One of the most frustrating chronic pediatric problems for both children and parents is infant colic. According to the American Family Physician, an otherwise healthy, well-fed infant is considered colicky if it cries continually for three hours per day for more than three days in any given week. This will often be accompanied by what appears to be abdominal pain. The American Family Physician also notes that anywhere from 5 percent to 28 percent of infants will be colicky during their first few months of life.
By the time parents of a colicky infant come to see Dr. Nathen Horst, they may already be at their wits’ end on how to stop their newborn from continually crying. Odds are good that they have already tried changing the baby’s sleep schedule, as well as diet, if the baby is formula-fed. Mothers may even have tried changing their diet if they are breastfeeding. This can be even more traumatic for first-time parents, who may already be having difficulty coping with a newborn for the first time. If the infant most often cries at night, both parents and baby may be exhausted due to sleep deprivation.
What Causes Infant Colic?
Although pediatricians are not completely certain, colic appears to be caused by indigestion. Some researchers have theorized that babies with colic may have a form of milk allergy or lactose intolerance. This is why many pediatricians will suggest a change in diet, either for mother or baby. However, breastfed and formula-fed infants are equally likely to develop colic.
Standard Treatment for Colic
Although there is no standard medicinal treatment for colic, some things can be done to alleviate the infant’s distress. Swaddling the infant firmly in a blanket may help, as well as warm baths and gentle massage. Mothers should also consider increasing feedings but with smaller portions each time. Sitting the baby upright for feedings may lessen the amount of air that is swallowed. Parents should also remember to burp their baby after each of these feedings, as trapped gas may lead to a colic attack. Breastfeeding mothers may find that reducing or eliminating coffee, alcohol, or spicy food in their diet will help with their baby’s colic.
Spinal Adjustments to Treat Colic
A spinal adjustment will gently ease the spine back into its natural position. This will relieve pressure on the digestive system, releasing any trapped gas that may be causing the infant distress. Regular adjustments will help prevent gas from again building up in the baby’s digestive system.
Perhaps one of the most thorough studies of the beneficial effects of spinal adjustments for colic was published in the August 1989 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics. A total of 316 infants that suffered from colic were treated with spinal manipulation. After an average of three treatments, an astounding 94 percent of infants showed improvement.
Dr. Horst wants to reassure parents that colic is a phase some babies go through and that spinal adjustments provide a safe, effective treatment. Contact Horst Chiropractic today.