The human spine is arguably the most interesting and vital part of our body. It supports our entire body and without it, we would literally collapse! How much do you know about your child’s spine? Dr Kelvin Ng points out 10 important facts parents should know about their child’s spine.
1. There are 24 bones in the spine, made up of 7 in the neck, 12 in the upper back and 5 in the lower back
2. Birthing trauma: Unknown to most parents, the birthing process can be a traumatic and stressful event for your child. A medical doctor, Dr Gutmann, in his 1990 research, found that of all the babies he studied, the first spinal bones of the more than 90% of the babies were out of its proper position. This is more prevalent in babies who had undergone interventions such as forceps, vacuum, C-section, pulling or tugging of the baby’s neck during delivery. Fortunately, this can be rectified via chiropractic care.
3. By the time a child reaches 5 years old, it is estimated that he or she could have fallen 2000 times, of which 200 can be detrimental to the spine.
4. Misalignments: Minor events in life such as falling while learning to walk, birthing process, carrying heaving bags, poor sitting or sleeping postures, etc can cause bones in the spine to move out of position.
5. The function of the spine: The 24-bone-spine protects the spinal cord and nerve which connects the brain to the rest of the body. The spine and nerve system, therefore, holds the key to your child’s and your health.
6. Cartilages: Your baby’s spine starts off as fragile membrane and cartilage and after 3 months, they start to turn into bones.
7. Your baby’s spine (side view) start as a shape of a C. Over time, 3 curves form and become the shape of an inverted C joined by an S.
8. Optimum health: Any bones which go out of position can prevent your baby from growing to his or her fullest potential. A pediatric chiropractor can help you ensure that your child’s spine is well aligned and growth and development is optimal.
9. As the twig bends, so grows the tree: It is easier to nurture a plant while it is young and make sure it grows into a straight tree then to try to straighten it once it has become a tree. Similarly, it is easier to make sure your child’s spine is growing properly and in its optimal alignment from young than to try to align it when they are older.
10. Signs: Some common signs of spinal stress in babies include excessive crying or colic, torticollis (neck tilted to one side), frequent colds and illness, delayed developmental milestones, gait and balance problems, ear infections, etc.
Contributed by Dr Kelvin Ng, Family Health Chiropractic Clinic
A Singaporean chiropractor who provides chiropractic care to patients of all ages, including babies, children and pregnant women, Dr Kelvin Ng received his training in USA and is a professional member of The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) and International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
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