Chiropractic care for infantile colic?

Q: What causes some babies to have colic and why do some parents bring their colicky babies to a chiropractor?

A: In the late 1800’s colic was described as indigestion. However, there has never been agreement among the experts as to exactly what colic is, its cause and its best treatment. The most widely accepted definition of colic is: Outbursts of uncontrollable crying, especially from the ages of 0-3 months, lasting for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week for at least three weeks. Colic is said to be self-limiting, usually disappearing by three months of age although many cases last longer.

Chiropractors have cared for children with colic throughout the years and although there is no magical chiropractic adjustment to guarantee elimination of colic, research studies investigating the effects of spinal adjustments given to infants with colic have shown noteworthy results.

A Denmark study evaluated 316 infants (average age of 5.7 weeks) with moderate to severe colic (average of 5.2 hours of persistent crying/day). Each infant received a chiropractic evaluation and was adjusted as needed over a two week period. The results: colic stopped in 60% of the infants and in 34% the colic had diminished after an average of only three treatments. As a result of this study, chiropractic care is widely used in Denmark for management of infantile colic.

In another study conducted by the Danish National Health Service (1999), chiropractic care proved more effective in reducing colic than traditional drug therapy (dimethicone). Interestingly, nine infants in the dimethicone group dropped out of the study. Four of the five infants who dropped out in the first week of the study were described by their parents as having “worsened” or “much worsened” colic.