Have you ever heard a new parent complain about their newborn being colicky? What exactly is a colicky baby? Can a chiropractor treat infants, and if so, can they help with colic?
Of course, all newborns cry, however only between 10-20% of infants meet the requirements to be diagnosed with colic. Colic is defined by inconsolable crying from an infant that lasts a minimum of three hours a day, three days a week and lasts for at least three weeks. Symptoms of colic generally begin at about three weeks of age and usually last until the child is three months old, however, symptoms can persist for as long as six months. Infants with colic will usually have a loud, piercing scream, flexed legs and clenched fingers.
Unfortunately, colicky infants can also have a negative effect on their parents. The inability to console the baby often leads to vastly higher stress levels for parents. This can affect the mother-baby bonding period and leads to an increased risk of postpartum depression. As a result, colicky babies are at a higher risk to be victims of shaken baby syndrome or child abuse.
Although there is no known cause for colic, many believe that it is an issue with the baby’s digestive system. It is believed that the infant is unable to digest their food properly, thus leading to pain in the abdomen, which leads to crying.
So, how can chiropractic help? In 1999, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics concluded in a study that “spinal manipulation is effective in the treatment of infantile colic. ” In this study, infants who had been diagnosed with colic were split into two groups. One group received chiropractic care, while the other was treated with an anti-gas medication. 67% of the infants treated with chiropractic care showed a decrease in colic symptoms, compared to only 38% treated with medication.
In conclusion, chiropractic can help with infants suffering for colic. Not only can this help with the baby’s symptoms, but also improve the early parent experience, possibly leading to decreased stress levels.