Colic is a bit of a mystery to both parents and scientists. There is no complete definition of colic or its causes, but it is generally seen as “unexplained and uncontrolled crying in infants from 0 to 3 months of age, for more than 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week, for more than 3 weeks, usually in the afternoon or evening hours.”
Colic is usually assumed to disappear spontaneously around 3 months of age. However, studies have shown that colic can continue in some infants until 6 or even 12 months of age. The excessive crying and general unrest can cause great stress and frustration in a household, and may have long-term consequences such as temper tantrums and frequent night waking. Understandably, parents are continually seeking treatments that can help.
Research on colic and its solution is limited. However, medications have not been shown to be particularly effective in treating colic, so some parents have turned to chiropractic care instead. Chiropractors have been treating colicky babies for many years and with significant success. The theory is that when babies are born, the neck and back vertebrae may become misaligned during the compressions and stretches of the birthing process. If interventions are used to assist the birth, such as forceps or vacuum suction, these misalignments can be even worse. These misalignments or subluxations can disturb normal physiological processes such as digestion, causing significant infant discomfort and can lead to colic. Chiropractors experienced in treating infants use a gentle, “no-cracking” adjustment process that is relaxing and comforting.
A recent study examined behavioral and sleep disturbances experienced by post-colicky children who had been treated with chiropractic care versus children who had not received such treatment. Results showed that toddlers who had been treated with chiropractic care were two times as likely not to experience long-term consequences of colic than those who had been treated with chiropractic care.
Another study showed a reduction in crying of 1 hour in babies treated with a drug called dimethicone, and a reduction in crying of 2.4 hours in babies treated with chiropractic manipulation.
In conclusion, chiropractic care for infant colic is effective in many cases. Be sure to select a chiropractor that is experienced in treating babies and in particular, babies with colic.
- Miller, JE. Long term effects of infant colic. A survey comparison of chiropractic treatment and nontreatment groups. J Manipulative Physio Ther. 2009 Oct;32(8):635-8. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19836599
- Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J, Nilsson N J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 (Oct);22 (8): 517-522). Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543581?dopt=Abstract