Chiropractic and Colic

In this video we examine a study where the finding demonstrated how Chiropractic care can significantly reduce crying time in babies with colic.

A transcript of the video follows.


Chiropractic & Colic

When you’re making the exciting preparations to meet your new baby, most parents are realistic about the fact there’ll be some tears along the way. Crying comes with a territory, but for some, the reality can be a lot more intense. 10 to 30% of all young babies suffer from infant colic, which is an unexplainable condition that causes excessive crying.

In an otherwise healthy baby there is no known cause and few solutions. Being unable to sooth your inconsolable baby can obviously be quite distressing. Aside from being stressful and tiring and even heartbreaking for parents, infant colic can also be a cost burden to our society. In terms of healthcare resources, the good news is that there are some things that you can do to soothe your baby.

A study was published in 2020 that reported the results from a thorough review of the research and guidelines relating to common interventions for infantile colic. The study looked at the benefits of probiotics, manual therapy, and drug therapies for colic. The results of this study were really interesting.

The strongest evidence they found was for the use of probiotics in breastfed infants. Probiotics are simply types of good bacteria that can be beneficial to your body. In this review, the author said that babies with colic who were given probiotics had a reduction in crying time of about 30 minutes to an hour each day.

Probiotics are really safe and affordable.

They can be bought as supplements from a health food store, but can also be found in lots of foods that you get from the supermarket, like some types of yogurt and fermented foods. So talk to your lactation consultant or midwife about whether probiotics may be a good option to try, and what sources of probiotics may be the best for your baby.

The other option that the review recommended was manual therapy, which includes chiropractic care and other hands-on approaches. The research evidence wasn’t quite as strong as the evidence for probiotics, but it was really favorable.

The review found that babies that received manual therapy, including chiropractic care, had a reduction in crying time of between 33 and 76 minutes a day.

Imagine what an extra hour or more a day without crying could mean for you and your baby. Let’s take a closer look at one of the studies that went into the review, which focused on how chiropractic care may help babies with colic. This study was published in 2012 and included 104 babies with colic, eight weeks old or younger, who came to a chiropractic teaching clinic.

The babies were randomized into three groups. The first group of babies was given chiropractic care, and their parents were aware that this was happening. The second group also received chiropractic care, but their parents didn’t know whether their baby was receiving chiropractic care or the control intervention, and the third group didn’t get checked by a chiropractor, and instead they received the control intervention.

These parents also didn’t know whether their baby was receiving chiropractic care or the control intervention. Over a 10 day period, all parents completed daily crying diaries documenting their baby’s behavior. The first and second group of babies who were receiving chiropractic care were individually examined and given gentle spinal adjustments were required and as often as needed.

If you take a look at this graph, this side is the average change in crying time measured in hours, and down here is the number of days, so up to 10 days all up. We can see here that the babies who didn’t receive chiropractic care saw a reduction in crying time of about an hour or less. But now look at the babies who did receive chiropractic care.

They’ve fared significantly better with up to three hours less crying in some cases. The researchers found that both groups of babies who received chiropractic care responded equally well.

We can see here that the babies who did receive chiropractic care cried on average two hours less each day after 10 days of chiropractic care.

This is a significant reduction in crying, especially for the potentially frazzled parents. Interestingly, it didn’t make a difference whether the parents knew that their baby was receiving chiropractic care or the control. This confirms previous studies that have also shown babies with colic responding well to chiropractic care.

The child’s improvements are likely due to chiropractic care, not parental bias or the placebo effect. This is in addition to probiotics and manual therapy being considered. The review I mentioned earlier also looked at two drug therapy options for colic. However, they didn’t find evidence to show that they helped.

From this review, the positive aspect is that safe and effective options seem available for babies with colic. If your baby cries excessively and you seek help, consider giving them probiotics. Also, consult a family chiropractor or another manual therapist to explore potential assistance.

© Haavik Research



  1. Alcantara J, Alcantara JD, Alcantara J. The chiropractic care of infants with colic: a systematic review of the literature. Explore (NY) 2011;7(3):168-74. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2011.02.0010.1016/j.explore.2011.02.002 [published Online First: 2011/05/17]
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