Infant colic means a benign process in which an infant has paroxysms of inconsolable crying for more than:

  • three hours per day
  • three days per week
  • longer than three weeks

Hence the name “Rule of Three”. Diagnosis for infant colic is one of exclusion after a detailed history, and physical examination rule out concerning causes.

Concerning causes or red flags include:

  • fever
  • lethargy
  • abdominal distention

Worldwide colic affects approximately 10% to 40% of infants. The condition tends to peak near six weeks of age, with symptoms resolving by three to six months of age.

Infant Colic and Chiropractic

The cause of infantile colic is not known and maybe of more than one cause. Proposed causes include:

  • Alterations in fecal microflora
  • Intolerance to cow’s milk protein or lactose
  • Gastrointestinal immaturity or inflammation
  • Increased serotonin secretion
  • Poor feeding technique
  • Maternal smoking or nicotine replacement therapy.

Treatment Options

A recent systematic review of 26 research articles on chiropractic care stated that:

“Chiropractic care is a viable alternative to the care of infantile colic and congruent with evidence-based practice, particularly when one considers that medical care options are no better than placebo or have associated adverse reactions.”

One specific probiotic strain, Lactobacillus reuteri (strain DSM 17938), reduced infant colic symptoms in four out of five clinical trials, with no report of adverse effects. In two reviews it was found that administration of five drops of L. reuteri per day will decrease colic in infants who are breastfed (average of 61 minutes less crying time per day at 21 days). At this time L. reuteri DSM 17938 is considered a treatment option for breastfed infants, but cannot be recommended for formula-fed infants.


In addition to chiropractic care and probiotic use dietary modifications has been shown to be highly effective as well. Studies show that in mothers who breastfeed and follow a low-allergen diet their infants have a significant reduction in colic symptoms.

Foods excluded from the diet included:

  • cow’s milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • wheat
  • soy
  • fish

Infants taking formula will have a significant decrease in crying time when they change to a partially, extensively, or completely hydrolyzed formula. We recommend parents do a two-week trial of mixing the new formula with the original formula. This allows for a more palatable transition.

Balanced Body Acupuncture & Chiropractic in Omaha

In office Dr. Baker takes all things into consideration to make the best judgement regarding a specific child’s symptoms. Necessary referrals is given. Children typically respond better clinically from a combined approach utilizing:

  • gentle adjustments
  • probiotics
  • formula changes
  • possible dietary changes

For any questions or concerns please contact us.


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