On June 7, 2018, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study documenting chiropractic helping an infant suffering with infantile colic, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), failure to thrive, and breastfeeding difficulties.
The study begins by acknowledging that chiropractic is growing in popularity as a non-allopathic form of healthcare. The authors report that most adults seeking chiropractic do so for musculoskeletal type complaints while children who are brought to the chiropractor usually are seeking help for non-musculoskeletal conditions.
It may be common for infants to spit up after a meal, however, frequent vomiting associated with discomfort and difficulty feeding or weight loss is considered more serious and is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD). According to the American Family Physician, “Infantile colic, is defined as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child.”
The term “failure to thrive” is used when an infant fails to gain weight or experiences an inappropriate weight loss. There are a number of mechanisms that can facilitate this problem including breastfeeding issues which prevent the infant from getting proper nutrition.
In this case, a 3½-month-old infant girl was brought to the chiropractor by her parents. The girl’s mother reported that her infant daughter suffered from severe infantile colic, acid reflux, had breastfeeding difficulties, and was medically diagnosed as failure to thrive.
It was reported that starting at 3-weeks of age, the infant began struggling to eat, pulling away from her mother’s breasts, arching her back, and crying inconsolably. Medical physicians prescribed a number of medications that had no effect. At one point, the infant was hospitalized due to her weight loss.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included age and size appropriate spinal palpation with a recumbent postural analysis. Subluxations were determined to be present and a specific pediatric adjustment was given.
Following the infant girl’s first chiropractic adjustment, her mother reported that her daughter’s breastfeeding latch had improved. After the second adjustment, it was reported that the baby began to play more. By the fourth adjustment, the baby was rolling over, had increased the amount of breast milk she would consume by 50%, and began babbling. Additionally, the baby’s acid reflux had improved and she was less fussy. By the eighth visit, the baby had gained enough weight that her pediatrician was no longer concerned about her weight and canceled a referral to a gastrointestinal specialist.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “We reported the successful chiropractic care of 3½-month old female suffering from acid reflux and medically diagnosed as failure to thrive. This study opens the possibility that similar patients may benefit from chiropractic care. This study provides supporting evidence that infants presenting similarly may benefit from management of vertebral subluxation.”