Chiropractic Alleviates Colic
Campbell Chiropractic of Kanata has great news for parents of infants with colic: A major review study reveals that chiropractic care alleviates colic. What’s more, it is safer and more effective than medical interventions.
Major Review Study
Chiropractic care is beneficial for babies with colic, according to a systematic literature review published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.
To collect studies on chiropractic care for infantile colic, researchers searched eight major medical research databases.
The study’s authors write: “Our systematic review of the literature revealed 26 articles meeting our inclusion criteria. These consisted of three clinical trials, two survey studies, six case reports, two case series, four cohort studies, five commentaries, and four reviews of the literature. Our findings reveal that chiro-practic care is a viable alternative to the care of infantile colic and congruent with evidence-based practice, particular-ly when one considers that medical care options are no better than placebo or have associated adverse events.” (Explore 2011;7:168-74.)
Colic is characterised by irritability, excessive crying, gas and difficulty sleeping. Colic is a diagnosis of exclusion that should only be made after a thorough evaluation to rule out other ailments. Dr. Campbell and Dr. McKeagan explains that this evaluation should include checking the infant for misalignment of spinal bones (vertebrae) — a condition that has been linked with colic.
Spinal misalignment in infants are sparked by the twists, turns and pressure placed on the head, neck and spine during the delivery process. In fact, an average of 40 to 70 pounds of force is exerted on a newborn’s head and neck during birth. This strains the spinal joints in the upper neck — called upper cervical joints — especially the joint between the baby’s head and neck. Caesarean sections and assisted deliveries may produce additional torque to the infant’s head and neck, possibly setting these babies up for even greater risk.
When spinal movement is restricted or vertebrae become misaligned, the result is a common condition known as vertebral subluxation. In addition to colic, vertebral subluxations are linked to ear infections, headaches and a number of other disorders. Dr. Campbell and Dr. McKeagan use safe and gentle maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments to restore alignment and movement to the spine.
Dr. Campbell and Dr. McKeagan employs specially tailored, extremely gentle adjusting techniques for children, which were developed by pediatric researchers. Extremely light pressure is applied during infant adjustments (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005;28:1-5).
The procedure generates a calming effect that can, in some cases, quiet colic in a single visit.
That’s exactly what happened to 80 of the 317 colicky infants involved in a study including 73 doctors of chiroprac-tic.
Within 14 days of chiropractic care (an average of three visits), 94 percent of the children — including the 80 whose colic was quelled on the first day — “showed a satisfactory response. After four weeks, the improvements were maintained.” (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989;12:281.)
Interestingly, 51 percent of these children had already undergone unsuccessful drug-therapy treatment. Chiropractic not only worked: It worked when drugs failed.
Better Than Drugs
“Medications available . . . have not been proved effective in the treatment of colic,” note researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky (Am Fam Physician 2004;70:735-40).
Danish researchers, who spent two weeks observing a cohort of colicky babies, agree. Not only that, they found that spinal manipulation is more effective against infantile colic than drugs. As part of the study, half of the infants received spinal manipulation and half received the gas-relieving drug dimethicone.
Four to seven days into the experiment, the spinal manipulation group’s crying was reduced by 2.7 hours, com-pared with only one hour for those receiving dimethicone. “From trial day five onward the manipulation group did significantly better than the dimethicone group,” write the study’s authors (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999;22:517–22). Chiropractic care focuses on addressing the root cause of disease and illness — not covering up symptoms with drugs and exposing patients (particularly children) to potentially dangerous side effects.
Additional Colic Contributors
There are other factors, beyond vertebral subluxations, that may contribute to colic. Read on to learn about re-search into these additional factors.
Proteins in cow’s milk “appear to be associated with the prevalence of infantile colic in a significant number of cases,” according to researchers from the University of Calgary, Alberta Children’s Hospital (J R Soc Health 2004;124:162-6).
Even though most colicky children outgrow this protein intolerance, doc-tors of chiropractic urge mothers to breastfeed infants whenever possible.
If breastfeeding is not possible, opt for formulas that exclude cow’s milk. Also, natural flow bottles are recommended. In one study of 36 colicky babies, some of the infants were fed with standard bottles and some with Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Baby Bottles. Those sucking from placebo bottles spent “significantly more time crying and fussing on average than infants using Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Baby Bottles. Because these bottles decreased the time the infants spent cry-ing and fussing, use of these bottles may be recommended for colicky infants who receive any bottle feedings.” (Gastroenterol Nurs 2006;29:226-31.)
Other Feeding Problems
Unfortunately, the ingestion of cow’s milk isn’t the only feeding problem associated with colic.
In one study, researchers divided 43 infants between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 weeks into two groups: colicky (19 infants) and noncolicky (24 in-fants).
Not surprisingly, infants in the colic group displayed more difficulties with feeding, sucking, more discomfort following feedings and lower responsiveness during feeding interactions. “Infants in the colic group also had more evidence of GOR [gastrooesophageal reflux] based on the number of reflux episodes on abdominal ultrasound as well as maternal report of reflux.” (Arch Dis Child 2004;89:908-12.)
Feeding posture may also play a role. Babies should be held in an upright posture during feeding, to prevent excessive intake of air, and burped following feeding.
In addition, research indicates that mothers nursing colicky infants should steer clear of caffeinated beverages, garlic, gas-producing vegetables, spicy foods and dairy products.
Women who smoke are twice as likely to have babies with colic, compared with nonsmoking moms, researchers report (Arch Dis Child 2000;83:302-3).
Over-stimulation may also trigger colic. Studies suggest that reducing activity and exposure to stimuli — such as music, television and light — especially prior to bedtime, can keep infants colic-free (BMJ 1998;316:1563-9).
On the other hand, calming activities, such as massaging your infant, may ward off colic by promoting quality sleep. For instance, one study that looked at 16 mothers and their babies indicates that infant massage enhances sleep quality by triggering natural sleep-wake cycles called circadian rhythms.
“The results of the present study show a clear, long-term effect of massage therapy on the development of circadian rhythm,” says study author Sari Goldstein Ferber, Ph.D. “Massage therapy by mothers . . . serves as a strong time cue, helping infants coordinate their developing circadian system with environmental cues,” Dr. Ferber notes. “The current findings highlight the importance of mother-infant interactions and environmental cues for the development of the infant.”