The cause of excessive infant crying in an otherwise healthy infant has continued to elude physicians and parents for many years. Research has failed to create a better understanding of what lies behind this problem. This is partly due to the fact that there has been little effort to subgroup the babies before trying different treatment strategies. There have been a number of studies published through the years showing the effectiveness of chiropractic manual therapy, but none have contributed to our understanding of this problem because they have lacked sufficient quality.  A recent study has been published which sheds some light on this problem. It is unique because parents did not know if their child was being treated. Dr. J. Miller and colleagues published a high quality study which shows clearly that musculoskeletal problems contribute to “colic”.  Low force tactile pressure of spinal joints and paraspinal muscles where dysfunction was found was used for treatment. Previous studies have documented that this treatment is safe for the infant. The results of this study demonstrate that there was a significant reduction of crying in the colicky infant following gentle chiropractic care compared to infants who did not receive treatment.

Early treatment is important because it can affect how the brain interperts pain. Infants that experience a lot of pain are at risk for permanent changes, remaining extra sensitive to pain and discomfort. In some of these infants and children other normal signals, like hunger or light touch, can then be misinterperted as pain. Understanding why the infant has pain and removing the cause of the painful input reduces the likelihood that the child will become and remain hypersensitive to pain.

In an otherwise healthy infant, it is important to understand the nature of the problem. Some infants have a mechanical problem. Infants who are cramped for space in the womb lie in a suboptimal position (twins, breech, transverse, facial presentation, etc). This can affect the form of the head and face, and even the rest of the body. The “banana baby” has a bend in the body and returns to this position at rest. It is a common reason for pain. A long and difficult delivery, as well as an all too fast delivery can strain the head and neck causing pain and discomfort for the infant. A delivery where the baby is pulled or pushed out is associated with straining the neck and sometimes the jaw. If the jaw has been affected, the infants will usually have difficulty breastfeeding. Pictures following delivery not uncommonly reveal this. A history and examination can confirm the diagnosis. These infants respond well to treatment.

Another group of babies that have pain and discomfort are those that react to something the mother is eating or the formula they are getting. They may have an allergy or intolerance. This becomes obvious with a history and examination. Here dietary changes are important for resolution. These babies are commonly diagnosed as having reflux. It is important to remove foods they can be reacting to and then assess for reflux.

Sue har undersökt frågan om spädbarns kolik orsakas av allergi mot komjölksprotein. Hon har publicerat studien, sammanfattningnen kan läsas I följande länk.

Babies who have not bonded with their mothers can be difficult to console. Strategies to address this problem are important to establish bonding between the infant and mother. There is a higher risk for this problem in those babies who did not have skin to skin contact directly after birth and those who had a delay in breastfeeding after birth.