Chiropractic treatment of infant colic

Many parents claims that chiropractic treatments of Colic has been successful for their babies, but does it really help or is the effect of chiropractic treatments only a rumor? The only research we've found on the topic is a research done by a Norwegian research team at the University of Bergen in 2000/2001. The research team tested 86 colicky infants (original 100, but nine where excluded and five dropped out). 46 colicky infants where given chiropractic treatments (all infant where treated by the same chiropractor) and 40 infants where treated with a placebo.

The result of the research

Of the infants given chiropractic treatments 69.9% (32 infants) showed some degree of improvement. Of the infants treated with placebo 60% (24 infants) showed some degree of improvement. So how do we read this results. A scientist will come to the conclusion that chiropractic treatment is not working, since the success rate of chiropractic treated infants is very close to the success rate of the placebo group. An average parent, however, will think that with chiropractic treatments there is a 69.9% chance that the infant gets better. Even though the scientist probably has right, the effect of chiropractic treatment seems like a placebo effect, you should never underestimate the psychological effect (on the parent). When a parent takes a colicky child to the chiropractor and notices that the child is “healing” the parent will get a relief, she/he is doing something right, she/he is helping the child. Never underestimate these feelings. It feels wonderful to be an active participant in the process of helping a little child (and an exhausted parent).

Should parents take their colicky child to the chiropractor? We leave it to the individual parents to make that decision. We do not have enough knowledge to recommend for nor against chiropractic treatments of colic.

The research mentioned in the text above is described in the article “Randomized controlled trial of infantile colic treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation” by E. Olafsdottir, S. Forshei, G. Fluge, and T. Markestad. You can read the article by clicking on the following link:

Randomized controlled trial of infantile colic treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation