Why visit a chiropractor for colic?
An introduction to Chiropractic and Infantile Colic
"Chiropractic is a health profession specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the affects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. Chiropractic practitioners essentially rely upon non-invasive treatment methods and will refer patients to medical practitioners should medication or surgery be indicated. This approach is further reinforced by chiropractors in the promotion of healthy lifestyles such as the avoidance of excess stress, proper diet and exercise."
Definition by The Chiropractic Association of South Africa.
Treatment involves manual therapy including manipulation of the spine, other joints, and soft tissue. It is imperative that the body is maintained in good spinal alignment to allow the nerve impulses to flow from the brain through the spine to the muscles, organs and tissues and back to the brain again. With this cycle working effectively your brain can manage the state and function of your body. When there is interference the brain can not take control over the particular part of the body as either the controlling message from the brain or the informative message (to tell the brain what is going on) to the brain is interrupted. Chiropractic care restores this connection and lets the body function at its optimum.
One of the more popular and better known reasons for babies to visit a chiropractor is for infantile colic. Studies in Denmark and here in South Africa, comparing chiropractic to drug treatment show that there is a significant improvement (up to 90% of all cases) in chiropractic groups, on a two weeks regime. While the cause of colic is not known; too much gas in the intestines, dietary problems, and birth trauma are all attributed to the condition. Mainstream treatments include pharmacotherapy (buscopan, colic drops etc), formulae changing and baby positioning techniques; however, chiropractic is becoming a more popular choice.
Definition of Colic
The definition of colic is an unexplainable and uncontrollable crying in children from 0-3 months of age, for more than three hours a day, three times a week and for more than three weeks — usually in the afternoon and evening hours.
Why visit a chiropractor?
As you can imagine, the birth process can be quite traumatic for babies. As your baby emerges into the world, the neck and back vertebrae may go out of alignment.
These misalignments could affect your baby’s digestion, causing discomfort due to ineffective digestion, leading to colic.
The following article explains:
By: Cyndra Neal
Yοur infant is crying cοnstantly, uncοntrοllably. Yοur pediatrician is telling yοu "tο wait it οut" οr wοrse - prescribing an acid reflux medicine with alarming pοssible side effects fοr reflux and cοlic. Chirοpractic medicine may just be the alternative yοu're lοοking fοr. Many parents dοn't even cοnsider gοing tο the chirοpractοr fοr their infants but chirοpractic pediatric treatment has been receiving mοre attentiοn in the last 20 years.
Chirοpractοrs aren't just fοr adults with bad backs. There are many chirοpractic techniques that can help yοur infant recοver frοm an arduοus birthing prοcess alsο knοwn as Traumatic Birth Syndrοme. During birth, the baby can experience trauma tο the spinal cοlumn especially if a vacuum οr fοrceps are used. Mοthers whο give birth lying οn their backs hinder the birthing prοcess by decreasing in the size οf the cervical οpening and nοt allοwing gravity tο help the prοcess.
This can cause the delivering physician tο have tο twist and pull the baby fοrcefully causing subluxatiοns tο the spinal cοlumn. Subluxatiοns are areas οf interference tο the nervοus system caused by pressure οr irritatiοn frοm spinal bοnes. If labοr is lοng, it can increase pressure οn the neck οf the baby and cause stress tο nerves that cοntrοl sucking and swallοwing. When the vagus nerve is affected, cοlic may result due tο pοοr digestiοn. Chirοpractic medicine cοrrects subluxatiοns in infants by gentle and subtle manipulatiοns-nοt the snap-crackle-pοp that cοme tο mind with an adult chirοpractic adjustment.
Yοur chirοpractοr can alsο suggest natural sοlutiοns fοr cοlic and reflux due tο an immature digestive system. Mοst οffices οffer hοmeοpathic remedies that can be an effective alternative tο prescriptiοn drugs. Make sure tο dο sοme research intο which chirοpractοrs have the mοst experience wοrking with infants.
Childrens Spinal Development
Children are subjected to two formidable challenges to their musculoskeletal system during development.
The first is the trauma of passage through the birth canal. Here it appears that intracranial structures (structures inside the skull) of apparently healthy newborn individuals display a high percentage of indications of micro trauma of brainstem tissues, and it is believed that exposed structures of the junction between the neck and the base of the skull suffer at least as much as the skull itself. In summary, it appears that injury to both the structures inside and outside the skull are the rule rather than the exception.
The second obstacle a child’s emerging musculoskeletal system has to overcome occurs when the infant has to master the transition from four legs to two legs, mastering the task of maintaining an upright spine in learning how to walk.
Children’s last major growth spurt usually occurs between the ages of 11 and 13, after which time both the complaints and treatment regimens of such individuals become congruent with those of adults.
The goal of all interventions is to eliminate any asymmetries in the spinal structure, posture or gait as well as reduce symptoms such as joint or muscle pain. No adjustment/ chiropractic manipulation is ever prescribed without evidence of a relative decrease in mobility/fixation at a particular joint of the spine.
A typical chiropractic consult for your baby
Your first visit to the chiropractor involves talking about different aspects of the baby’s life, from pre-natal, labour and delivery, to post-natal and beyond.
A chiropractic examination assesses normal developmental milestones, including the nervous system. The chiropractor then focuses on chiropractic 'motion palpation', the feeling for small restrictions in the movements of the spinal joints that may cause irritation to both the nervous system and surrounding muscles.
Specific chiropractic treatment uses very gentle spinal manipulative techniques and mobilizations, tailored to the age of the child, to help relax stiff/irritated joints and may subsequently stimulate the nervous and immune systems with movement. Advice may also be given on feeding positioning, how to carry your child and exercises to aid your child's development. A typical treatment regime lasts 4-6 treatment sessions, taking place every other day, although this varies according to the condition involved and at the chiropractor’s discretion. By relaxing the stiff and irritated joints in the spine, the extra stimulus that may be causing the child to cry and be irritable is decreased and the child can begin to feel more comfortable, with a healthy nervous and immune system that is running efficiently and effectively - helping your baby feel happier and more content!
Chiropractic treatment of children is not a ’scary‘ ordeal. Your child has a lot more motion in their spine than we do as adults, due to the initial lack of spinal curves which cause the restriction in motion in adults. Therefore ’adjusting‘ may look like we are moving their bodies further than they should go - but treatment remains within the normal motions of the child's spine.