Flip the Beetle!

Flip the Beetle in Canton MA!

Chiropractic Canton MA Happy Child

As corrective care chiropractors in Canton MA we are working to restore the innate design of the spine so the human body may function according to its potential. We are dedicated to the art of restoring the balance to the three intricate opposing, flowing curves of the spine that enable us to exist as upright beings in space, and are committed to preserving the integrity of the delicate spine and nervous system housed within this bony column. Above all else, we will all function better in life with a brain that freely communicates to the body! Spinal subluxations, or misalignments, place tension on the delicate spinal cord and nerve system-a system responsible for life! Intuitively, it makes sense that disruptions in this flow of vital, life-giving information will disrupt the functioning of the body. A silent process in the beginning stages which later transition to "louder" signals of pain, dampened vitality, sickness, and disease.

Give Your Back A Rest in Canton MA

We are often presented with speculations regarding the cause of the pain or spine damage, and it is tempting to associate one cause to one symptom. However, the body is a complex representation of many stressors it has been forced to adapt to since birth. A visual from seventh grade math class proves to be most useful in this analogy:

An infinite number of points separates Point A from Point B. Point A represents birth and the in-utero period leading up to this moment. Point B represents the moment of recognition of a problem, whether it be pain, fatigue, brain fog, arthritis…the point at which your awareness was drawn to a symptom that needed attention. Often times, patients do not seek our help until the problem has persisted for some time and they are far beyond Point B on that line.

Starting from birth at Point A, we are constantly adapting to forces imposed on our bodies which are represented by the infinite number of points on the line. The ways that we are able to adapt to these forces determine the state of our future health…which is our driving force behind getting those little ones checked for subluxation. It is much easier starting closer to Point A, when the problems started, than Point B or beyond, when the problems are begging for intervention.

Infants and children are exposed to many subluxation-inducing forces in a short time. Falls on the floor and into tables while learning to walk, falls off of beds, bicycles, hammocks, trampolines, porches, tree houses, horses, skateboards, skis, snowboards, ice skates, and onto artificial surfaces such as concrete, tar, linoleum, tile…many points comprise that figurative line from Point A to Point B! In infants and children, subluxations may be caused by forces such as these which we cannot control, but many result from variables that we directly control…placement in the baby container. These containing devices appear in all shapes and sizes, and usages range from car transporters to strollers, stationary vibrating infant seats, swings, and Bumbo® seats. Gadgets such as the ExerSaucer® and the Johnny Jump-Up® are included in the container category even though they allow some movement. The Bumbo seat has been placed in a heightened warning zone category and the rationale for my loathing for this horrific foam form has been detailed in a separate article.

A list of hazards occurring from inappropriate use of these devices appear below on my warning label….a label which belongs on all external surfaces of these devices:

Unnecessary time spent in seated carriers and other constraining devices is a large contributor to childhood subluxations. This results in damage to the spine and nervous system which will inevitably influence the overall health and vitality of children. We are shocked when we see the degree of postural distortions and subluxations present in children…patterns which take time to manifest. My quest to determine sources of these damaging posture patterns has yielded many fruits, but a bit of background information is needed before they may be shared.

From Amoeba To Animal

Infants are wired to transition from immobile, ameoba-like organisms to active, independent members of the animal kingdom as soon as possible. In order for movement to occur, they must be placed in positions which are movement friendly, or belly down, as opposed to movement prohibitive, or belly up. The belly down, or prone, position, promotes the fulfillment of this instinctual urge to move, as it allows the infant the opportunity to develop the neurological super-highways necessary for moving. These pathways must be continually activated so that the muscles of the neck and trunk grow stronger and learn to work together…skills which are essential for more complex movements to occur.

Infants are wired to transition from immobile, amoeba-like organisms to active, independent members of the animal kingdom. If given the opportunity, newly born infants are able to crawl from the mothers stomach to the breast moments after birth. In order for the complex art of crawling to occur at the earliest time with greatest efficiency, the brain cells immediately engage in the task of connecting with muscle cells. These connections are necessary for movement and muscle strength gains occurring when the infant is able to freely explore the new world around them. Eye movements, head movements, arm, leg, and hand movements all gradually increase in frequency and complexity during the first months of life. These movements seem random and inconsequential at first glance, but they are stimulating brain cells to grow, to increase their connections with other brain cells, and to increase their efficiency and speed of message transmission…all of which occurs at inconceivable rates during this time.

