Chiropractic is great for infants, say 82% of mums

Chiropractic is a safe and effective way to treat and avoid pain, not only for adults but also for kids. We’ve often mentioned this on our blog, and we’ve spoken at length about the positive benefits which chiropractic treatment can have for people of all ages. A new study has now gone beyond this examination of the facts, and has instead sought to answer the only question which really matters…. What do mums think?!

 

Chiropractic for infants

While we do often focus on chiropractic as a treatment for back pain – after all, who hasn’t struggled with back pain at some point – research (as well as experience) demonstrates that it can have value in a far wider range of cases. In fact, chiropractic is a popular treatment for infants[1] with common complaints being pain (or crying related to pain) discomfort associated with growth, sleep issues and postural problems.

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s worth pointing out right from the start that chiropractic care for infants is always an incredibly “low-force” treatment and today chiropractors have a wide variety of low impact, gentle approaches which they can use.

 

A new study

The purpose of the latest study in this regard was to investigate reports by mothers about their infant’s condition before and after a trial of care provided by registered chiropractic clinicians in addition to maternal ratings of satisfaction, cost-effectiveness, and reports of any adverse events or side effects over the treatment period.

The exciting new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bournemouth[2] is just one in a long line of recent research projects which are now recognising the value of patient-reported outcomes as a tool for assessing the impact of a treatment approach.  This is not to say that more objective measures are not of value, but instead simply to acknowledge that in order to provide a truly patient-focused form of treatment, its essential that their feelings and experience are properly understood.

Usually, patient-reported outcome questionnaires focus on asking an individual’s questions and grading their responses on a numerical scale- although when working with infants this is obviously not possible! As an effective alternative, the United Kingdom Infant Questionnaire (UKIQ) was used. The UKIQ works in the same way as other self-reported outcome measures, but is based on maternal views of what is important in an infant’s health, and has been tested for reliability and validity.[3] Evidence suggests that mothers are reliable reporters of their infant’s behaviour and therefore in the best position to provide insight into their child’s clinical situation.[4]

 

So, what do mums think?!

In all, 2001 mothers completed intake questionnaires and 1092 completed follow-up forms. Statistically significant improvements were reported across all aspects of infant behaviour studied following their chiropractic treatment. These included:

  • feeding problems
  • sleep issues
  • excessive crying
  • problems with supine sleep position
  • infant pain
  • restricted cervical range of motion
  • time performing prone positioning

As an additional positive (although one which will not come as a shock to chiropractors) maternal ratings of depression, anxiety, and satisfaction with motherhood also demonstrated statistically significant improvement. In total, 82% reported definite improvement of their infants when considering all factors. As well, 95% reported feeling that the care was cost-effective, and 90.9% rated their satisfaction 8 or higher on an 11–point scale. Minor self-limiting side effects were reported but no adverse events.[5]

As a clinic, we are always careful to caution patients that while many people do find an immediate improvement following even their first adjustment (and thereafter a fast resolution of their issue), it’s common for several treatments to be required before a significant improvement is noticed. In this study, however, the results were notably fast for many of the participants– Here, the infants received on average only 4 sessions before achieving complete (or near complete) resolution of their complaint. A quick response to care has been suggested to be beneficial in alleviating distress and anxiety in parents too – which may well account for the improvement in material satisfaction values.[6]

It’s also worth pointing out that this study’s findings are not the first to indicate that chiropractic care can be effective very quickly in infants either – it has already been suggested that the effect of manual therapy for infants occurs within 2 weeks[7] and in 1 study after 1.1 treatments, with complete recovery after an average of 4 sessions.[8]  The same early effect of treatment has been found in adults, although the mean number of treatments was higher (5.4) with a wider range (1–20 treatments in a 90–day span).

 

Want to try chiropractic for your infant?

If your child is suffering from any of the conditions discussed in this study – chiropractic may be worth a try! As a professional, family-friendly clinic we offer a relaxed and open atmosphere which kids and parents both love… and if you’re like many mums, and you’re also suffering from back pain, perhaps you could both do with a checkup!

Why not take advantage of our new patient special offer, and see if chiropractic can help you and your child.

 

[1] Hestbaek, L, Jørgensen, A, and Hartvigsen, J. A Description of Children and Adolescents in Danish Chiropractic Practice: Results from a Nationwide Survey J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 (Oct); 32 (8): 607–615

Miller J. Demographic Survey of Pediatric Patients Presenting to a Chiropractic Teaching Clinic Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010 (Dec 15); 18: 33

Allen-Unhammer, A, Wilson, FJ, and Hestbaek, L. Children and Adolescents Presenting to Chiropractors in Norway: National Health Insurance Data and a Detailed Survey Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2016 (Aug 1); 24: 29

[2] Joyce E. Miller, DC, PhD, Heather A. Hanson, DC, MSc, Mandy Hiew, BA, Derek S. Lo Tiap Kwong, BA, Zicheng Mok, BA, Yun-Han Tee, BA Maternal Report of Outcomes of Chiropractic Care for Infants J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2019 (Mar;   42 (3):   167–176

[3] Miller AS, Huizinga B, Pinkster M, Telford ACJ, ten Heggeler JM, Miller JE. Development and Testing of a Multidimensional Parent Reported Outcome Measure for Common Presenting Complaints of Infancy: The UK Infant Questionnaire Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pedi­atrics 2016; 15(3):1292-1300

[4] Barr, RG, Kramer, MS, Boisjoly, C, McVey-White, L, and Pless, IB. Parental diary of infant cry and fuss behaviour. Arch Dis Child. 1988; 63: 380–387

St. James-Roberts, I, Hurry, J, and Bowyer, J. Objective confirmation of crying durations in infants referred for excessive crying. Arch Dis Child. 1993; 68: 82–84

von Kries, R, Kalies, H, and Papousek, M. Excessive crying beyond 3 months may herald other features of multiple regulatory problems. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006; 160: 508–511

[5] [5] Joyce E. Miller, DC, PhD, Heather A. Hanson, DC, MSc, Mandy Hiew, BA, Derek S. Lo Tiap Kwong, BA, Zicheng Mok, BA, Yun-Han Tee, BA Maternal Report of Outcomes of Chiropractic Care for Infants J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2019 (Mar;   42 (3):   167–176

[6] Miller, J, Newell, D, and Bolton, J. Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy in infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomised controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012; 35: 600–607

[7]  Miller, J, Newell, D, and Bolton, J.

Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy in infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomised controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012; 35: 600–607

Miller, J. E., Miller, L., Sulesund, A. K., & Yevtushenko, A. Contribution of Chiropractic Therapy to Resolving Suboptimal Breastfeeding: A Case Series of 114 Infants J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009 (Oct); 32 (8): 670–674

Wiberg, JM, Nordsteen, J, and Nilsson, N. The Short-term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded Observer J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Oct); 22 (8): 517–522

Klougart N, Nilsson N, Jacobsen J. Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 Cases J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989 (Aug); 12 (4): 281–288

Jaskulski, JM and Miller, JE. Infant demographic profile and parent report of treatment outcomes at a chiropractic clinic in the UK: an observational study.

[8] Miller, J, Newell, D, and Bolton, J. Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy in infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomised controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012; 35: 600–607

Blog by / July 12, 2019 / Blog

Dr Paul Irvine
Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007