Research out of Great Britain offers hope to parents across the globe whose weary morning appearance is caused by a crying infant at home. Baby’s tears not only concern mom and dad about his/her health, they often disrupt the entire family – and in worst case scenarios may impact postnatal depression and lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Where should parents turn? Well, research authored by Joyce Miller of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic at the University of Bournemouth details that an excessively crying baby drives 21% of families in the UK to seek care. She found that pharmaceutical, dietary and behavioral interventions most often provide no comfort to the infants – or anyone in the family.
But, a trip to the chiropractor offers relief to crying babies and those living under the same roof.
Miller’s work, entitled Cry Babies: A Framework for Chiropractic Care, notes that persistently crying infants are traditionally diagnosed with colic – defined in 1954 by Dr. M.A. Wessel as “bouts of crying amounting to more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, for more than 3 weeks.” A useful description for research, but not very consoling to distressed parents. Furthermore, the diagnosis of colic implies gastro-intestinal disorder. Yet, out of the approximately 5,000 infants brought to the University’s teaching clinic in one year’s time, only 7% presented with digestive issues. 63% of these infants were brought to the clinic due to excessive, unexplained crying.
“Perhaps the term ‘colic’ should be abandoned,” writes Miller.
Why did chiropractic succeed where other options failed to sooth the seemingly inconsolable child?
Chiropractic care is primarily aimed at correcting biomechanical and neurological fault. Miller’s writings offer ever-increasing evidence that antenatal and natal factors contribute to irritability in infants.
“Pre-natal constraint – pressure in the womb, trauma during birth, the use of forceps or other extraction devices – may be the underlying cause for the discomfort of the crying infant,” according to Dr. Pat Dougherty, a Spokane-based chiropractor whose has seen a sharp increase in his pediatric patients in recent months.
Miller’s research established protocols that many doctors, including Dougherty, are following.
“After ruling out other diseases and clinical conditions that could cause gastro-intestinal disorders – and after interpreting the baby’s growth chart for consistent development – I have found that manual spinal adjustments bring about a significant reduction in an infant’s crying, followed by better sleeping patterns and an improvement in posture,” continued Dr. Dougherty.
And, while tranquility leads to a happy household, pediatric chiropractic care offers long-term benefits as well.
“Chiropractic provides a maintenance program for one’s nervous system that allows the human body to operate at peak efficiently,” states Dr. Dougherty. “If the body is free of nerve interference, it promotes health. Providing chiropractic to an infant and continuing through adulthood is the true definition of health care – taking steps to ensure health instead of waiting for pain or illness,” added Dr. Dougherty.
“I guess it’s fair to say that if you’re not bringing your baby to a chiropractor, it’s a crying shame,” concluded a smiling Dr. Dougherty.
Anyone wishing more information may contact Dr. Dougherty, whose office is located at 2110 North Washington Street, Spokane, USA (telephone 509-327-4373).
Joyce Miller, “Cry Babies: A Framework for Chiropractic Care,” The Clinical Chiropractic (2007) 10, 139-146.