The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study on July 15, 2019, reporting on the care of an infant who was suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with colic who was helped by chiropractic care.
The study reports that GERD has a world-wide prevalence of 30% of all infants making it the most common gastrointestinal disorder in infants. The second most common is colic which as a 20% prevalence.
In this study, a 3-month-old baby girl was brought to the chiropractor by her mother because she was suffering with infantile colic, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and failure to thrive (FTT). The infant’s parents noticed the symptoms of colic and GERD almost immediately after taking their baby home from the neonatal intensive care unit, where the baby girl was exclusively tube feeding. From that point, it was noticed by her parents that their baby’s symptoms got progressively worse. The parents noted that their baby was unable to hold down more than 3 ounces of formula per feeding without spitting up and/or crying.
The history of the mother’s pregnancy revealed that in-utero, ultrasound imaging determined that the child’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. The infant was delivered premature by Cesarean Section at 34 weeks into the pregnancy.
Several weeks after the birth, the baby was taken to a pediatrician and a variety of medications were unsuccessfully tried to help the infant. The study noted that the girl’s father was reluctant to have the baby brought to a chiropractor because he did not see any possible benefit and he “didn’t believe” that chiropractic was appropriate for babies. After there was no improvement in the baby’s situation under medical care, it was the mother who finally brought the baby to see a chiropractor.
A chiropractic examination was performed on the infant using age-appropriate procedures and testing, including inspection, palpation and thermal scans. Based on the findings and the seriousness of the issues, specific spinal x-rays were taken. From these procedures, it was determined that subluxations were present in the upper cervical (neck) of the infant. The top bone in the neck is the atlas.
A specific and age appropriate adjustment was delivered to the top bone of the baby’s neck. After the adjustment, follow-up thermal scans were performed to verify that the adjustment had been effective.
Following the infant’s first spinal adjustment, her mother reported that when they returned home, her infant daughter went immediately to sleep and took a long nap. This was very unusual for the baby. It was recorded that by the second visit five days later, the infant’s improved sleep was continuing with her mother noting an overall improvement in her baby’s symptoms. Her mother also noted that her baby was able to ingest and hold down larger amounts of food. The baby’s sleep continued to improve and on a subsequent visit to the MD, it was recorded that the baby was gaining weight.
In the study discussion the authors wrote, “In the case presented, upper cervical care of atlas subluxation resulted in improvements in an infant’s ability to hold down food and improved sleep as well as abatement of GERD and infantile colic, failure to thrive.” They continued in their conclusion by saying, “This case report provides supporting evidence on the successful chiropractic care of an infant suffering from GERD, infantile colic and failure to thrive.