Children's Health


A most interesting research article came across my desk which has already changed the way pediatrics is being practiced in Denmark. The question is: Will the American medical community take notice -- for the benefit of the children.

The University of Southern Denmark published the results of an important follow-up study on infantile colic in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics (JMPT, Oct 99). JMPT is a peer-reviewed journal of the highest caliber and the study’s design conformed to the randomized, controlled trial model so beloved of the medical profession.

It was a follow-up to a 1985 study which surveyed the results in 316 infants who had moderate to severe colic and who were brought in for chiropractic care to 50 clinics in Denmark. The results were impressive: 1. A dramatic reduction (>50%) in colic symptoms after the first treatment; 2. An overall success rate of 94% (colic stopped in 60% and improved in 34%) after an average of 3 treatments over the course of 2 weeks, with no adverse side effects.

In the new study (consisting of 50 infants between the ages of 2 and 10 weeks), the goal was to compare chiropractic manipulation to the most common medical treatment -- dimethicone. The results again were impressive! Dimethicone treated infants did no better than what was predicted for the “placebo” effect. The chiropractic results were a 67% reduction after 12 days. (The results are skewed downward due to the study design: 9 of the 25 babies in the medical group dropped out because of a worsening of symptoms during the course of treatment. The drop outs were excluded from the final analysis of the results. Therefore the 67% difference is even more impressive than it first appears.)

Why is this study important? It represents the best scientific documentation to date that infants benefit substantially from spinal manipulation. Infantile colic is common; it affects approximately 20% of newborns and can be very destructive to family life. The most accepted definition is “Unexplainable and uncontrollable crying in babies from 0 to 3 months old, more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for 3 weeks of more, usually in the afternoon and eveninig hours.” A variety of causes for colic have been suggested, and discarded, when no research showed no differences between colicky and non-colicky infants. Likewise, a variety of medical interventions (drugs) have been tried and discarded (often due to serious side effects).

Now, in a head-to-head comparison, chiropractic manipulation has been shown to be safe and effective for the relief of infantile colic. In Denmark, pediatricians have already begun referring babies for chiropractic manipulation. Will the American medical profession pay heed?

If you would like to read the full details on these studies, a copy of the review article can be found in our reception area -- in the blue binder entitled “Kid’s Health.” The article is in The Chiropractic Report, November 1999, page 1. When next you are in the office, take a few minutes to read it. I think you’ll be impressed. If you need a copy for friends or relatives, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and we will provide you a copy by return mail.

Does this apply to you? If so, see our information on Consultations.