In order for these vital pathways to be created efficiently and in an organized manner, newborns must be free to move and not tightly swaddled or placed in infant seats. The belly down, or prone, position, should be initially practiced while lying on their mother or father with a gradual transition to a smooth, resilient surface that is conducive to movement (such as a mat or thin rug with minimal cushion or nap). Belly down exposures be brief and fun, ending before signs of frustration or tears. This position should be associated with comfort and security as opposed to fear and distress.

Time spent on the back is also valuable for the newborns development of movement strategies, as it enables the newborn to develop connections between the brain and muscles moving the neck, shoulder, arm, and trunk.

As the infant moves the head and neck in different directions while placed on the back, the brain connects to movements which support the shape of the c-shaped arch of the neck as well.

Unrestricted movement (i.e. not placed in a baby container or tightly swaddled) allows the brain to develop and refine the neurological superhighways necessary for organized, efficient movement; this fulfills the infant's instinctual urge to move. Continual activation of these nerve pathways allow the muscles of the neck and trunk to gain strength and learn to move cooperatively…skills which are essential for more complex movements to occur.

The specific movement patterns responsible for the ultimate infant feat of walking must unfold in orderly, sequential stages which build upon one another. If these stages are bypassed (i.e. baby is placed in Bumbo seat, as shown, before mastering the art of sitting upright), improper movement patterns develop. This causes muscles to behave in ways that will eventually distort the shape of the spine. Orderly completion of each step of the "movement pattern staircase" is necessary for proper development of each subsequent, more complex movement.

The foundation for this figurative staircase is laid as the infant learns to move the head against gravity with the neck muscles in the belly down position. This action also furthers the development of the c-shaped curve of the neck…an arched structure which has assumed formation in utero. This curve is referred to as the primary curve, as it is the first of the three spinal curves to form. The integrity of this curve must be preserved throughout life for efficient brain to body connection and optimum health. As the neck and upper back muscles gain strength and increase their ability to work together, they will eventually act to lift the head from the floor for longer and longer periods. This may seem like a simple task, but it is of utmost importance, as it is this action that reinforces and preserves the c-shaped arch of the neck…a feat which cannot be achieved from the confines of a container!

With practice, the muscles are soon able to lift the head off of the floor as the infant looks around the room to follow sounds and to track moving objects. Again, learning to maneuver the head against gravity is a labor intensive skill which should only be practiced in bits while the infant is happy to focus on the task. As minute and fleeting as the head movements may seem in a newborn infant, each movement is paving the neurological pathways needed for muscle coordination…actions which are necessary for imminent movement on a larger scale. I have drafted a rudimentary illustration of a staircase depicting the stepwise progression of these acquired skills. As shown below, the staircase base arises as the infant lifts the head from the floor…an action which eventually evolves into walking.

Beetle On The Back

The face up, or supine position, is one that is rarely observed in the animal world as it leaves them with the soft abdominal cavity exposed…a vulnerable position leaving the soft abdominal cavity exposed to predators. Although newborn humans are faced with this risk, they are hard-wired to learn how to either flee from danger on their own by crawling away or by clinging to something upright so they they may be whisked away. As the infant becomes older, the instinctual urge to move is perceived with greater intensity. When placed on the back for too long or when not exposed to the belly down position for long enough, placement in curved containers such as carseats or strollers will be met with much resistance. When the spine is confined in this abnormal, c-shaped conformation, the muscles needed for crawling are hearing a call for action but are unable to respond effectively. These flailing, repetitive movements exhibited by the container bound infant have been likened to that of a flipped beetle, struggling to right itself. Although motion of the arms and legs is always beneficial for brain cell activation, motion while contorted in a container creates bad habits and distorts the curves of the spine.

This beetle should spring to mind each time an infant is unnecessarily confined in a carrier or seat…even if they appear to enjoy their time. In this position, the brain is frustrated at the inability to continue with neurological highway construction which is necessary for efficient movement in the future. Movement without purpose creates an understandable state of despair, compelling them to communicate their frustration through tears and grouchiness.

