Colic: What We Know

Crying is baby communication and has many possible drivers; crying babies could be hungry, cold, wet, understimulated, overstimulated, bored, in pain, sick, moody, or anything else under the sun. It often takes some trial and error to figure out what will soothe a baby. When crying becomes loud and persistent, when soothing efforts are fruitless, and when potential physical conditions have been ruled out, the doctor will generally give a diagnosis of colic—which means, “We have no idea why your baby will not stop crying!” How frustrating!

The average infant cries between two and three hours a day. Colic is inconsolable crying that has no known cause. The commonly accepted clinical definition of colic is the “Rule of Three.” An infant that is well-fed and otherwise healthy is colicky if it cries for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for more than three weeks. However, when a baby is in the throes of a high-pitched crying fit, five minutes can feel like three hours.

There are enough gimmicky “colic cure” sales pitches to make your wallet burst into more tears than your child. But ultimately, science doesn*t know much about colic. Nevertheless, there are a number of contributing factors that, if remedied, may improve the situation. These issues may or may not be directly involved in the cause of colic, but they are all things that should be evaluated by every parent. It all fits into the realm of learning about your unique bundle of joy and encouraging his or her best possible health.


Pharmaceuticals like simethicone, dicyclomine, and methylscopolamine are often prescribed to relieve symptoms.  However, they have been found in randomized controlled clinical trials to be either ineffective or unsafe for use in infants with colic. Adverse effects associated with these medications include drowsiness, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as more serious effects such as apnea, seizures, and coma.  Given the lack of effectiveness of various pharmaceutical interventions in the treatment of infantile colic and concerns about adverse effects of these drugs, parents are turning to chiropractic for an alternative approach to care.

Why Chiropractic?

Babies go through a lot of physical contortion on their way out of the birth canal that can cause misalignment of the neck and back vertebrae. As your child is being born, the neck and back vertebrae can go out of alignment due to the stretching and compressing of the body as it emerges into the world. If your delivery included a prolonged pushing stage, forceps or vacuum extraction, or other form of assisted delivery, the chances of a misalignment are great. Even so called “natural” birthing methods can stress an infant`s spine and developing nerve system. The resulting irritation to the nerve system caused by spinal and cranial misalignment can be the cause of many newborn health complaints, such as, colic.

Chiropractic Works

A number of case reports have been published in the biomedical literature describing the successful chiropractic care of infants with colic as well as a large number of children undergoing chiropractic care. Nilsson, in a retrospective uncontrolled questionnaire study of 132 infants with colic, found that 91 percent of the parents reported an improvement following an average of two to three patient visits and one week after initiating care. Klougart and colleagues described 316 infants suffering from colic receiving chiropractic care. Based on an analysis of diaries kept by their mothers and parent interviews, 94 percent of the patients benefited from chiropractic care.

In 1999, Wiberg and colleagues published a study examining the short-term effect of chiropractic treatments of children with colic. In a controlled clinical trial taking place in a private chiropractic practice, children were randomized into two groups. One group received chiropractic care for two weeks while the other was treated with the drug dimethicone for two weeks. Changes in daily hours of crying were monitored and registered in a colic diary. By the end of the first week of care, the number of hours of crying were reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone group compared with 2.4 hours in the chiropractic group. In the second week of care, crying remained reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone group, whereas crying in the chiropractic group was reduced by 2.7 hours. This study demonstrated that chiropractic was superior to dimethicone in the care of children with infantile colic.

In addition to the chiropractic spinal adjustments, a chiropractor can utilize other conservative care approaches for the colicky baby. Dietary interventions, herbal remedies, and behavioral interventions for the child have been shown to be effective, as have parental counseling and general support and reassurance. For example, a low-allergen diet for the breastfeeding mother and low-allergen formula for the baby, or the intake of sucrose solution, have been shown to decrease the symptoms of colic.

The reason that chiropractic treatments work is because they address the cause of the symptoms, not just the symptoms. While you may be giving your baby remedies such as Donatol, Buscopan, or Gaviscon to treat symptoms, they aren’t really doing anything to prevent the colic from happening in the first place. When you confront colic from a chiropractic point of view you are getting to the root of the problem, and many times you can extinguish it completely.

Sacred Health Family Chiropractic & Your Baby

Dr. Logan Brincefield is experienced in doing chiropractic adjustments on newborns. Dr. Logan, a father himself, has chosen to specialize in pre and post natal chiropractic care to ensure that our mothers and babies are the healthiest they can be!  Adjustments on newborns are gentle and use a lot of massage and trigger point therapy.

Bring a favorite blanket or something soft and familiar for the baby to lay on during the adjustment. This will help the baby and you feel more at ease. Dr. Logan Brincefield will let you touch the baby or be nearby during the adjustment.

It is recommended to receive adjustments on a regular basis. Most adjustments last for a few days or weeks, but your baby will tell you if they need another adjustment when the screaming begins again. Dr. Logan Brincefield will talk with you to determine the optimal schedule of adjustments.

Chiropractic treatments may seem a bit radical to you, but they work. They don’t take much time, they usually aren’t all that expensive, and because they provide your child with almost immediate relief they are well worth any expense. Call Sacred Health Family Chiropractic today and learn how you can provide your child with relief sooner rather than later!

It’s worth it!