Study of 43 infants shows less crying and more sleep
(03/10/09, Spokane). A study was conducted late last year by doctors at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in the United Kingdom to determine if chiropractic care had any benefit for colicky infants. Colic is generally defined as persistent crying, not likely to be soothed by a caring parent, mainly occurring in late afternoon and evening in infants who are well fed and healthy.
“Colic is a condition with no known treatment protocols that have proven to be entirely effective,” said Spokane-based Dr. Pat Dougherty, D.C. “This study represents an interesting approach that parents with colicky babies may want to try.”
Researchers established criteria for inclusion in the study: infants less than eight weeks old who cried more than three hours for at least four of the previous seven days. The study group was eventually set at 43 children.
“Two methods of chiropractic care were used, both very gentle, non-invasive procedures,” said Dr. Dougherty. “Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) was used on 22 of the infants, and occipito-sacral decompression (OSD) on the other 21, all selected at random for each particular care methodology.”
By the 7th day of the short-term trial study, crying was significantly reduced by about 2 hours per day in both groups. By the 14th day of the trial, that reduction in crying was even more pronounced. Four weeks after the completion of the study, colic had disappeared in 82% of the infants undergoing the SMT care and in 67% of the infants undergoing the OSD care.
“A properly functioning nervous system is just as important in infants as it is in adults,” said Dr. Dougherty, who makes a point of encouraging all her adult patients to bring in their children to get checked out. “Stress and other imbalances have an overall effect on our bodies that we in the profession refer to as subluxations,” explains Dr. Dougherty, whose chiropractic practice features the Insight Subluxation Station, a technology used by NASA in the space program, to measure nervous system health and performance. “Listen to your body and you can dramatically alter your well-being,” Dr. Dougherty continued.
Dr. Dougherty added that studies like these give insight into potentially new ways to approach age-old problems of health, but was quick to remark that such studies are just a first step toward further understanding health issues like colic.
“Comparison of the short-term effects of chiropractic spinal manipulation and occipito-sacral decompression in the treatment of infant colic: A single-blinded, randomized, comparison trial,” by Maria Browning and Joyce Miller, Clinical Chiropractic (2008) 11, 122-129