How can a baby have a spine problem?

Not all babies are born with comfortable and full moving necks, shoulders, and hips. Some babies sustain muscle or joint strains or injuries early in life.

It is tempting to think that all babies are born with perfectly functioning muscles and joints. And why not? They are brand new and look so perfect.

Our Chiropractor, Dr Richard Mathers has been an Adelaide Chiropractor for a long time and have checked hundreds of infants. It is not uncommon for him to see necks and shoulders that have lost over 50% of their motion in a particular direction. Some of these babies are clearly uncomfortable in certain positions.

How can spine joint/muscle injuries occur in a infant? Two likely ways include:

1. Awkward infant positioning in late pregnancy
2. Delivery Forces
1. Awkward Body Position for Extended Periods in Late Pregnancy

When a baby reaches the end of the pregnancy term, their available space to move around and vary their posture can become limited. Ideally, their body remains in a near-neutral position during this phase, where no singular joint is overly stretched or compressed.

However, a baby may settle into a position with a substantial head tilt (or turn) or their arm twisted relative to their body for days or weeks. This process is more likely with large babies or twins because of reduced available space.

In addition, if an infant’s head is engaged down in the birth canal towards late pregnancy, the head may be extended, turned, or tilted relative to the body for extended periods.

Being stuck in that position may create compressional or stretching forces in certain tissues in the neck, shoulder, or lower spine.

2. Delivery Forces

Contraction force from the mother’s uterus and abdomen is required to drive the baby down through the birth canal.

Even in ideal circumstances, there will be some compression loading through the baby’s body during delivery.

Strain on the joints of the spine and shoulders is likely to increase with longer labour times. Additional physical assistance required to deliver the baby (forceps/ventouse) may also increase the likelihood of stress or strain occurring.

What can a parent do?

If you suspect your baby does not have a comfortable or full moving neck, shoulder or hip, schedule an obligation free check-up with us today.