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Childhood Spinal Problems

Journal of Occupational Trauma

When we think of spinal problems, we usually think of adults. However, spinal stress starts at birth and continues throughout one’s life. In fact, the birth process is extremely hard on the newborns spine because as the newborns head appears, doctors pull their head up to find the lower shoulder and then down to receive the upper shoulder before pulling them out into the world.

A study conducted by Dr. Godfrey Gutmann that looked at over 1,000 newborns found that more than 80% of them suffered some sort of trauma to the cervical region, neck and upper back, of their spines. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy says that “Spinal cord and brainstem injuries occur often during the process of birth, but frequently escape diagnosis. In infants… there may be lasting neurological defects reflecting the primary injury.”
But spinal cord injuries don’t stop there in children; they are constantly falling and getting hurt as they explore their surroundings. On average, children fall 25 times per day when learning to walk and after that, they fall off their bikes, the playground, and get injured playing sports too! If these misalignments are unaddressed they will continue to build up over time and create more problems long term.

Finally, children’s posture causes excess stress and injury on the spine. The head should sit directly over the shoulders, but this doesn’t usually happen. As the head protrudes forward, extra strain is placed on the muscles of the neck and upper back. Shockingly, for every inch the head protrudes forward, the neck must support an extra 10 pounds of weight.

This poor posture can be caused by many things, including heavy backpacks and too much time spent looking down at electronic screens. Kids between the ages of 2 and 17 spend nearly 4.5 hours per day in front of some sort of media (TV, computers, video games, etc). That is mind blowing!

So bring your child in to see Dr. Rawlings to help correct spinal problems and posture before it’s too late.

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