MY BABY IS COLICY! CAN CHIROPRACTIC HELP?
Johns Hopkins Medicine describes colic as a healthy baby crying “for a very long period of time, for no obvious reason.” They go on to state that “it is most common within the first 6 weeks of life. It usually goes away on its own by age 3 to 4 months. Up to 1 in 4 newborn babies may have it.” In other words, the healthcare community at large claims that there is no known cause of colic. It also appears that there are few, if any, solutions.
Chiropractors have claimed to be able to help colicky babies for a long time. In fact, I have seen crying time decrease and significant sleep improvements in my own young children with chiropractic care. I have also seen and heard of dramatic improvements in some of our own infant patients, infant patients under the care of other chiropractors, and babies of family and friends that have sought chiropractic care.
In 2012, a study was performed including 104 babies. These babies made up three subgroups: babies that received no chiropractic care, babies that received chiropractic care with unaware parents, and babies that received chiropractic care with aware parents. Both subgroups of babies that received chiropractic care (regardless of whether or not the parents were aware that they were receiving the care) cried approximately two hours less on average per day compared to the babies that received no chiropractic care.
Some have suggested that colic is caused by gastrointestinal distress. This is very possible. Giving probiotics to the child or dietary changes made by the breastfeeding mother can relieve gastrointestinal distress if the infant’s gut health is poor or they have a food sensitivity. Or, colic could be caused by gastrointestinal distress through a less direct avenue - the autonomic nervous system.
Simply put, the autonomic nervous system is the involuntary nervous system that controls organ function. This autonomic nervous system is further broken down into the sympathetic (“fight-or-flight”) nervous system and the parasympathetic (“rest-and-digest”) nervous system. The fight-or-flight nervous system originates from the mid back and lumbar spine areas. The rest-and-digest nervous system originates in the skull/upper neck and the pelvic area. When spinal bones (or the skull) get fixated or malpositioned, they place tension on the nervous system and cause a dysfunction or dysregulation of the nervous system. These details are highly relevant, because the two main areas of an infant’s spine that typically need to be adjusted are the skull/upper neck area and the pelvic area (specifically the sacral bone in the pelvis).
I say all of the above to say this: If the two main areas of an infant’s spine that typically can become fixated or misaligned (skull/upper neck and pelvic area), and place tension on the nervous system, are also the two same areas where the rest-and-digest nervous system originates, perhaps infants become colicky because their rest-and-digest nervous system becomes attenuated, allowing the fight-or-flight nervous system to take over. If an infant were stuck in “fight-or-flight” neurologically, it makes sense that they would have a difficult time sleeping, being comforted, relaxing, or digesting and processing breastmilk or formula. Perhaps this is why chiropractic has seen some success with colicky infants - because a baby’s nervous system becomes regulated under chiropractic care.
So, if your infant is colicky, and you can’t figure out why, why not give chiropractic a shot? It’s safe, conservative, and cost-effective!
If you would like to learn more about how we can serve you and your family through adult and/or pediatric care, please reach out to the Ollis Chiropractic team at [email protected] or 502-412-8580.