Infantile Colic

Probably one of the most frustrating situations new parents find themselves in is having to deal with a child that is suffering from colic. For these parents a recent study conducted in South Africa offers some good news. In a study by Mercer and Cook, thirty infants who had been diagnosed medically with colic were randomly divided into two groups. One group received chiropractic care while the other group did not. All infants in this study were newborn to 8 weeks old and had been diagnosed with colic by a pediatrician. For the purposes of this study, the infants in the chiropractic group received care for a two-week period with a maximum of six adjustments. The results of the study were very impressive. In the group that received chiropractic care, there was complete resolution of symptoms in 93% of the infants within the two-week period. Even more impressive was that in a follow up survey performed one month later, none of the infants had experienced a reoccurrence of problems from colic. The chiropractic care rendered in this study was spinal adjusting.

baby crying on dads  shoulder


Infantile Colic Improved with Chiropractic

The National Health Service in Ballerup (Copenhagen, Denmark) conducted a study involving 50 infants with diagnosed infantile colic. Half of the group was given the drug dimethicon while the other half was given chiropractic care. In this study nine of the 25 taking the drug dropped out of the study because the infants were getting worse. These infants were then not counted in the final results which would have shown a worse result for the drug than published.

Even with the removal from the tabulations of the infants who got worst using the dimethicon, the results showed a significant improvement in the group that were under chiropractic care. By days 4 to 7 of the study, the infants remaining in the drug group had reduced their hours of crying by only one hour while the entire chiropractic group had reduced crying hours by an average of 2.4 hours. The results after 8 to 10 day into the study continued to show the drug therapy infants at a one hour improvement while the chiropractic group further improved to 2.7 hours less of crying. The researchers noted that the removal from the study of the infants that got worse from the drug made the results from the drug look better than they actually were.


Chiropractic Care Conquers Colic

The above title appeared in the December 1998 issue of Country Living’s Healthy Living, beginning on page 53. The article details the concerns of a mom whose new baby was suffering from colic. The article featured the mother’s account of the situation starting from her initial phone call to the pediatrician. “When I phoned my doctor to ask if he thought it was safe (to see a chiropractor), he was ambivalent: Chiropractic would neither harm nor help. He told me that if it was colic, it would run its course in three months.”

After this advice, her next stop was to take the child to the chiropractor. She recalled that the first visit was an extended one with a lot of time spent caring for the child and the parents. Following the first adjustment, the child seemed to be more reactive and colicky, but she followed the instructions given her by the chiropractor and the baby calmed right down. “We had five more sessions with the chiropractor. Each lasted 20 minutes and Lucy (the infant) really seemed to enjoy them. It completely changed what was fast becoming a nightmare. I’d like to recommend to everyone with a colicky infant see a chiropractor. It certainly worked for us.”

Infantile Colic

Probably one of the most frustrating situations new parents find themselves in is having to deal with a child that is suffering from colic. For these parents a recent study conducted in South Africa offers some good news. In a study by Mercer and Cook, thirty infants who had been diagnosed medically with colic were randomly divided into two groups. One group received chiropractic care while the other group did not. All infants in this study were newborn to 8 weeks old and had been diagnosed with colic by a pediatrician. For the purposes of this study, the infants in the chiropractic group received care for a two-week period with a maximum of six adjustments. The results of the study were very impressive. In the group that received chiropractic care, there was complete resolution of symptoms in 93% of the infants within the two-week period. Even more impressive was that in a follow up survey performed one month later, none of the infants had experienced a reoccurrence of problems from colic. The chiropractic care rendered in this study was spinal adjusting.

Differential compliance instrument in the treatment of infantile colic: A report of two cases Leach RA, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics January 2002, Volume 25, Number 1

Case 1: A 6-week-old female infant crying almost continuously since birth, which the mother described as often “violent screaming,” had steadily gotten worse. She slept only 3 hours a night and had 15 minutes of rest 3 or 4 times per day from brief periods of feeding or riding in a car.

Her pediatrician diagnosed the infant with infantile colic, and the mother brought the infant for chiropractic evaluation after a nurse suggested that adjustments might help.

[Diagnosis of] T8 segmental dysfunction was made on the basis of the mother’s statements and observation of the child’s behaviors since entering the clinic. After a single adjustment the child rested for 11 hours during the following 24-hour period and slept for 9 uninterrupted hours during the night. The infant awakened smiling and laughing.

Case 2: A 9-week-old male infant had infantile colic. The mother had been taking Lorazepam T, Paxil T, Zyprexa T, and Wellbutrin T for the first 4 months of her pregnancy until she discovered she was pregnant. At that time she discontinued all medications except Zyprexa, which she continued throughout her pregnancy.

Child was diagnosed with acid reflux as a result of crying day and night; unrelieved by normal parenting behaviors, and Zantac T was prescribed. On entrance to the office 3 weeks later, the parents stated the crying had progressed to about 14 hours per day in spite of these interventions.

After 4 consecutive daily adjustments crying was reduced to 7 hours, uninterrupted sleep increased to 5 hours (from 3 hours before care), and total sleep in a 24-hour period increased to 13 hours (from 5 hours before care).