Lack of sufficient time spent belly down not only hinders motor and neurological development but creates bad posture patterns which will persist into adulthood if uncorrected. Excessive time spent contained in a seated device or flat on the back prevents proper development of increasingly complex movement patterns necessary for crawling. Also, it places abnormal forces on the malleable bones of the head, causing the bones of the skull to become misshapen. This skull deformation is called plagiocephaly and is illustrated below.

Sadly, it is a condition which becoming more commonplace based upon the beetle on the back phenomenon. This alteration in the shape and movement of the head bones, or cranial bones, inhibits optimum health of the brain and spinal cord as well, and is linked to a myriad of additional adverse consequences including recurring ear infections and altered immune system functioning.

As shown on the stairway illustration, the movement patterns that lead to walking are based upon the infants ability to control the head. This head control acts as a platform which supports the stairs above; it is the precursor to the development of upper body strength gains that facilitate sustained support of the torso by the arms.

As this skill improves, the infant learns to propel itself from belly to back, pushing the torso off of the floor with the arms and using the spiraling momentum to twist the body into the face up position. As this movement is refined, the upper body and torso continue to gain strength and coordination, eventually gaining enough stability to allow the baby to balance upright in the unassisted seated position.

The baby is soon able to shift the cumbersome torso and reach for things, learning to effectively manage their center of gravity from the upright, unassisted seated position. Strength gains in the arms and core muscles of the abdomen and back eventually enable the baby to support the weight of the torso while balanced precariously on the hands and knees. In this position, the curve of the low back, or lumbar spine, begins to assume its curved form as it extends downward in a sloping manner before rising up to meet the opposing curve of the ribcage. The pelvis begins to flex, or tilt towards the floor, which furthers the development of the lumbar curve as crawling progresses.

After a bit of practice, the baby is able to crawl, transferring weight from right hand and left knee to left hand and right knee in an efficient, coordinated manner. Crawling is the result of many seemingly inconsequential movements and is the first movement to occur from activation of pathways connecting the right and left halves of the brain. This previously unchartered zone of communication occurs in the area called the corpus callosum…an area which is responsible for complex, coordinated movements in life. Efficient walking, running, hand to eye coordination, and even the ability to multitask are skills which depend upon successful cross talk between brain hemispheres.

Eyes On The Horizon

Many neurological pathways have been painstakingly forged to allow us the privilege of walking on two legs. When we are standing, we are balanced in space with our eyes oriented on the horizon; a skill executed in part by the vestibular mechanism in the brain. While the infants head is upright in space, the eyes are relating the brain to the world, relaying information which is vital for standing and walking. The successful creation of these nerve pathways depends on the frequency with which they were allowed to occur…with the head upright in space as the baby is learning to relate to gravity much differently. An infant placed on the back is forced to orient themselves with upside-down faces staring over them, looks at furniture from the legs upward, and focuses the eyes on the fixed point of the ceiling above. These are just a few examples of how the infant's brain becomes accustomed to an upside-down world when left on it's back for most of the early months. Each time an infant is left to view the world on its back, vestibular pathways are deprived of activation and opportunities to strengthen vital stages of brain development are missed.

Bucket Babies, Beware

The term bucket baby has been coined to describe babies who experience life as amoebas contained in a padded bucket, as the convenience of keeping them tucked into the container has somehow managed to outweigh the necessity of learning to navigate in the world as a member of the motile animal kingdom. These devices should only be used when the safety of the child is otherwise at risk; car travel would be included in this category.

Apart from the impairments in motor skills and neurological developmental delays arising from the beetle on the back phenomena, infant containers inflict additional damage to the spine and nervous system. These devices constrain the spine and pelvis into an abnormal flexed, or c-shaped position, forcing the head to rest in front of the chest and rocking pelvis backwards.

Additional sources of container-induced spinal stress include the floppy head factor which arises when the infant or child falls asleep and the unsupported head tilts down to one side for extended time periods. Both of these imbalanced spinal postures alter the way the muscles and bones of the neck, torso, and low back are able to move, preventing the spinal curves of the neck and low back from developing according to their specialized geometric blueprint.

The ramifications of these postural issues are great, resulting in inappropriate muscle tone, spinal curve disturbances, and postural distortions which sacrifice the balance between the centers of gravity. If uncorrected, these changes will prevent messages from traversing between the brain and the body from transmitting successfully, quickly, and efficiently. Ultimately, the vitality of the body and the ability to express vibrant health diminishes. Excessive use of infant seats interferes with the stepwise progression of essential movement patterns necessary for crawling and walking through the abnormal position they impose upon the spine.

