Chiro Treatment of Colic

The Foundation for Chiropractic
Education and Research

HomeMemberWeb DonateNews SubscribeFCER StoreAbout FCERResearch Links


List All News Items


Subscribe to FCER's The Week in Chiropractic--Now FREE


For Release: December 7, 1999
Contact: Robin R. Merrifield
1304 Perry Ave.
Bremerton WA 98310
Phone: 360-478-2716
Fax: 360-478-0834

Study Finds Benefits for Colic with Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation

Des Moines, Iowa--The first controlled randomized clinical trial involving the chiropractic management of infantile colic has just been published by a research group in Denmark at Odense University and in private practice. Although previous studies dating back over the last 10 years have been encouraging, this is the first demonstration of the clear clinical advantage conferred upon infants by spinal manipulation as compared to a control group given dimethicone, commonly used in medical treatment of colic. Each of the two groups of infants, aged 2-10 weeks, was given one of the two treatment regimens (daily administration of dimethicone or 3-5 treatments involving light pressure with the fingertips to restricted vertebral segments in the spine or pelvis) over a 2-week period. The parents of both groups received counseling on diet and lifestyle concerning the care of their participating children.

The main outcome measure was the mean hours of infantile colic behavior (indicated by the number of hours of crying) as registered in the diaries of the trial participants. By trial days 4 to 7, the number of hours of crying was reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone group as compared to a reduction of 2.4 hours in the manipulated group. This disparity became even greater at days 8 to 11 (reduction of crying in the manipulated group of 2.7 hours as opposed to 1 hour in the dimethicone group). Essentially, the manipulated group did significantly better than the medicated group from trial day 5 onward.

For the manipulated group, the results were virtually indistinguishable from those in a prospective study done by the same principle author 10 years ago. This particular investigation is significant in that it is one of a growing number of clinical trials that have yielded positive results for patients presenting conditions other than back pain or headache; it may even signify the management of a visceral rather than a musculoskeletal disorder by spinal manipulation. The only remaining possibility is that infantile colic is a musculoskeletal (rather than the more widely assumed visceral) disorder. In addition, it also adds to the rapidly growing body of literature which supports the effectiveness of chiropractic in the management of pediatric disorders, such as otitis media, enuresis, asthma, and hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder, in addition to colic. Adding these findings to the body of literature that has appeared within the past decade, it is no longer pertinent to suggest that there is no role for chiropractic in treating childhood disorders.

This study, authored by Jesper M. M. Wiberg, Jan Nordsteen, and Niels Nilsson, titled “ The Short-term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded Observer, was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, October 1999, Volume 22, Number 8, pages 517-522.

HomeMemberWeb DonateNews SubscribeFCER StoreAbout FCERResearch Links

Copyright 2002 The Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research

Return to COLIC