Chiropractic Pediatrics

Pediatric Chiropractic

Infant chiropractic can help realign baby’s spine after birth, which can reduce colic, spitting up, aid in successful digestion, and prevent a multitude of other short and long term problems.

Recent studies are beginning to confirm what a century of clinical experience has already shown—that chiropractic care for children is not only safe, but also effective for a variety of pediatric conditions. 

baby-chiropracticDr. Joyce Miller and her colleagues at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in the U.K. have contributed much to our knowledge of chiropractic pediatrics in the past few years. Here is a brief summary of some of their latest studies:

  1. Safety study: Miller et al. examined 781 pediatric patients under three years of age (73.5 percent of whom were under 13 weeks) who received a total of 5,242 chiropractic treatments at a chiropractic teaching clinic in England between 2002 and 2004.¹ There were no serious adverse effects (reaction lasting >24 hours or needing hospital care) over the three-year study period. There were seven reported minor adverse effects, such as transient crying or interrupted sleep.
  2. Nursing study: Miller et al. also performed a clinical case series of chiropractic care for 114 infants with hospital- or lactation-consultant-diagnosed nursing dysfunction.² The average age at first visit was three weeks. All infants in the study showed some improvement, with 78 percent able to exclusively breastfeed after two to five treatments within a two-week period.
  3. Colic: Browning et al. performed a single-blinded randomized comparison trial of the effects of spinal manipulative therapy and occipito-sacral decompression therapy on infants with colic.³ Forty-three infants younger than eight weeks of age received two weeks of chiropractic care. Two weeks and four weeks after beginning treatment, the infants in both treatment groups cried significantly less and slept significantly more than prior to receiving chiropractic care.
  4. child-chiropracticLong-term sequelae of colic: Research has shown that children who were colicky as infants suffer from poor behavior and disturbed sleep as toddlers. Miller et al. performed a survey of parents of 117 such toddlers who had received chiropractic care as infants vs. 111 who had not received chiropractic care.4 They found the treated toddlers were twice as likely not to experience long-term sequelae of infantile colic, such as temper tantrums and frequent nocturnal waking. In other words, colicky infants who had received chiropractic care were twice as likely to sleep well and to experience fewer temper tantrums in their toddler years.

Joyce Miller, et al. performed a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy for colicky infants. The infants were randomized into three groups: 1) treatment with parent blinding; 2) treatment with parent aware; and 3) control group receiving no treatment, with parent blinding. (Parent blinding means parents are unaware of whether or not their infant receives treatment.)

To evaluate the results during the ten-day treatment period, parents filled out a 24-hour diary, recording crying time, as well as their impression of overall change. Infants in both treatment groups decreased their crying time by 44 percent (blinded) and 51 percent (non-blinded), while infants in the no-treatment control group reduced their crying time by 18 percent.

Lack of parental blinding has been cited in the past as a source of bias in studies of chiropractic care for colicky infants, implying that parents with knowledge of treatment report less crying. The results of this latest study address this by showing that parental blinding does not influence outcomes, since there were no significant differences in reported crying time between those parents blinded and not blinded.

Miller, et al. concluded, “This study found that excessively crying infants were at least five times as likely to cry significantly less if they were treated with chiropractic manual therapy than if they were not treated.”