Infant Arching Backward While Crying- Birth Disorder Symptom

What Could It Be a Symptom Of?

Arching of the back can occur for a variety of reasons in an infant, including:

  • Pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Kernicterus
  • Gastrointestinal reflux
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Infantile spasms
  • Trouble breathing


When your baby bends backwards, it could be a symptom of pain. In fact, pain is a main reason that a child does this. While arching the back will not harm your child, it is often a sign  that the child feels desperate to escape the pain. When in pain, your child may arch his or her back becuase it provides a more comfortable position.  It is important to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician because the underlying problem behind your baby arching his or her back may not always be obvious. In some cases, these symptoms  can indicate  a birth injury.


Let’s say that your child arches his or her back while crying and also show signs of jaundice. In this situatuion, it is urgent that you call your child’s pediatrician right away so that your baby can be evaluated.  This could be a sign of kernicterus, a rare form of brain damage. This condition occurs as a result of significantly increased levels of bilirubin circulating in the blood. It is critical to obtain treatment, because if left untreated it can lead to death, hearing loss, intellectual disability, coma, and cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy

When this condition arises, it is important to pay close attention because it may be a serious birth disorder that costs you thousands of dollars in medical care. If your child suffers from cerebral palsy, you may be entitled to financial compensation if the injury was caused by a doctor or other medical staffer. A common sign of cerbral palsy is uncontrolled and spastic movements of the body. The child may even arch his or her back involuntarily. Keep in mind, however, that arching the back does not necessarily mean that a child has this condition. Your child’s doctor will check for other symptoms as well.

Gastrointestinal Reflux

Let’s say that your child displays an arched back during breastfeeding. This could be because of a condition known as gastrointestinal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux. You should speak to your child’s doctor because medication can be prescribed to treat this condition.

In some cases, when your child displays an arched back, it could be an extraordinarily serious condition. However, this does not always mean that is the case. Sometimes it could be due to something benign.  It is important to always check with your child’s doctor because he or she will evalute your child to determine if this sign is due to something serious or something less dangerous. Babies can be vulnerable, and it is essential to exercise caution when any potential abnormal sign occurs.

Article Citations

  1. Infantile Spasms, Epilepsy Foundation