Birth Trauma

birth traumaHave you wondered why chiropractors see newborns for chiropractic care? Birth trauma can happen in nearly all newborns, but often goes undetected. Infants aren’t complaining about back pain, so why check their little spines?

It’s not uncommon for trauma to occur in a newborn spine, often called Traumatic Birth Syndrome or TBS. TBS was identified and attempts to bring more awareness to this condition occurred in the late 1990s. Chiropractors felt the public should be made aware of this potentially serious childhood condition resulting from birth trauma.


What is birth trauma or Traumatic Birth Syndrome?

TBS is a condition in which the spine is injured during or shortly after the delivery process resulting in nerve system damage or interference. The birth trauma can go undetected for one simple reason: no one looks for it or checks for it.

TBS includes any birth trauma causing a vertebra to move out of its normal alignment, creating pressure on the nerves – often referred by chiropractors as a subluxation or Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Since infants are so pliable, nothing is broken but that shift out of alignment can start to cause problems shortly thereafter. 

This can occur when:

  • The head, neck, or any other part of the spine and pelvis of the infant
    have been pulled and twisted during the birth process
  • The birth process is prolonged
  • The delivery process is difficult
  • Extraction aids are used during delivery (i.e. forceps, vacuum, etc.)
  • The child is delivered by Caesarian section

Injuries resulting from birth trauma may go unnoticed during the delivery process, so you’ll want to assume a neck twisting maneuver likely occurred. Birth trauma (TBS) may be painless in nearly all infants and adults, but there are symptoms that most often occur when the condition has become noticeably symptomatic.

When we see newborn patients, its usually from a parent that just wants their child checked – no symptoms. We do this at no charge. If we do find a misalignment of a vertebra, it’s usually going to be the very first vertebra, the one most likely to misalign during the birth process.

The adjustment to a newborn is very gentle, no popping or cracking occurs during the process. We will use our pinkie finger to apply pressure on a specific vertebra to move a specific direction. The baby without symptoms often will sleep during the entire process.

The baby with symptoms may express some discomfort when the misaligned area is touched, often due to a build up of inflammation in that area. Symptomatic babies are usually brought into our office experiencing ear infections, colic, or digestive difficulties.

Getting your newborn checked requires about 15 – 20 minutes of time for the entire office visit. More information about chiropractic care related to the birth process can be found at