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Chiropractic Care: How Does a Child’s Spine Develop?

Adults have three natural curves in their spines that help support their bodies. At birth, an infant has only one curve. The other curves develop as the child begins to hold up his or her head and learns to crawl and stand.

At Birth

The spine of a newborn is C-shaped, with one curve. A newborn has neither the balancing curves nor the strength to hold his or her head upright.


At About Six Months

As your infant lifts his or her head during the first few months, the neck (cervical) curve and its muscles develop. Strong neck muscles help an infant hold up a heavy head.


At About Nine Months

As your infant learns to crawl and stand, the lower back (lumbar) curve and its muscles develop. Strong back muscles help give your child the strength and balance to walk and run.


How Can I Help My Child?

You can help your child develop a healthy spine by scheduling regular chiropractic exams, just as you make regular dental appointments. Observe your child’s movements and follow these tips:

  • When you lift or hold an infant, always support the child’s back and neck with your hands. Pick up an older child by grasping his or her body under both arms. Never pick up your child by the arms or legs.

  • Use an approved car seat that supports your baby’s head and neck.

  • Provide a firm bed and chairs. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a well-balanced diet.

  • Make sure your child wears appropriate protective gear when playing sports.

  • If your child uses a backpack, make sure it’s carried over both shoulders.


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