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Effects of Birth Trauma in Infant Eliminated with Chiropractic


The purpose of this study was to report the effectiveness of chiropractic care on a five-month-old female infant with Erb’s-Duchenne Palsy.

This particular arm paralysis is due to a downward traction type of force of the infant’s arm during delivery. This causes traumatic injury to the network of nerves exiting the neck. These nerves are responsible for all nerve function in the arm.  They provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers.  Recovery is slow and medically managed through physiotherapy and surgery is sometimes necessary for complicated cases.

The present study involved a case narrative of a five-month-old female with Erb-Duchenne Palsy.  The patient’s mother said she had a difficult delivery at 40 weeks of gestation.  She said the labor lasted about 12 hours, when the head and shoulder of the baby “got stuck.”  The attending midwife reported that the infant had shoulder dystocia.

A vacuum extraction was utilized during delivery manage the shoulder dystocia.  Immediately after delivery, the infant showed signs of decreased range of motion (ROM) in her right arm.

The midwife referred the patient to a medical specialist who diagnosed the infant with Erb’s-Duchenne Palsy and recommended physiotherapy.  The physiotherapist recommended pronation/supination stretches and passive ROM.

The doctor of chiropractic examined the patient and found severely reduced active ROM of her right arm even with the regular stretches advised by the physiotherapist.  The doctor of chiropractic performed upper limb deep tendon reflex tests and all were in normal limits.  However, the arm did not move for two primitive reflexes (Moro and ATNR).

Misalignment’s found in the patient’s occiput, middle back, and sacrum were adjusted.  In addition, the doctor of chiropractic applied gentle sustained pressure on the myofascial connective tissue of her right elbow to decrease pain and restore motion.

On the second visit, she had slightly improved on moving the right arm away from her body.  By the third visit, she showed an overall improvement of passive ROM of the right arm.  At this visit, the doctor of chiropractic also adjusted the patient’s right elbow and occiput.  On the 7th visit, she showed even more improvements with ROM in her right arm where she was able to reach for toys with her right arm.

A week later, at her 8th visit, the patient’s mother reported that the patient had a fever of 100.22oF (37.9oC) over the past few days.  The doctor of chiropractic adjusted her right elbow and back of the head.  By the 9th chiropractic visit, the patient demonstrated no difference between the ROM in her left and right arm and was able to use both at will.  Overall, after nine and a half weeks, her initial presenting symptoms of Erb’s-Duchenne Palsy were fully resolved.  The patient continued with chiropractic care as previously described at one visit per month.

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MLA Citation: Ferrero, Francesco, Gregor Smith, Max, Alcantara, Joel, & Russell, David.  “Resolution of Erb-Duchenne Palsy in a 5-month-old Female Following Subluxation Based Chiropractic Care.”  Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health2016.1 (2016): 9-13.