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babyThere are a few theories as to what exactly ‘colic’ is and how it develops in a baby. While some of these theories apply to some of the babies affected by the condition, it doesn’t apply to all of them and, therefore, the etiology of colic is uncertain in the scientific community. However, the one thing we do know is that there are holistic solutions that require no invasive procedures or medications to get your baby growing strong and healthy.

Clay Jones, of sciencebasedmedicine.org, discusses the idea that there are many possible causes of colic in infants. The list includes, but is not limited to:

1. Allergy to cow milk protein – Some young infants develop inflammation of the intestines when exposed to casein or whey. This can also happen with fruit juices that contain sorbitol and why it’s a bad idea to feed an infant these sugary “foods”.
2. Differences in intestinal microflora – There are a few studies that show kids with colic have higher instances of “bad” bacteria as well as higher markers of gut inflammation. Even more studies show that providing “good” bacteria, such as probiotics, might help ease the intestinal pain for infants with colic.
3. Feeding technique – When babies don’t latch on correctly, they aren’t getting the full supply of nutrients they need to sustain themselves and, thus, cry to express their discomfort.
4. Birth trauma – The actual birthing process can cause bodily stress on the head and neck of the newborn leading to subluxations, or misalignment, of the spine.  99% of healthy baby’s are born with spinal dysfunction.

While there are a myriad of possible causes, many doctors and pediatricians advise exhausted parents to “wait it out,” as the baby might outgrow the symptoms. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association points out, three to four months of sleepless nights and living with a baby in pain can seem like forever. Pediatric chiropractors have the ability to perform specific spinal adjustments that get to the cause of the issue. There are numerous case studies where infants with colic have been relieved of their painful symptoms with chiropractic care (Ohm, 2009). Coupled with expert nutritional advice, pediatric chiropractic care can get your baby on the path to wellness naturally.

To begin, it is important to know that problems in your baby’s spine and spinal cord can result in immune-system dysfunction as well as digestive disturbance. According to Randall Neustaedter, OMD and author of The Holistic Baby Guide, digesting food is taxing on an infant’s system, and many symptoms and health problems during the first year have their origin in the digestive tract (p. 19).

Medically speaking, it is easier to prescribe medications to treat a flurry of symptoms than it is to delve into the underlying factors. Studies have failed to show that the symptoms of fussy babies are relieved by these prescription drugs (Orenstein et al. 2009, as cited by Neustaedter p. 23). In fact some pediatricians now belittle the less invasive treatments, such as swaddling or diet changes, and instead prefer to pair together two or more of the currently popular drugs (Neustaedter, p.25). These drugs are usually acid blockers and antacids and come with their own significant side effects. To alleviate the stresses of colic in babies and for parents’ peace of mind, Dr. Neustaedter offers four suggestions for treatment:

1. Solve feeding issues: i.e. latching on
2. Stay close: tuning baby’s circadian rhythm to that of her mother
3. Address food sensitivities: caffeine, alcohol, food additives, etc.
4. Get professional assistance: Here’s where a pediatric chiropractor comes in!

A baby with persistent crying, distress, and reflux symptoms is best evaluated for structural problems by a pediatric chiropractor.  Proper and routine pediatric chiropractic care can be helpful in establishing balance in the baby’s system and relieving discomfort.  Usually, birth trauma occurs from pulling on the head and rotating the neck when yanking the baby from the birth canal.  This rough-handling tactic results in tension in and torsion- twisting- of the upper spine and neck.  When spinal misalignment’s occur they are often caused by birth trauma.  The arching of the back seen in babies with reflux are attributed to these spinal-cord stress injuries and the tension they induce.

Chiropractic adjustments are designed to release this tension.  After the first adjustment, babies may be tender and resistant to touch and pressure on their necks, which is normal for adults too.  And like adults, after a few treatments they become accustomed to the procedure and begin to relax.  Releasing tension from the neck results in relaxation of the spinal cord and fascia– the fibrous tissue that covers the muscles and organs- and relief of the inflamed nerves that can trigger unwelcome digestive symptoms and crying (Olafsdottir et al. 2001, as cited by Neustaedter p. 43). These specific spinal manipulations plus the pervasive effect of targeted nutritional assistance can ease the pain of colic in infants and be a truly natural benefit to parents and families.

To find out what chiropractic care can do for your baby’s colic request an appointment online or give us a call (608) 497-1161.


Jones, C. (2013, September 13). Chiropractic vs. conventional dueling perspectives on infant colic. Retrieved from http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org

Neustaedter, R. (2010). Holistic baby guide: Alternative care for common health problems. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Ohm, J. (2009, May 16). Infantile colic. Retrieved from http://icpa4kids.org

Matt Kingston
About the author

Dr. Matt Kingston is a licensed Chiropractor who received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa. Dr Matt can be seen at Chiropractic Solutions in Madison, WI.

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