Constipation is probably the most ubiquitous symptom seen in infants who come to our office. While it is particularly common for infants to experience varying degrees of constipation, discomfort, bloating, hardened stools and protracted periods between bowel movments aka BMs (i.e. greater than 2-3 days) are definitely not ok and are considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be abnormal. Gastrointestinal distress in an infant is almost always accompanied by colicky behavior or excessive crying, which again, is absolutely not ok. Typical medical strategies to alleviate symptoms of constipation are to prescribe laxatives and glycerin-based suppositories, which carry their own cadre of potential side effects, not the least of which is that the cause of the problem is not corrected and may persist into adulthood.
Chiropractors analyze and correct misaligned and malfunctioning spinal joints known as vertebral subluxations which – in these cases – adversely affect nerves communicating instructions to a child’s digestive tract and may contribute to symptoms such as constipation. A particularly common permutation of vertebral subluxation known as the “Pelvic Distortion Subluxation Complex” or PDSC in which a child’s pelvis and sacroiliac joint become stuck in-utero, contributes to irritation and/or alteration of the normal parasympathetic tone to and from the child’s pelvic floor, intestinal lining, colon, rectum and associated digestive organs. It is believed that PDSC shows up on the left side in as many as 95% of cases and as a result, a large majority of children who experience trauma in-utero or at birth, particularly in caesarean section will experience these symptoms.
In Liam’s case, not only was constipation a considerable problem with strained bowel movements occurring only once in 10-14 days, but he exhibited a common sign of PDSC known commonly as the “butt scoot,” during which he would crawl by favoring his right leg while sliding on his left buttock. This is a serious and potentially damaging behavior that prohibited Liam from programming parts of his developing brain to accept “cross-crawl” information normally achieved by crawling symmetrically. Children typically are delayed in walking with symptoms like this.
After 2 gentle adjustments to his lumbar spine, pelvis and sacrum Liam began passing bowel movements every 3-4 days. After 4 weeks, Liam was regularly and comfortably passing bowel movements at least once daily. With additional remediation, Liam’s PDSC began to correct allowing him to ultimately extend his left leg, stand and finally walk symmetrically and evenly.
Dr Daniel Bronstein is the clinic director of Beacon Chiropractic in Grover Beach CA and specializes in the chiropractic care of children and pregnant mommas. He is Webster Technique Certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and devotes the core of practice to helping children and families live healthy lives.
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