From the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics comes a documented case study of chiropractic helping a baby who was suffering from chronic constipation. In children, constipation can be expressed as infrequent bowel movements and can have hard and dry stools.
The study begins by noting that between 5-30% of the child population will suffer with this issue. More than one third of the cases become chronic, lasting for more than 8 weeks. The study reports that many factors can contribute to the issue including dehydration, dietary factors such as cows milk intolerance, or a change in diet. Certain organic issues can also lead to constipation as well as psychological factors including purposefully withholding stools which can become an acquired behavior in some children.
If no known cause can be found for the constipation, it is referred to as idiopathic constipation. The study describes how this problem can be detected by noting, “Signs and symptoms of childhood constipation include excessive flatulence associated with a foul smell, infrequent passing of stools, abdominal pain and withholding or straining to stop the passage of stools.
In this case, a mother brought her 2-year-old son in to see the chiropractor. The boy’s problems primarily included three weeks of right shoulder and arm pain which was affecting his daily activities as well as his sleep. His mother additionally reported that her son was suffering with chronic constipation for over a year and was taking what she described as a “significant” amount of medication for the issue. The boy’s bowel movements were extremely foul smelling and very painful to pass. The child was eating a very nutritious and healthy diet which would rule out dietary concerns for causing the constipation.
A chiropractic examination was performed which included inspection, range of motion, and palpation of the spine and pelvic bones. With the findings, age-specific chiropractic care was started on the boy. After only one visit, the child was completely free of the initial pain of right shoulder and arm pain. Within ten days, the boy’s mother reported that her son was having more frequent bowel movements associated with looser stools and less straining. As a result, the boy’s mother was able to reduce his medication.
The study records that after four visits “…the mother reported that for the first time in his life, the child was sleeping throughout the night without waking and routinely passing a stool with no complaint.” After two additional visits the boy was having regular bowl movements without any straining.
In the abstract of this study, the authors give and overview of the case and the results by stating, “After four treatments, the frequency of bowel movements increased from once every other day to twice a day and use of medication decreased. Sleep quality also improved. As a result of the improvements noted with this intervention, a musculoskeletal mechanism for the development and persistence of constipation in children has been proposed.”