After 9 adjustments over 2 weeks, the infant was crying an average of only 2 hours per day, was sleeping 5 hours per night and averaging 14 hours of total sleep per day. The baby no longer screamed but smiled and remained awake without crying for long periods and responded appropriately to normal parenting efforts. On subsequent consultation with the pediatrician, all medications were discontinued except Benadryl T as needed. However, the mother occasionally gave the infant Mylicon T on occasion. Colicky behaviors, such as inconsolable crying and clenching of fists, did not return.

The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of infantile colic: a randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer, Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J, Nilsson N. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. October 1999; Vol. 22, No. 8, pp. 517-522.

This is a randomized controlled trial that took place in a private chiropractic practice and the National Health Service’s health visitor nurses in a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark.

One group of infants received spinal care for 2 weeks, the other was treated with the drug Dimethicone T for 2 weeks. Changes in daily hours of crying were recorded in a colic diary.

Hours of crying reduced by 1 hour in the Dimethicone group compared with 2.4 hours in the chiropractic group by day 4-7. On days 8 through 11, crying was reduced by 1 hour for the Dimethicone group, compared with 2.7 hours in the chiropractic group.

In the 12 days of the study, the children under chiropractic care had a 67% reduction in crying while the group treated with dimethicone had a 38% reduction in crying. The mean number of adjustments given during the two-week study was 3.8.

A six week old baby with colic. International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Newsletter. May/June 1997.

A six week baby with colic who could not sleep for more than one hour at a time and could not hold food down was brought in for chiropractic check up.

A subluxation at C1 was corrected. After the first adjustment the infant fell asleep before leaving the office and slept for 8 hours straight. The baby gained two pounds in one week.

The child was seen three times per week for two months, thereafter once a week. The colic symptoms never returned.

Colic with projectile vomiting: a case study. Van Loon, Meghan. J of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. Vol. 3 No. 1 1998. 207-210.

This is the case of a three-month-old male medically diagnosed with colic and projectile vomiting increasing in severity over the previous two months despite medical intervention.

Care consisted of chiropractic spinal adjustments and craniosacral therapy with the resolution of all presenting symptoms within a 2-week treatment period. Proposed cranial and spinal etiologies are discussed as well as the connection between birth trauma and non-spinal symptoms.

Chiropractic care of infantile colic: a case study. Killinger LZ and Azad A. J of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics. Vol. 3 No. 1 1998. Pp. 203-206

This is the study of an 11-month-old boy with severe, complicated, late onset infantile colic. He was unable to consume solid foods for a period of four months, and suffered from severe constipation, muscular weakness and lack of coordination. The baby was unable to crawl, stand or walk and was greatly unresponsive to his surroundings.

[The child had been under medical care at the Rochester Medical Clinic, with no improvement in his condition.]

Following upper cervical specific chiropractic adjustments for a subluxation of the first cervical vertebrae (atlas), there were immediate improvements in muscle strength, coordination, responsiveness, and ability to consume solid foods without vomiting.

Infantile colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases. Klougart N, Nilsson N and Jacobsen J (1989) Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 12:281-288.

Seventy three chiropractors adjusted the spines of 316 infants (median age 5.7 weeks at initial examination) with moderate to severe colic (average 5.2 hours of crying per day).

The mothers used a diary to keep track of the baby’s symptoms, intensity and length of the colicky crying as well as how comfortable the infant seemed. 94% of the children showed a satisfactory response within 14 days of chiropractic care (usually three visits). After four weeks, the improvements were maintained.

One fourth of these infants showed great improvement after the very first chiropractic adjustment. The remaining infants all showed improvement within 14 days.

Note: 51% of the infants had undergone prior unsuccessful treatment, usually drug therapy.

Infantile colic and chiropractic. Nilsson N. European Journal of Chiropractic 1985;33 (4) :264-65.

In this study, a retrospective uncontrolled questionnaire of 132 infants with colic, 91% of the parents reported an improvement after an average of two to three adjustments and within one week of care.

Chiropractic adjustments and infantile colic: a case study. Hyman CA in Proceedings of the fourth National Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics. International Chiropractors Association. Arlington, VA 1994: 65-71.

This is the case story of a five-week-old male infant delivered with vacuum extraction.

Two weeks after birth he began to have episodes of “gut wrenching” crying accompanied by arching of the back and gas and flatulence. The child was adjusted at C-1 and T-9 and his condition improved greatly after each adjustment.

Birth trauma results in colic. Krauss LL, Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 2 No. 1, October, 1995

This 9 1⁄2 month old female child was diagnosed as colicky: paroxysmal abdominal pain and frantic crying. The child was adjusted C1 on the right side (using an adjusting instrument) T4-T5 was manually adjusted and the sacrum was instrument adjusted. The following day the mother reported that the infant had slept through the night, a consistent 12 hours, and woke up happy and playful.

Treatment of infants in the first year of life by chiropractors. Incidents and reasons for seeking treatment. Munck LK, Hoffman H, Nielsen AA. Ugeskr Laeger 1988; 150:1841-1844.

The authors performed a retrospective survey of 162 children cared for by doctors of chiropractic in their first year of life

The conditions seen by DCs were:
Infantile colic 73%
Curvature 8%
Bronchitis 3%
Allergy 2.5%
Sleep disorder 1.8%
Middle ear inflammation 1.8%
Eczema 0.6%



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