Can specific, scientific chiropractic help with colic?
The National Health Service in Ballerup (Copenhagen, Denmark) conducted a study involving 50 infants with diagnoses 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 drug, 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.
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.
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.
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
In the 12 days of the study, the children under chiropractic care had a 67% reduction in crying while the group treated with drugs had a 38% reduction in crying. The mean number of adjustments given during the two-week study was 3.8.
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 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.
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 15-day old emaciated male infant experiencing inability to breastfeed and colic since birth.
When he entered the chiropractor’s office, he was crying constantly, “shaking, screaming, rash, and vomiting during and after feeding”. The baby also had “increased distress” 30 minutes after feeding and had excessive abdominal and bowel gas since birth. The mother reported the infant was given a Hepatitis B vaccination within hours after birth. The pediatrician prescribed formula but baby reacted poorly to it.
During the examination the infant continuously cried, with high-pitched screams, and full-body shaking. Child had a distended abdomen with excessive bowel gas.
After the first adjustment (to C1) a significant reduction of crying, screaming and shaking occurred. On the second visit, two days later the mother commented, “This is a completely different baby”. The vomiting before and after feeding had ceased. Another adjustment was given. By the third visit, a “significant decrease of symptoms” was reported and complete remission of abdominal findings. Baby had been successfully breastfeeding since last visit. No adjustment was needed.
The baby had been symptom free for 5 days and received a second Hepatitis B vaccination. All symptoms returned to a severe degree, plus a low grade fever. Adjustment was given but there was no reduction of symptoms. The patient was adjusted three more times over the next week with minimal reduction in symptoms. By the eighth visit, eight days after receiving the vaccination, the child began to show marked improvement and by the 11th visit, no symptoms were noticed and no adjustment was given. Seventeen days after vaccination there was a return of all symptoms; by the 13th visit “the infant did not exhibit any significant recurring symptoms.
Chiropractic management of an infant experiencing breastfeeding difficulties and colic: a case study. Sheader, WE, Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1999.
The authors list “organic disorders reported to be related to spinal lesions or affected by chiropractic manipulation,” including: “abdominal discomfort, asthma, Barre-Lieou syndrome, cardiac arrythmia, colic, constipation, dysmenorrhea, high blood pressure, low-blood sugar and hyperinsulinism, migraine, pulmonary diseases, ulcers, and vertebral autonomic dysfunction.”
Systemic effects of spinal lesions. Dhami MSI, DeBoer KF In Principles and Practice of Chiropractic, 2nd edition, Appleton and Lange, East Norwalk, CT 1992.
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.
Infantile colic and chiropractic. Nilsson N. European Journal of Chiropractic 1985;33 (4) :264-65.