Infant colic is not a disease but rather a condition defined by a collection of symptoms. There is no specific test for colic but the symptoms themselves will result in a colic diagnosis in an otherwise healthy baby.
Colic is generally diagnosed in a baby that cries vigorously for long periods, despite all efforts at consolation. Starting around 2 to 4 weeks of age, colic generally peaks at 2 months, subsiding after 3 to 4 months and resolving by 6 months. Colic begins and ends abruptly often around the same of time of day, after meal times, in the late afternoon or evening.
In 1954, pediatrician Morris Wessel introduced the modern definition for colic as an “otherwise healthy baby who has paroxysms of crying, irritability and fussiness lasting for more than three hours per day, more than three days per weeks for a period of three months.”
This definition, referred to as the “rule of threes” is still used by pediatricians. Colic is very common, affecting as many as one in four babies born in the United States.
Some facts about colic: Colic only occurs in otherwise healthy infantsâ€”in other words, if your baby has vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, blood in their stools, hasn’t slept from teething/illness/time change, etc. that is NOT colic. Colic only occurs in infants where no other cause for the crying can be identified.
In cultures where babies are constantly held, nursed on demand, and attended to without delay when they fuss, colic is virtually unheard of.
Drug treatment generally has no place in the management of colic, unless the history and investigations reveal gastroesophageal reflux.
A maternal diets low in dairy, soy, egg, peanut, wheat, shell fish may offer relief from excessive crying in some breastfed infants. Lactobacillus reuteri, endogenous to the human GI tract was found to relieve colic symptoms in breastfed infants within one week of treatment and was more effective than simethicone, suggesting that probiotics may have a role in treatment of infantile colic.
Spinal adjusting of babies has been effectively used for colic and has been evaluated in many studies. Adjusting of babies has been suggested as an appropriate intervention to reduce the severity of symptoms in babies with colic. Six studies were recently reviewed by authors with a conclusion that a greater proportion of parents of infants receiving a manipulative therapy reported clinically significant improvements than did parents of those receiving no treatment. One of the six studies referenced measured infant sleeping time and found adjustments resulted in statistically significant improvement. Another of the reviewed studies looked for adverse events related to the adjusting of infants with colic and none were encountered.(2)
If you know the parents of an infant with colic or you are the parents of a colicky infant consider chiropractic as a safe and effective treatment.
1 Pediatrics. 2007 Jan;119(1):e124-30. Lactobacillus reuteri (American Type Culture Collection Strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study. Savino F, Pelle E, Palumeri E, Oggero R, Miniero R.
2. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12:CD004796. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004796.pub2. Manipulative therapies for infantile colic. Dobson D, Lucassen PL, Miller JJ, Vlieger AM, Prescott P, Lewith G.
If you have a baby with colic, make an appointment at (636)928-5588 to find out how our doctors can help today!