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Traumatic Birth Syndrome
(Adapted from an article by Eric Plasker, D.C.)

Child birth complications is a subject nobody likes to discuss, but Chiropractors must be able to recognize spinal trauma in a newborn and deal with its effects. Dr. Godfrey Gutmann, a German medical researcher, discovered that more than 80% of the infants that he examined shortly after birth were suffering from injuries to the cervical spine (the neck), that caused all types of health problems.(1)

This condition, which could be labeled traumatic birth syndrome, is not new.

A researcher, J.M.Duncan, measured the amount of force it would take to severely injure a baby’s neck during delivery. He found that 90 pounds force was enough to cause stillbirth, while less than that would cause the spinal joints to sprain. He stated, "This is not what most obstetricians would consider a great force. Dr. Abraham Towbin, of the Harvard Medical School’s pathology department, presented a research paper at the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the American Academy For Cerebral Palsy.

Spinal cord and brain stem injuries occur often during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis In his research he found that, "The birth process, even under optimal conditions, is potentially a traumatic, crippling event for the baby. Spinal cord and brain stem injuries occur often during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis," he continued. "Death may occur during delivery or with respiratory function depressed, a short period after birth. Infants who survive the initial effects may be left with nervous system defects."(2)

What about the babies who don't show immediate signs of traumatic birth syndrome? What if the signs and symptoms don’t appear until later in life? What is the effect on that infant? How does it interfere with that baby’s potential to express itself completely and wholly as a human being? What kinds of symptoms and diseases could it cause later in life? These are questions that Chiropractors seek to address with their patients.

Neck Injuries
The neck is an area of the body where you cannot afford to have an injury remain uncorrected. Since injuries here can affect the brain stem, all the vital functions of the body are inhibited. This can occur whether there are symptoms present or not.

Do you remember what happened to Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman in the movies? He was riding his horse and fell forward on his head, breaking a bone in his upper neck. In a subsequent interview with television journalist Barbara Walters, it was apparent that Reeve was unable to breathe without the use of a ventilator machine. He also was unable to control his elimination system, and many of his other bodily functions were altered as well.

"Wait a minute! How could this be?" you might ask. "He didn't hurt his lungs. His bowel or his bladder. He hurt his neck."

This is precisely the point. When the neck is injured, the entire body is affected. Similarly, when there is an injury to another part of the spine, the organs and systems supplied by those nerves become dysfunctional. These spinal injuries, or vertebral subluxation complexes can alter the course of a persons life if they are not immediately corrected.

Several patients come to mind who illustrate this point. One woman had a full-term pregnancy, and her baby was fatally injured in the birth process. This stillbirth is the most severe effect of traumatic birth syndrome. Later she became pregnant again and was able to, thankfully, deliver a beautiful baby boy. You can be sure this child began receiving Chiropractic care right away.

Another patient a 5 year old child whose birth occurred via a very traumatic C-section, never had a properly functioning bladder. Her father, who was an eyewitness to the traumatic birth, described how his baby’s lower spine was twisted during the delivery. After just a month of Chiropractic care, the parents were amazed that their child's problem was gone. Their family is now committed to Chiropractic care as a way to maximize their health potential.

A third patient attended a lecture in our office after hearing about the importance of Chiropractic Wellness Care from her husband. After learning about traumatic birth syndrome and how it damages the spine and nerve system, she began to ask some serious questions about her own health.

Another patient said that her mother told her that when she was born she had bruises on her neck. She asked if there could be any connection between those nerves that were injured at birth and her thyroid gland. When she saw the nerve connection to the thyroid gland from the part of her neck that was bruised at birth, her mouth dropped wide open in shock. She asked, "Could that be why I developed thyroid cancer when I was 26 years old? Why didn't someone tell my mother about Chiropractic? "

While we may never know for sure if her birth injuries contributed to her illness, certainly the Chiropractic profession must explore this issue further.

One Chiropractic patient, who began care for a herniated disk in his neck, indicated that when he was 22 years old he had his gall bladder removed. He didn't understand why his gallbladder had failed at such a young age. The doctors didn't understand either. When he saw his x-rays for the first time, he noticed a huge "kink" in the bones between his shoulders. He immediately said, "What in the world is that? I don't have any pain there!"

His mouth dropped wide open when he learned that this was the area of his spine where the nerves supplied his gall bladder. He wished someone had told his mother about Chiropractic. If she had been informed, is it possible that he might still have his gall bladder? His birth was a forceps delivery!

Long-Term Effects
Do injuries at birth result in long term health problems? The evidence would suggest that may be so. The Traumatic Birth Syndrome Research Foundation has recently been established to explore the extent of the damage caused by traumatic birth syndrome and its impact on human health.

All Children Should Be Examined By A Chiropractor Immediately After Birth

Chiropractors around the world all would agree that we would much rather examine and adjust every new born baby on the planet than do one autopsy. We would much rather adjust babies than wait 26 years and learn about people having cancer or gall bladder disease in areas where their nerve systems had been injured and compromised since birth.

Traumatic birth syndrome, whether it causes symptoms immediately or just diminishes human potential over the course of a life time, must be dealt with immediately. All children should be examined by a Chiropractor immediately after birth. Parents should take this critical step to ensure that their children grow up as healthy as they are designed to be.

1. Gutmann, G., "Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome In Infants and Small children," Manuelle Medizin, 1987
2. Towbin, A., "Latent Spinal Cord and Brain Stem Injury in New Born Infants," Develop. Med, Child Neurol 11:54-68, 1969


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