Colic: A Holistic Approach

As a parent, there is almost nothing worse then watching your brand new baby scream for hours at a time and not be able to do anything about it. The worst part about it is how helpless you can often feel. It’s your job to nurture and protect this perfect little being, but for some reason nothing that you do seems to help.

Believe it or not this is actually way more common than you think. Up to 20% of babies experience infantile colic between the ages of three weeks and three months old and most cases of untreated colic don’t resolve until about four to five months of age. It can be hard to differentiate normal baby cries from colic cries. Here are some common signs to look for to help you determine if your baby may be suffering from colic:

  • Predictable crying episodes, usually in the afternoon or evening
  • Intense and often high pitched crying that is inconsolable, typically lasting upwards of three hours
  • Crying for no reason, you have ruled out hunger, new diaper, tired, etc.
  • Curled up legs, clenched fists, and tight abdominal muscles while crying

At this point, the cause is of colic is still unknown. That being said, gas in the intestines, dietary sensitivities, and birth traumas are all thought to be contributing factors. While there are no lasting long-term developmental effects for the babies, parents are often left traumatized and family life can greatly suffer during the months that your baby struggles with colic.

While the exact cause is unknown, there are treatment options that have proven to be effective. A clinical trial was published in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, which tested the effectiveness of anti-gas medication versus chiropractic treatments for babies suffering with colic. The study found that babies who took the anti-gas medication had a 38% decrease in the amount of crying whereas the babies who received chiropractic treatments had a 67% decrease. (Chiropractic care significantly reduced the colic crying much better than simply taking anti-gas medication.

In my office, I treat colic with a multi-faceted chiropractic approach. I first check the baby’s diet. If the baby is breastfed, we also discuss the mom’s diet. If the baby is formula fed, we look for any sensitivities the baby could have to the formula. Secondly, I check the abdomen for gas buildup. If there is a need, I will perform abdominal massage or recommend natural supplements to help decrease gas buildup within the digestive tract.

Lastly, I check for any birth traumas by evaluating the baby’s spine. If any misalignments are found I will gently correct them and bring more ease and relaxation to their body. Please note that a chiropractic adjustment for a baby requires the same amount of pressure you would use to check if a tomato is ripe.  It is very soft yet incredibly effective at relieving the symptoms of colic.

Typically, within a handful of visits, I expect to see a decrease in the severity and longevity of the colic symptoms. That being said, every baby is different and they will heal and recover at their own pace.  The best way to know if your baby is a candidate for my care is to call my office and request a complimentary 15-minute consultation with me. This way we can sit down and discuss your baby’s specific symptoms and I can help to determine if this treatment option will be helpful. Please don’t wait to call, there is HOPE for relief from your baby’s colic!!

Dr. Kristin Moore, DC is a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor at Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She offers a complimentary 15-minute consultation to the readers of ALIVE magazine. Call Dr. Kristin at (925) 362-8283 to schedule your appointment.