Can My Baby See a Chiropractor?

Baby receving chiropractic massage

SanyaSM / Getty Images

You have settled into life postpartum and it's time to get back into some of the self-care routines you have neglected over the crazy past weeks. You are feeling a little achy from carrying your newborn around, so the first appointment you decide to book (with permission from your primary healthcare provider, of course) is a visit to your chiropractor. This leads you to wonder if babies can also see a chiropractor.

In fact, babies can see a chiropractor at any age, and there may be some benefits to it. "Chiropractic care is gentle and non-invasive, and it can be very helpful for babies who are experiencing colic, gas, or other types of discomfort," says Steve Hruby, DC, a doctor of chiropractic and the founder of Kaizen Progressive Health, a chiropractic care facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here's what you need to know about your baby and chiropractic care.

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a hands-on therapy meant to address the spin and musculoskeletal system. Touted for relieving back pain or headaches, people are turning to chiropractic in increasing numbers.

Using their hands, a chiropractor will put gentle pressure on the joints in an effort to realign the spine. The idea behind chiropractic is that spinal maladjustment is the root cause of muscular pain and other health problems.

Is It Safe for My Baby to See a Chiropractor?

It is generally considered safe for babies to see a pediatric chiropractor. Regular chiropractors may have some knowledge on how to treat babies, but it's best to choose a provider who either has experience with babies or a pediatric-specific certification.

There is some evidence that chiropractic may help with colic, gas, sleep, or poor latch. If your baby struggles with these maladies, it might be worth booking them an appointment with a pediatric chiropractor. Talk to their pediatrician to see if this is something that could help your little one first, though.

Your baby can start chiropractic from birth but it may be advisable to wait a bit. "There is no minimum age for chiropractic care, but most practitioners prefer to work with babies who are at least a few weeks old," notes Dr. Hruby. "This gives them time to develop a little bit of muscle tone and to be able to hold their head up."

Every baby is different. Be sure to consult with a pediatrician if you have any questions about your infant seeing a chiropractor.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Babies

Chiropractic care for babies has several known benefits. Let's take a look at a few of them.

Colic Relief

All babies cry, but if your infant cries excessively, they may have colic. It can be difficult to know what causes colic since babies can't tell us. But it may be related to digestive issues, general discomfort, or sensitivity to stimulation.

There is some evidence that chiropractic care may reduce the symptoms of colic. If you feel like you have tried everything to help your crying baby, taking them to a chiropractor may be worth a try.

Improved Sleep

It's normal for babies to wake up frequently at night, but if your baby is not sleeping longer stretches or is inconsolable at most wakings, there might be a deeper issue.

Chiropractic care may get to the root of what is disrupting your baby's sleep, be that a stiff neck, gastrointestinal reflux, or inefficient feeding. A chiropractor may be able to help your baby with these ailments (and therefore you!) so you can both get more sleep.

Relief From Gastrointestinal Reflux

Babies diagnosed with gastrointestinal reflux (GER) may spit up a lot after breastfeeding and be very uncomfortable when put down to sleep. Babies with GER may cry a lot and have trouble sleeping, among other problems. There is some evidence that chiropractic care may help to lessen symptoms of GER.

Resolved Latching Issues

If your baby is having trouble latching on while breastfeeding, a pediatric chiropractor may be able to help. There is some evidence that chiropractic intervention may improve a baby's ability to suckle efficiently.

"In my practice, I have seen that chiropractic care can be particularly helpful in helping both mothers and babies in addressing latching issues that can make breastfeeding difficult," says Marla Lerner-Powers, DC, a doctor of chiropractic and the owner of NeuroBlossom Chiropractic, a neurocircuitry clinic.

Presumably, a stiff neck may lead to difficulty latching on and feeding. If the adjustment fixes the musculoskeletal issue of the stiff neck, the feeding problems may be resolved.

Safety Precautions

There are a few safety precautions to keep in mind if you bring your baby to a chiropractor. First, choose a pediatric chiropractor. Chiropractic for babies won't look the same as chiropractic for adults. Babies need care that matches their specific needs.

"Chiropractors who work with babies know how to perform age-appropriate adjustments for them, regardless of what technique they are using," says Dr. Lerner-Powers. "I’ve adjusted newborns who were just a few days old with...an especially gentle chiropractic method."

Next, infant chiropractic should never be stressful or uncomfortable for your baby. Always stay with your infant during the appointment to monitor their emotional and physical state. You may want to hold your baby in your arms while the chiropractor performs the adjustment.

A Word From Verywell

It is generally safe for your baby to see a pediatric chiropractor. There is some evidence that infant chiropractic can reduce long crying spells and improve sleep difficulties. If your baby suffers from gas, colic, reflux, or isn't sleeping well, seeing a chiropractor may help.

Infant chiropractic may also help with latching issues. If your baby isn't feeding well, consider chiropractic to address any underlying issues.

Look for a chiropractor who has experience with infants. You should stay with your baby during the appointment and you may wish to hold them throughout the appointment.

Before seeing a chiropractor, reach out to your pediatrician to make sure that it is the right choice for your baby.

7 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Miller JE, Newell D, Bolton JE. Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy on infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2012;35(8):600-607. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.09.010.

  2. Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 and Over. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. Dobson, Dawn, et al. “Manipulative Therapies for Infantile Colic.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, edited by Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group, Dec. 2012. DOI.org (Crossref). doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004796.pub2.

  4. Colic Relief Tips for Parents. American Academy of Pediatrics.

  5. Alcantara J, Anderson R. Chiropractic care of a pediatric patient with symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, fuss-cry-irritability with sleep disorder syndrome and irritable infant syndrome of musculoskeletal origin. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2008;52(4):248-255.

  6. Gastrointenstinal Reflux & Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease: Parent FAQs. American Academy of Pediatrics.

  7. Holleman AC, Nee J, Knaap SFC. Chiropractic management of breast-feeding difficulties: a case report. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2011;10(3):199-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2011.01.010.