during his birth. This is a great case that shows you are never too young for Chiropractic care.
This boy was just 2 weeks old at the time of his first Chiropractic visit. His mother brought him in initially for difficulty breastfeeding. He was having trouble latching on during feedings. His pediatrician had noted that the bottom of his tongue, where it attaches, extended almost the full length of his tongue. This could make it difficult for him to nurse and was the likely cause. The typical treatment of this is to sever the attachment releasing the tongue to move freely. The mother decided she didn’t want to do the surgery and wanted to try an alternative first.
At the first visit with the Chiropractor he checked the infant’s spine for misalignments, or subluxations, which he found in the top bone in his neck, in his mid back and also in his pelvis. He also noted that the boy’s head was stuck in a rotated or turned posture to the right. Care from the Chiropractor focused on correcting the subluxations in his spine at the levels detected. After his third adjustment the mother reported that he was latching more easily during breastfeeding and it appeared the attachment of his tongue had reduced in size. By the 10th visit with the Chiropractor he was nursing regularly and had no visible deformity of his tongue. He had been to an oral motor specialist at the beginning of care and they confirmed the child didn’t need any surgery to correct his tongue.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how could adjustments to the spine affect a deformity of the tongue? I think there are several things going on in this case. The very early change in his ability to nurse likely came from the misalignments in his spine causing his head to be fixed in a rotated position. If he had discomfort in his neck when turning it to nurse that alone could cause nursing difficulties. The second thing that is happening shows the amazing healing power of the body when it doesn’t have nerve interference. Our nervous system controls all of the functions of our body. By correcting the spinal subluxations to allow a free flow of nerve signal from the brain to all of the tissues and cells of our body our body can heal itself. Once this boys spine was free of nerve interference his tongue was able to develop properly as shown by the fact that the attachment of his tongue physically changed over the course of his care to the point that the specialist no longer recommended the surgery to correct it.
Even though the boy was now nursing properly he wasn’t out of the woods yet. He had another problem the mother was concerned with.
At this time the mother brought up the issue of the boys head shape. During the birth process it was necessary to use a vacuum extraction. This is exactly what it sounds like if you’ve never experienced it. A vacuum is attached to the head of the infant during the birth process to help pull them out. Due to this process a common issue after birth is it will distort the bones of the skull and cause the child to have a misshapen head. The typical treatment involves putting the child in a hard helmet that realigns the bones of the skull as they grow.
The boy in our study had seen a pediatric neurologist who scheduled him to go into one of these helmets in a few weeks so the mother wanted to see if there was anything the Chiropractor could do to help before that happened. Due to the relatively short amount of time until he would be in the helmet the Chiropractor increased the visit frequency and began working on the bones of the skull. He used light pressure on the sutures of the skull (the area where the different skull bones line up to each other) to help realign the bones much like what was done with the spinal bones.
After his 6th visit the overall symmetry returned to his skull but he still had a slight slope to the bone in the front above the eyebrows. By his 10th visit his head shape was completely normal.
Now the mom had a happy healthy little boy that could nurse properly and had a normal shape to his head thanks to the Chiropractor and the innate healing power in all of our bodies.
It’s as simple as that.
By: Dr. Scott Szela
ref: J. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health April, 25, 2016