Manipulative therapies may be a beneficial treatment for infantile colic

December 11, 2012

A Cochrane review of studies into manipulative therapies for colic, by the University of Southampton, suggests that the treatment technique may be of some benefit.

Infantile colic is a distressing problem, characterised by excessive crying of infants and it is the most common complaint seen by physicians in the first 16 weeks of a child's life.

It is usually considered a benign disorder because the symptoms generally disappear by the age of five or six months. However, the degree of distress caused to parents and family life is such that physicians often feel the need to intervene. Some studies suggest that there are longer-lasting effects on the child, and estimates in 2001 put the cost to the NHS at over £65 million.

It has been suggested that certain gentle, low velocity manipulative techniques such as those used in osteopathy and chiropractic, might safely reduce the symptoms associated with infantile colic, specifically excessive crying time. However, the techniques have also been criticised by people who say there is no evidence that they have an effect on children and that they may be unsafe.

The systematic review, which is published today (12 December 2012) in the Cochrane Library, assessed six randomised trials involving a total of 325 infants who received manipulative treatment or had been part of a control group.

Five of the six studies measured the number of hours colicky babies cried each day and their results suggest that crying was reduced by an average of one hour and 12 minutes per day by this treatment, which was statistically significant.

However, in many of the studies parents knew whether their infant was receiving treatment or not, which means that some uncertainty remains about the strength of these conclusions.

The use of manipulative therapies did not result in a significantly greater number of parents reporting complete recovery from colic in the three studies for which this data was available.

Professor George Lewith, Professor of Health Research at the University of Southampton, comments: "The majority of the included trials indicate that the parents of infants receiving manipulative therapies reported fewer hours crying per day than parents whose infants did not. This difference is statistically significant and important for those families who experience this condition. These studies show that in this small sample there were no adverse effects from using these treatments.

"However, we recognise that the collection of studies in our review is small and prone to bias which means we cannot arrive at a definitive conclusion about the effectiveness of manipulative therapies for infantile colic.

"More research is needed in this area to further the debate, especially well blinded trials, which are very difficult to do in children so young. We hope the review published today will offer objective evidence and generate more discussion in this particular area. "
-end-
The review authors worked with the Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group to produce the review.

University of Southampton

Related Infants Articles from Brightsurf:

Most infants are well even when moms are infected by COVID-19
Infants born to women with COVID-19 showed few adverse outcomes, according to the first report in the country of infant outcomes through eight weeks of age.

Probiotic may help treat colic in infants
Probiotics -- or 'good bacteria' -- have been used to treat infant colic with varying success.

Deaf infants' gaze behavior more advanced than that of hearing infants
Deaf infants who have been exposed to American Sign Language are better at following an adult's gaze than their hearing peers, supporting the idea that social-cognitive development is sensitive to different kinds of life experiences.

Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).

Young infants with fever may be more likely to develop infections
Infants with a high fever may be at increased risk for infections, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine.

Early term infants less likely to breastfeed
A new, prospective study provides evidence that 'early term' infants (those born at 37-38 weeks) are less likely than full-term infants to be breastfeed within the first hour and at one month after birth.

Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and University of Washington looked at the mechanisms involved in language learning among nine-month-olds, the youngest population known to be studied in relation to on-screen learning.

Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants
Majority of infants with food-induced anaphylaxis present with hives and vomiting, suggesting there is less concern for life-threatening response to early food introduction.

Non-dairy drinks can be dangerous for infants
A brief report published in Acta Paediatrica points to the dangers of replacing breast milk or infant formula with a non-dairy drink before one year of age.

Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason
A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected.

Read More: Infants News and Infants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.