Traumatic Subluxation in Children

Study in medical journal supports chiropractic's various models for traumatic subluxation in children:
A recent study published in the February issue of Neurosurgical Focus 1 is of great significance to chiropractors, especially those caring for children. In chiropractic it has been determined that atlantooccipital subluxation among others can be induced by trauma, including birth. We know that atlantooccipital subluxations as well as atlantoaxial subluxations can induce significant morbidity and or mortality in the pediatric population. Birth trauma, including the use of assistive devices such as vacuums and forceps can also induce subluxations in the child from birth. Further, any inutero constraints can potentially induce subluxation inutero during pregnancy. This level of trauma has always been recognized in chiropractic, but generally been ignored by the medical profession unless overt symptomology is present.

Now, it seems the medical doctors have begun to awaken to the idea of atlanto-occipital dislocation as something that can occur in children from trauma. The paper cited below examines for the first time, long term survival for some of the most severe dislocations. While the authors speak of "dislocation" we as chiropractors understand the nature of subluxation as akin to a "gross dislocation."

The paper discusses the three types of dislocation -anterior, posterior and longitudinal dislocations of the occiput on the atlas. The mechanism of formation of these dislocations stated in the paper is similar to that found in our subluxation theory. The authors state: "Because ligaments in the child are growing and undergoing considerable remodeling, the capacity for repair is greater in the musculoskeletally immature child than in the adult." They also state: "Infants and toddlers have a different bone composition compared with older children, and also have a higher propensity to heal a ligamentous injury."

1. Steinmetz MP, Lechner RM, Anderson JS. Atlantooccipital dislocation in children: presentation, diagnosis and management. Neurological Focus Feb 2003; 14:1-7.

(Thanks to ICA Pediatrics Council President Dr. Joan Fallon for directing our attention to this important paper and her synopsis of how it relates to what chiropractors have been saying for the past 100 years).

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