Infantile Colic treated by Chiropractors

A prospective, uncontrolled study of 316 infants suffering from infantile colic and selected according to well-defined criteria shows a satisfactory result of spinal manipulative therapy in 94% of the cases. The median age of the infants was 5.7 weeks at the beginning of the treatment. The results were evaluated by analysis of a diary continuously kept by the mother and an assessment file comprised by interview. The study was carried out as a multicenter study lasting 3 months and involving 73 chiropractors in 50 clinics. The results occurred within 2 weeks and after an average of three treatments (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1989: 12:281-288).

In order to be included in this study, strict criteria were chosen to ensure that the infants in this study did have infantile colic in its moderate or severe forms and were otherwise healthy.
All of the mothers were given a diary to be kept continuously for 28 days. The diary contained a column for each day divided into three sections registering feeding, stools, colic periods, awake and sleep periods.

Before consulting a chiropractor, 51% of the infants in our investigation had other forms of treatment for the colic.
In 4% of the chiropracticly treated group no change in colic symptoms was recorded, and in 2% (6 patients) there was an increase in the colic symptoms. In the whole group no side effects of the treatment were reported.
By trial days 4 to 7, hours of crying were reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone group (medication group) compared with 2,4 hours in the manipulation group (P=.04). On days 8 through 11, crying was reduced by 1 hour for the dimethicone group, whereas crying in the manipulation group was reduced by 2,7 hours (P=.004). from trial day 5 onward the manipulation group did significantly better than the dimethicone group.

Infantile colic is estimated to affect about 20% of infants and we can assume that 20 till 40% of all infants in Denmark suffering from infantile colic are being treated by chiropractors. In their overall evaluations of the changes in the infants’ colic symtoms 94% of the mothers state “no colic” or “colic improved”, according to the answer in the assessment files.

Infantile colic is often described as a “benign self-limiting condition” that disappears spontaneously at 3 months of age. But a good observational study has shown that only 47% of infantile colic cases have disappeared at the age of 3 months, a further 41% disappeared before 6 months of age, and the remaining 12% persevered until between the ages of 6 and 12 months.
Although infantile colic may be regarded as a “benign self-limiting condition” that only results in a temporary delay in the development of child, several studies suggest that the effects of infantile colic may be more severe than that. Some studies have concluded that infantile colic can lead to a negative mother-child relationship, which may persist for up to 3 years after the disappearance of symptoms. Other studies conclude that these troublesome and screaming infants are in a high-risk group for ill treatment, for possible central nervous system damage, and even death from being shaken (shaken infant syndrome).

* Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 12, Number 4, August 1989, 0161-4754/89/1204-0281, 1989 JMPT

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