Recent findings suggest that nervous system development and brain growth may be linked with movement and sensory input. The findings suggest that “mobility restrictions or insufficient sensory stimuli impact the production of new brain cells and brain development… “
Two recent studies (1, 2), exploring neurogenesis in the presence and absence of either movement restriction or visual restriction, were performed in zebrafish – a popular and well-known choice for modeling human biology in a controlled research setting. While these findings have not yet been tested in humans, they clearly suggest the possibility that movement restrictions in the postnatal stage may be critical to brain development in vertebrates including humans.
These two new papers suggest that should motor and sensory input be suboptimal in the early developmental stage, then the process of neurodevelopment as a whole is diminished and the authors show evidence that if nerve and brain development is compromised, the resultant deficit may never be overcome (1, 2).
Let’s consider a study by Keil and Fludder that described reduced range of motion present at birth (3). In this study, reduced range of motion was found in:
76.1% of infants born vaginally without intervention
75% of infants delivered with forceps
88.9% of vacuum-assisted deliveries
82.3% of infants born via caesarean section
While the sample may be slightly skewed given it was taken from a paediatric chiropractic clinic, it certainly shows that there is a population that suffers from reduced range of motion immediately following birth. Further, plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is found in up to 46.6% of infants (according to a 2013 estimate) and this itself may result in motion restriction or motion asymmetry (4).
Research conducted by Dr. Heidi Haavik, Dr. Kelly Holt and the New Zealand College of Chiropractic has illustrated over and over again that sensorimotor integration (brain processing of movement) is clearly and positively impacted by the chiropractic adjustment (5).
If you or especially your Child has reduced movement it is worth getting checked out.