For children there may be developmental issues or an abnormal chromosome condition causing neuromusculoskeletal problems a chiropractor can help. This post is about Down Syndrome: Special Needs Children and Chiropractic Care.


What is Down Syndrome?


Down syndrome is due to an abnormality of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21).   It occurs rather frequently; l out of every 800 births. Furthermore, with mothers over 40, the incidence is much higher; 1 /40 births. And there are varying degrees of Down Syndrome.

Down children have low set ears, almond-shaped eyes with persistent epicanthus (upper eyelid fold), short physical size, shortened neck with increased skin at the posterior (back) aspect of the cervical spine (neck) in infants, hypotonia in infants, mental disability, shallow palate (roof of mouth), protruding tongue in infants, Simian crease in palms (single palmer crease), short fifth digit, Brushfield’s spots on the iris (peripheral spots that disappear during year 1), and heart defects. In addition to cardiac abnormalities, thyroid dysfunction is also common in these children.



Hypotonia and Ligament Laxity in Down Syndrome Infants


Firstly, there is hypotonia (low muscle tone). Gastrointestinal problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, feeding difficulties and constipation arise due to the hypotonia. Moreover, abnormalities in the development of the ears, nose, and throat are common.  Coupled with hypotonia, this often leads to an increase of otitis media (ear) and upper respiratory infections.

Secondly, Down Syndrome children have ligament (fibrous connective tissue that connects bones to other bones) laxity (too loose). This contributes to the increased occurrence of atlanto-axial joint (joint between first and second cervical vertebrae) instability and congenital hip dysplasia (baby’s hip socket (acetabulum) is too shallow).

Thirdly, Cranial (skull) misalignments, hypotonia, and macroglossia (tongue enlargement) may impact the infant’s “sucking-swallowing” reflex.


Chiropractic Care of Down Syndrome Child at Meiri Chiropractic in West Palm Beach


Your Down Syndrome child may be positively impacted by the chiropractic adjustment.  Indeed, Chiropractic care is modified for children.  This is especially necessary for special needs children who have specific developmental anatomy.

For instance, gentle, direction specific traction is substituted instead of rotation adjustments in the cervical spine. This is due to the risk of the atlanto-axial instability. Cranial sacral therapy is also helpful for restrictions in the cranium and normal head growth.

Feeding issues in the first year are helped through correction of cervical spine and cranial restrictions.  A misalignment or chiropractic subluxation at the occiput (back of head) could impair nerve supply.  And combined with hypotonia (low muscle tone) can lead to feeding problems.

It is hypothesized that an occiput chiropractic subluxation of the cranial nerves can interfere with the firing of the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) and vagus nerve (CN X) as they exit the jugular foramen (exit hole in skull).  What’s more, it interferes with firing of the hypoglossal nerve (CN XII) as it exits the hypoglossal canal (small opening in skull). These cranial nerves innervate (supply) the muscles used in the infant’s suckling response.


Dr. Natalie Meiri


Down Syndrome: Special Needs Children and Chiropractic Care at Meiri Chiropractic in West Palm Beach


A research case demonstrated a situation in which chiropractic care successfully helped a patient with Down Syndrome to stimulate normal developmental activities (such as latching and regular sleep patterns) and increased her overall health (by resolving acute symptoms including constipation and respiratory issues) (1).

The fact is Chiropractors receive training to adjust all people, from babies to the elderly. Many children have benefited from chiropractic care, including babies.

In conclusion, along with adequate nutrition, sleep and physical activity, adjustments can be life changing for children. For parents who are looking for answers besides putting their kids on more drugs, Chiropractic is a great solution.

Call Meiri Chiropractic at 561-253-8984 to make an appointment or to find out more about Down Syndrome: Special Needs Children and Chiropractic Care.



1) Peter Amlinger, DC & Constance Colcombet, DC

Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, Chiropractic ~ July 13, 2022 ~ Pages 57-65