Messages exchanged between the brain and body (through billions of nerves) guide the transformation of a newborn child into an adult. Each message provides instructions to the child's growing body to provide for immune function, coordination of muscle activity, repair and growth of tissues, respiration and digestion among others.
As with adults, upper cervical (neck) misalignments can have significant effects upon the nervous system's ability to transmit information to and from a child's body.
How can newborns and children develop spinal injuries early in life? It can begin with the normal birthing process.1-5 Even during the gentlest of births, presentation of the baby's head through the birth canal requires physical pressure exerted by the mother. This can force the baby's neck to twist or bend causing misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae. Use of suction and/or forceps can compound the problem. Breech births place the newborn at unique risk for developing upper cervical problems depending upon the presentation and total time of labor.
If the newborn makes it through the birthing process unaffected, the inevitable tumbles and falls of childhood increase the risk of injury to the upper cervical spine potentially compromising brain-body communication. An evaluation is necessary in each child's case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.