The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a study on May 19, 2016, documenting the case of an infant with gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD) being helped with chiropractic. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. GERD occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your food pipe (esophagus).”
The study authors note that GERD is the most common reason for visits to a gastroenterology clinic in North America. They report that the prevalence of GERD is highest in North America at between 18.1 to 27.8% of the population having the condition. In Europe, the rate is about 9.8–18%, while in Asia, the rate is the lowest at only 5% of the population suffering from GERD at some point.
There has been an increase in alternative healthcare usage, such as chiropractic, for children with problems like GERD. In August of 2008, a study published in Pediatrics noted that, “Almost 40% of parents of pediatric gastroenterology patients are turning to complementary and alternative medicine for their child. Lack of effectiveness of conventional therapy, school absenteeism, and adverse effects of allopathic medication are more important predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use than the type of gastrointestinal disease.”
In this case, a 1-month-old baby girl was brought to the chiropractor. According to her mother, the infant had been suffering with GERD since birth. Her symptoms included gurgling at night, wakeful sleep, and the appearance of a facial grimace. The symptoms were worse at night, but occasionally appeared during the day.
An examination was performed and a determination was made that subluxations were present in the child’s spine. Specific adjustments were given over the following weeks to address the subluxations found by examination.
The study reported that the infant responded well to chiropractic care with the infant showing relief early in care. The length of time the relief was noted got longer as time under care progressed. In rating her child’s improvement, the mother recorded that her child was “…a very great deal better.”
The authors also reviewed a number of other case studies of GERD being helped by chiropractic. This body of evidence adds to the documented effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients with GERD. In their conclusion, the authors wrote, “We reported the successful chiropractic care of a 1-month old female with subjective complaints consistent with GERD. This study opens the possibility that similar patients may benefit from chiropractic care.”