Skip to content

Resolution of Failure to Thrive Following Birth Trauma


Failure to thrive (FTT) is common in developed countries. 2% to 24% of patients receiving inpatient treatment have indications of symptoms of failure to thrive. Approximately 80% of children presenting with FTT present before the age of 18 months. In the United States, FTT is seen in 5 to 10 percent of children in primary care settings and in 3 to 5 percent of children in hospital settings.

Infants or children who fail to thrive have a height, weight and head circumference that do not match standard growth charts. The person’s weight falls lower than the third percentile (as outlined in standard growth charts) or 20 percent below the ideal weight for their height. Growing may have slowed or stopped after a previously established growth curve.

The following are delayed or slow to develop: Physical skills, such as rolling over, sitting, standing, walking and mental and social skills are delayed or slow to develop.

There can be multiple medical causes of failure to thrive including: Chromosome abnormalities, defects in major organ systems endocrine problems, damage to the brain or central nervous system, heart or lung problems, anemia, malabsorption, cerebral palsy, chronic infections, metabolic disorders, complications of pregnancy, low birth weight, emotional deprivation and others. Many times the cause cannot be determined.

Amongst the different alternative health care therapies available for children, chiropractic care is the most sought after. It is estimated that up to 30 million visits per year to chiropractors are accounted for by pediatric patients.

According to researchers the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body and structural shifts in the spine can occur that obstruct the nerves and interfere with their function. It is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. By removing the structural shifts, chiropractic improves nerve supply and function.

Case Study

The 2-month-old infant reported on in the study had been diagnosed with failure to thrive. His mother at her wits end describing the failed course of medical care he had received, which included several medications. He moved very little throughout pregnancy and was ultimately delivered via c-section, being removed with vacuum extraction and forceps. He had several symptoms such as lack of weight gain, profuse vomiting, acid reflux, constipation, and irritability. He only slept for 20 minutes at a time and would often stop breathing. His hearing and sight were also impaired.

The chiropractor examined him and found structural shifts in his neck, midback, lower back, and pelvis. He had very tight muscles, decreased range of motion, decreased reflexes, and posture abnormalities. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following chiropractic adjustments, he took his first nap ever and experienced a bowel movement. After two weeks of chiropractic care, he experienced complete resolution of all symptoms, stopped all medications and began meeting his developmental milestones.

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.


A 2-Month Old Diagnosed with Failure to Thrive: The Use and Impact of Chiropractic Care on the Infant and Beyond. Nikki Hirshowitz, DC, Curtis Fedorchuk, DC, Darrien Drummond, DC. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic ˜ Volume, 2020

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.