To be honest, the image above isn’t terribly graphic but I did want to give you a fair warning. Take a second look at the above photos, specifically at the force placed on the infant’s neck. As can be seen, an infant’s neck goes through significant mechanical stress (compression, traction, extension and rotation) during delivery – estimates are as great as 50-70 pounds of force during NORMAL delivery. Many infants recover from the forces of birth but others suffer birth trauma – one source estimates 29 out of every 1,000 infants suffer some form of birth trauma.
Secondary Conditions from birth trauma to the cervical spine include:
- Failure to Thrive
- Difficult Sleeping
- Difficult Breastfeeding
- Facial or Spinal Asymmetry
- Decreased Movement – only 1 arm, only in 1 direction, difficult in either direction
- Decreased Immune Function – leading to frequent ear infections
This list is certainly not exhaustive but contains several Secondary Conditions that may be the result of birth trauma to the spine. Increased risk of birth trauma is seen in heavier infants (more than 8 pounds) forceps/instruments used during birth, delivery prior to 37 weeks, difficult or prolonged labor and abnormal fetal position – breech, head up, shoulder or buttocks first.
I recommend a detailed NeuroStructural Examination to all parents that suspect damage to their child’s spine. Addressing birth trauma early ensures healthy development and decreases the risk of complications later in life.
In other news – mark your calendars! On Wednesday August 5th at 6:15pm I will be hosting a presentation in my office titled Good Fats/Bad Fats. You can follow this link for more information.
As always, please forward this email to those that could benefit from this information.
Until next time,
Dr. Chris Hanson