March is Colic Awareness Month, and if you are a parent who has had a colicky baby, you are plenty aware.

Colic is defined as comfortless crying in a young child or a baby and the child exhibits periodic fussiness that can last at least 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 3 or more weeks. Colic is characterized by problems of loud piercing cry, tensed abdominal muscles, flexed legs, and clenched fingers. It generally starts around three weeks of age and lasts until around three months but sometimes lasts for as long as six months. Approximately 10-20% of babies are affected by colic.

There is no known single cause for colic, but there are many theories that could contribute to an infants’ non-stop crying. Some believe that colic may be related to birth trauma, or injury to the spine due to position in utero. If there is uneven muscle tension, or vertebrae out of alignment in the neck or upper back (which can cause nerve irritation leading to pain in organs like the stomach or other body tissues), this can cause a baby to be get extremely upset. Birth trauma may also cause irritation in the cranium, or skull of the infant, and cause many problems such as constant crying. Procedures done to the mom or baby during birth and immediately after (vaccuum, forceps, C-section, pitocin, circumcision, shots, etc) may also be painful or traumatic to the infant, and cause the baby to become stuck in a pain pattern. Some also believe that vaccines may contribute to colic, as post-vaccination encephalitis (brain swelling) can cause increased pressure in the skull and lead to pain and inconsolable crying. Others believe that colic is related to digestive issues, either having issues breaking down proteins in breast milk, or from constantly switching formulas.

Whatever the reason, it is extremely important to find treatment to help soothe and comfort these infants. Constant and prolonged crying can be exhausting for an infant, and makes it even harder for them to eat and sleep properly. Prolonged distress also increases cortisol levels in the infant, which can have detrimental effects on development. Many parents are persuaded to stop nursing and switch to formula to “see if it helps”, which can also have negative impacts on the health of the baby. It is also important to find out the root cause of the colic, and not to cover up the symptoms with prescription meds and stomach acid reducers.If there is a physical or structural reason for the constant crying, then the solution needs to physical in nature as well, not chemical.

Colic affects the entire family, and many parents are exhausted and burnt our from dealing with an inconsolable baby. Parents of infants with colic are also reported to have significantly higher stress levels than parents whose babies don’t have colic. The frustration and stress of trying to soothe a colicky baby may interfere with mother-baby bonding and can increase the risk of postpartum depression. In addition, colicky babies are more likely to be victims of shaken baby syndrome and child abuse.

Chiropractic care has given some of the best results, with 94% of colicky babies showing improvement with chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic care is a gentle, conservative, and highly successful option for treating infants with colic. Chiropractic adjustments for infants are gentle, specific, and safe.Research on chiropractic treatment and colic has shown remarkable benefits over other treatments such as dietary changes, medication, and infant positioning. A clinical trial published in 1999 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that “Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving infantile colic”. For this study the researchers randomly put infants diagnosed with colic into two groups. One group was given the anti-gas medication dimethicone for two weeks and the other group received chiropractic care for two weeks. The babies in the chiropractic group showed a 67% decrease in crying while the babies on medication showed a 38% decrease in crying. Another study with 316 children also showed great improvement in colic as a result to chiropractic care. This study used diaries from mothers of colicky babies to track the amount of crying. These better results showed up after an average of only three chiropractic adjustments within two weeks. The International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association has a data bank of chiropractors who work with infants.

Dr. Trudell has safely treated many infants who presented with colic symptoms with gentle chiropractic care. Many parents noticed a significant decrease in the amount of crying (length of time, decreased number of episodes, and/or total resolution of crying). While every child is different and results vary, isn’t it worth it as a parent to try a safe and conservative approach FIRST, instead of “waiting it out”, or turning to prescription medications with potential dangerous side effects? Remember, as a parent, you do not need to ask anyone’s permission to treat your child. You have the right to use safe and effective forms of treatment, and should never be made to feel that your options are limited, especially when it comes to the health of your baby.

Below are some research articles and links to studies showing the benefits of chiropractic care and infantile colic. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about colic, or would like to set up a chiropractic consultation for your child.

Somatic Dysfunction and the Phenomenon of Visceral Disease Simulation

Efficacy of Chiropractic Manual Therapy on Infant Colic: A Pragmatic, Single-Blind, Randomized Control Trial

Costs of Routine Care for Infant Colic in the UK and Costs of Chiropractic Manual Therapy as a Management Strategy Alongside a RCT for this Condition

19 Additional Studies on Colic and Chiropractic

Articles from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA)

Chiropractic Care of Children with Colic

14 Research Articles on Chiropractic and Colic 

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About the Author

Dr. Brenda Trudell is a chiropractor and owner of New Beginnings Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, WI. The clinic focuses on natural health, especially for women, pregnancy and children through chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, fitness, nutrition, essential oils, and more. As a female chiropractor, she understands the special circumstances surrounding women's health. Men and women are not created equal, and it is important to acknowledge that in the healthcare world. She strives to find the most current healthcare information to help all of her patients.

Dr. Trudell is available to present to groups on many different topics. Please contact the office for details or with any questions. Dr. Trudell is certified in the Webster Technique. For more information, visit or email at