Use of seated devices such as ExerSaucers and Johnny Jump Ups also have the potential to incur great damage to the spine and nervous system of infants who have not mastered the skills of independent sitting, standing, or walking. The manufacturers beg to differ, claiming that they are suitable for infants as young as 4 months, asserting that these devices serve to develop coordination in babies who are able to sit up unassisted and keeps them entertained until they are walking on their own.

These apparatuses require the use of hip and leg muscles before core muscles of the torso and pelvis are strong enough to support the weight of the trunk against gravity. As a result, excessive forces are concentrated in the hip joints as the baby bears weight or jumps from the seated position-forces which are transferred along the undeveloped, unsupported hip joints.

Also, this seated position tips the pelvis backwards and rounds the lower spine into a bow-shaped curve…a position which directly opposes the intrinsic, stabilizing design of the low back and pelvic bones. As a result, great tension is placed on the spinal cord and bones of the lower spine and pelvis. Sustained periods of time spent in infant seats will subluxate the lower spine, sacrum, and/or pelvis which results in blocked brain to body communication. This abnormal position also forces the muscles of the low back and hips to generate excessive amounts of tension; over time, this causes them to become tight, rope-like, and tender to the touch.


The transition from bucket to floor will be difficult if the infant has acclimated to life in the container, but do not despair. The neck muscles will be weak and a gradual immersion to the belly down world will be necessary to regain strength and familiarity with this position. Infants should be encouraged to acclimate to the belly down position for brief intervals repeated frequently throughout the day, and should never be forced to stay in this position when they are unhappy or uncomfortable. A bit of floorside entertainment, encouragement, and repeated praise are essential for increasing increments of time spent belly down. Also, it is best for the body to naturally adjust to this position, allowing the necessary stabilizing muscles to build strength on their own as opposed to forcing the spine into a supported, unnatural position through props or pillows placed beneath the chest.

Infant carriers or wraps which fully support the hips and spine of the infant in the cling-on, heart to heart, position are an excellent choice for newborns and infants. The upright position encourages vestibular pathway activation and allows the head to assume an ideal posture…that of remaining centered over the torso. Also, neck muscles gain strength as the baby is able to freely rotate the head in a centered position over the torso. The ErgoBaby® is an excellent choice for a carrier, as it has inserts to accommodate the newborn spine and offers a wide base which safely supports the infants pelvis and hips. Most importantly, the Ergo minimizes stress on the spine of the adult carrier through the efficient distribution of forces across the torso.

In summary, infants should be placed in carriers when their safety is threatened otherwise. When possible, they should be removed from these damaging, constraining devices at all costs, as they cause major postural shifts that result in spinal misalignments. When the containers are in use, care should be taken to ensure that the head and neck are fully supported and unable to tilt or shift to one side should they fall asleep. This infant is shown with the Snugzee® head supports which attach to the safety belts and prevent the head and neck from assuming imbalanced positions.

Misaligned, or subluxated, vertebrae disturb the functioning of the delicate nervous system, disrupting the flow of information to and from the brain. Routine spinal check-ups and adjustments for infants, toddlers, and children allows them the opportunity to function as nature intended-with a healthy nervous system transmitting clear messages. As subluxations are corrected through chiropractic adjustments, the nerve flow is liberated and healing from within occurs.

In our practice, we are committed to returning the power of healing back to the person and remind everyone that the intelligence within the body enables it to heal and change if given the opportunity. As we help the body to clear itself of subluxations, the nervous system is allowed a tension free passage between the brain and body which enables the body to function better. We are here to provide this opportunity for healing, and will help lead people to make choices which are conducive to their own health as well as the health of their family members. Please take advantage of the unique gifts that we are fortunate enough to bestow upon you!


8:30am - 1:00pm
3:15pm - 6:00pm

3:15pm - 6:15pm

8:30am - 1:00pm
3:15pm - 6:00pm

8:30am - 1:00pm
3:15pm - 6:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Saturday & Sunday

Canton Dale Chiropractic

351 Turnpike St
Canton, MA 02021
P: (781) 821-0072
F: (781) 821-0071