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What is Infantile Colic? - Your parenting partner from pregnancy to pre-school

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What is Infantile Colic?

“Persistent, often violent, crying for no apparent reason, in otherwise healthy and thriving young infants”.

The Diagnosis of Infantile Colic is based on three criteria:

– Crying for greater than three hours per day;
– for greater than three days;
– for greater than three weeks duration;
– during the first three months of life.

Additional facts about Infantile Colic

Crying generally starts at 1 to 4 weeks of age and ends spontaneously at 3 to 4 months of age. This excessive crying is believed to be a reaction to pain. The source of their discomfort is unclear.
What are the signs you need to look out for?

• Excessive crying ;
• Flexing of the hips and knees and drawing up of the limbs towards the abdomen and chest;
• Balling of the fists;
• Extension of the neck
• “Rumbling” Tummy;
• Excessive flatulence;
• Difficulty during feeds and “winding” following feeds; and
• Unsuccessful pacification.

Why is Infantile Colic such a big problem?

• Your baby is in distress (discomfort).
• Parental distress (lack of sleep, inability to pacify the infant, arguments, divorce, etc.)
• The CAUSE of Colic (i.e. your baby’s discomfort) is not well understood.
• Colic may contribute to the development of post - partum depression in new mothers (feeling of uselessness, “I am a bad mother”).
• Research has shown that Colic is one of the leading causes of physical violence towards newborn infants.

What causes Infantile Colic?

• Traditionally, Infantile Colic is believed to be a result of digestion – related problems (e.g. allergy to breast milk or formula) that results in abdominal distention and discomfort.
• Chiropractors believe that the discomfort experienced by your baby, resulting in Infantile Colic, can be ascribed trauma inflicted on their delicate spinal joints during the birth process.

The Negative Cycle of Infantile Colic – The Chiropractic Perspective

1. A safe environment

For nine months your baby has been protected from the “bumps” of the environment by means of the surrounding amniotic fluid in the womb, which acts as a shock absorber.

2. The natural delivery

During a natural birth, your baby is exposed to the forces of contractions and pushed along the birth canal. This results in extreme flexion and extension of the spine throughout the delivery process. Should the baby be in distress, forceps or vacuum extraction methods are often employed, which may cause further injury to the spine.

3. The cesarean delivery

As with a natural birth, a cesarean delivery can be just as, if not more traumatic for your baby. This procedure can be forceful, particularly if performed as an emergency measure (“life over limb”). The most common injuries occurring affect the arm/shoulder, neck and upper back areas.

4. The real world

Once your baby is delivered, he/she is suddenly exposed to the forces of gravity (i.e. undergoes the transition from a non-weight bearing environment in the womb to a weight bearing environment). Thus, the birth process, whether natural or cesarean can result in injury and misalignment of their delicate vertebrae and hence, discomfort.

5. The body tries to protect itself

In an attempt to decrease the load on the delicate spinal joints, the muscles surrounding them may “tighten up”, compound their discomfort. The baby cries as a result of this discomfort and is unable to feed properly, as he/she “gulps” excessive amounts of air that results in abdominal distention, additional discomfort and more crying.

Can Chiropractic Help?

The answer to this question is a resounding “YES!”

• Chiropractic has an over 90% success rate in treating infants for Colic.
• Chiropractors utilize GENTLE spinal mobilization techniques to relieve joint restrictions in your Chiropractic treatment is no more traumatic than a physical examination performed by a pediatrician.
• Infants respond extremely well and quickly to treatment and more often than not, two treatments are sufficient.

What to expect during consultation with a CHIROPRACTOR

• Your chiropractor will ask questions relating to:
– The type of birth and was it an easy delivery.
– What your baby’s APGAR scale was following birth and whether there were any congenital abnormalities noted.
– Are there any positions your baby is adapting, e.g. neck turned to one side, guarding of a limb, etc.
– Feeding difficulties, etc.
• Treatment is usually done very quickly and is often more traumatic to parents than the baby! In fact, by the second treatment babies usually begin to enjoy their treatment!
• It is NORMAL for your baby to cry during a consultation – this is purely due to an invasion of their personal space by a complete stranger in a strange environment.
• Following treatment, it is not uncommon for your baby to fall asleep.
• Most parents report that crying becomes considerably less, that their baby sleeps for longer periods at a time during the night and that feeding and “burping” becomes easier.


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