Colic strikes 20 percent of all babies, and what experts do know is that it is not the result of genetics or any event during pregnancy or childbirth. While there are multiple theories, none really ask the big question – what is colic?
Colic is defined as severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen caused by intestinal gas or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies. And suffer they do. They tighten their little fists, and seem to suffer with tightened abdominal muscles. Plus they cry and very little if anything seems to calm them down.
What Causes Colic?
There are many theories about the cause of colic, including:
- Digestive issues, particularly due to intolerance to cow’s milk
- An immature digestive system
- Air or gas in the intestinal tract
- Increased hormone levels that cause stomach aches or fussiness
Many colicky babies will cry at the same time every day, often late afternoon or early evening. Unfortunately these episodes can last for hours, sometimes late into the night, causing for a highly stressful situation. It often seems that no matter how hard a parent works, the baby will not calm down.
Many believe in the “rule of 3” and often a doctor will diagnose colic based on these rules – crying for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, and for longer than three weeks in an infant who is well-fed and otherwise healthy. Parents of colicky babies report significantly higher levels of stress than parents of infants without colic. And no wonder. As a parent you want to do everything in your power to calm your baby. Those babies with colic are often inconsolable. So what is a parent to do?
Consider Chiropractic Care for Colic
Research on chiropractic care for colicky babies has shown benefits over other treatments, such as dietary changes, medication and infant positioning. In fact, there have been numbers as high as 94% reported in improvement of colic symptoms in babies receiving chiropractic adjustments.
For example, a randomized clinical trial published in 1999 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that babies receiving chiropractic adjustments for two weeks had a 67% decrease in crying versus babies given anti-gas medication who had a 38% decrease over the same period. Another study of 316 children showed significant improvement in colic with chiropractic care. During this study, mothers of colicky babies kept diaries to track crying. After three months, 94% of the babies undergoing spinal adjustments showed improvements. Even better, the improvements occurred after an average of only three adjustments within two weeks.
Chiropractic care is a gentle, safe way to treat a baby for colic, and often has other benefits for a newborn through the alignment of the baby’s spine. Look for chiropractors who specialize in care for babies and children to be sure your baby receives the best care. While no one study helps us understand the causes of colic, the tender touch of a chiropractor who specializes in children will provide much needed relief.