Trying to comfort a baby with colic can be not only very stressful, but at times feel impossible.
The unrelenting cries and uncertainty as to when it will stop can have you clutching at straws.
While there are a variety of remedies that people will suggest to help with infantile colic, a great evidence based and results focussed intervention is actually chiropractic care.
Firstly, what is colic?
Colic is defined as an intense, chronic and unrelenting period of excessive crying for no apparent reason (we will touch on this later).
Often these episodes will occur in the evening when the baby and parents are at their most fatigued.
2 hours + of unrelenting crying qualifies by most standards as colic.
The most common age for babies to be affected by colic is from 6 weeks old onwards; with some cases having occurrences until 6 months of age.
Signs & symptoms of colic
Colic can present differently from baby to baby, but below are some of the frequent presentations that accompany infantile colic
-Intense, high pitched crying (often it will seem incredibly severe, almost as though the baby has injured themselves)
-Flushed red face
-Increased tension and tone throughout the body – tense belly, stiff legs and arms, clenched fists
-Unsettled with feeding, rocking or any other care that has calmed the baby in the past
Let’s be clear – chiropractic does not cure colic, nor does it help EVERY baby with colic. But the research shows that more often than not, the signs and symptoms of colic improve when a parent brings their child to a chiropractor for care.
How do chiropractors help babies with colic?
Chiropractic for children and babies differs SIGNIFICANTLY from what most people think it to be.
There is absolutely no popping or clicking of the spine and joints. There is no twisting of the neck. There are no sharp thrusts or big forces put through the body.
Instead, gentle and specific pressure is applied to different regions of the spine and body to help improve the articulation and alignment of these joints.
As chiropractors we assess for misalignments of the spine, also known as subluxations, which can irritate surrounding musculature and ligaments, interfere with the relationship between the spine and nervous system, and most importantly, create discomfort and irritability for a young newborn.
Often the baby will be more calm during and after as they relax during the adjustment.
Why would my baby’s spine need any assessment? They haven’t had any injuries or falls yet?!
It’s a great question.
Feeding, sleeping and nappy changes make up the bulk of a newborn’s day. That doesn’t seem very taxing for a body?
But don’t forget the labour of birth.
The birth process is physiologically a very tolling event for both mum and bub, regardless of whether natural or assisted. As a young baby is stretched and compressed through the birth canal, their body adapts, compensates and misaligns accordingly. Interventions like vacuum extraction, forceps and alike add even greater stress to a young spine – all of which can cause misalignments and discomfort for a young baby – resulting in colic.
At Sims & Finn Chiropractic our chiropractors have undergone further education in the management and care of child and paediatric patients.
We strive for an evidence based, results focussed and patient centred approach to better healthcare.
At all times we will keep you informed and also guide you through our assessment and care of your baby or child.
Here are 2 of my favourite research studies that highlight how chiropractic care can assist babies with colic – and more importantly their parents too.
1. The effect of chiropractic care on infantile colic: results from a single-blind randomised controlled trial
Found that excessive crying was reduced by half an hour in favour of the group receiving chiropractic care compared with the control group
2. Is chiropractic an effective treatment in infantile colic?
Found that there is good evidence that taking a colicky infant to a chiropractor will result in fewer reported hours of colic by the parents.
*Please note that there are far more articles, studies and analysis of chiropractic and colic that support the use of chiropractic adjustments to help with this presentation in newborns.
Most parents will have never considered chiropractic care for their child, and it can be a bit daunting going to a new healthcare professional for the first time.
We appreciate this and want to let you know that we will do everything we can to make your first consultation a positive experience. We are very comfortable with crying babies – so please do not feel anxious about bringing in an unsettled child to our practice.
If you have any questions about chiropractic care for children, or would like to make an appointment please call one of our centres below:
52 Stud Road, Dandenong 3175
62 Cranbourne Road, Frankston 3199
25 Main Street, Pakenham 3810
Koo Wee Rup
215 Rossiter Road, Koo Wee Rup 3981