I get asked all the time what are the main reasons that infants receive chiropractic adjustments at your office. Well these are my three top reasons that parents bring their infants to the office they are in no specific order , they are colic, acid reflux and ear infections. So, let's go over each one separately with the frequency, causes and treatment options.
Colic is defined as comfortable as crying in a young baby that exerts exhibits periodic fussiness that can last over hours or days . Colic is characterized by loud piercing cry, tightened stomach muscles and flexed legs. Generally, it starts around three weeks of age and can last up to 6 months. There is no cause of colic and about 20% of infants experience this distress not only on the baby but mom and family as well. Chiropractic care has shown to be highly effective for reducing the colic symptoms up to 94% of babies with chiropractic adjustments. In the Journal Manipulative and Physiological Therapies and that spinal adjustments are shown to decrease of 67% symptoms as opposed to only 30% decrease of the infants on medication. Any misalignment in the infant’s spine causes disturbance to the nerves of the stomach, intestines, and other abdominal organs could adversely affect gastric function and result in discomfort, gas, and other colic symptoms. The Chiropractic doctor specializes in the detection and correction of misalignments (subluxations). As chiropractic helps to restore normal function of the nervous system, the infant’s digestive tract and other related organs have a better opportunity to receive nerve supply from the brain, bringing it back to full normal potential. Chiropractic care is gentle, specific, and highly successful option for treating infants.
The second most complaint is ear infections. Over 80% of children experience at least one ear infection by the age of 3 according to the National institute of Health. Reoccurring ear infections account for over 35% of all pediatrician visits in the United States. By the age of three, over two thirds of all children have had one or more episodes of otitis media or middle ear infection. Tubes in the ears have a 98% recurrence of infection within two months while 25% of those with tubes suffer from hearing loss years later. So, what is an ear infection? It's simply inflammation that happens in the middle part of the ear. This infection manifests as fluid buildup that occurs just behind the child’s eardrum. Medical doctors call this condition OM or Otitis Media. There can be many different signs which include crying, pulling on the ears, drainage of the ears, hearing changes, fever, lack of balance or difficulty sleeping one. What I've found after 28 years in Chiropractic practice is when the upper neck vertebrae are out of alignment which is typically thru the birth process, the eustachian tubes don't drain as effectively as they should causing a backup of fluid in the ear. Gentle Chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck region allow for proper function of the nervous system and ear relieving the middle ear pressure and promoting proper drainage. According to the Pediatric Adolescent Medical Journal, chiropractic adjustments has been quite helpful with reducing recurrent ear infections. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies showed that chiropractic adjustments improved symptoms by 93% and 75% of these showed improvement in only 10 days. In a 2003 Pediatric medical journal found that those who received manipulative therapy had fewer episodes of Acute Otitis Media (AOM), fewer surgical procedures and had higher rates of normal tympanograms (tubes).
The third most common complaint is called acid or infant reflux (GERD). GERD is quite common in infants over with over two-thirds of 4-month-olds have symptoms of GERD. By 1 year old, up to 10 percent of infants have symptoms of GERD. This occurs when food or milk mixes with the stomach acid in his regurgitated backwards through the mouth. While babies with Reflux often vomit frequently, they also may experience pain and discomfort especially when they're on their back and they refused to eat, cough and cry excessively due to different cause of the reflux. This reflux is a common condition in infants and young children when the spine is restricted or misaligned. This occurs especially at the levels of the mid and upper back region causing additional stress on the nervous system which have to do with digestion such as reflux. This persistent crying, distress, and digestive symptoms (reflux, constipation, and abdominal pain) is evaluated by a chiropractor for structural or misalignments problems in the middle back region. I have found that sometimes during the birth process, the spine can be twisted and turned causing torque on the upper spine and misaligning vertebra. In a recent 2019 article from Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic, an infant with severe acid reflux and constipation had a series of adjustments over six weeks. The infant complaints resolved with chiropractic care. And a 2008 study from the Journal Canadian Chiropractic Association, the symptoms of GERD were significantly decreased, and patient exhibited total resolution of symptoms within approximately three months of care. Infants and children suffering from acid reflux (GERD) may benefit from chiropractic care.
And so there you have it, the top three reasons that infants come to our office which are colic, ear infections and acid reflux. I've always said, “it's easier to build a child future repair an adult”. I truly feel the importance of having your infant checked for a misalignment shortly after birth. Having a properly aligned spine from birth allows the body to be in a perfect alignment thus allowing optimal nerve function to all glands, organs, and tissues. Chiropractic care can ensure that your baby is healthy, happy, and well aligned through their development and growth. Thanks for reading, Dr. Joe