The title above comes from a case study released on February 18, 2021, in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health. This case study documents the improvements from chiropractic care of an infant who, prior to chiropractic, was suffering with difficulty feeding, frequent crying and screaming with disturbed sleeping patterns.
The study’s authors frame the severity of an infant who is continually crying by noting that, “Crying in infants is considered normal and natural, however, excessive crying in infants can results in distress of not only the infant, but also their parents as well. Frustrations can lead to ‘maternal depression and child abuse’ in parents who have infants with excessive crying habits.”
Excessive crying and sleep disturbances are two of the most common reasons that infants are brought to healthcare professionals. However, medically, only one in twenty of these cases is found to have an organic reason for the problem, leaving the remainder as a medical mystery.
In this case, the mother of a 6-week-old infant girl was brought to the chiropractor. The infant was suffering with frequent crying and screaming, disturbed sleeping patterns, and she was favoring her right shoulder. The girl was born after a high-risk pregnancy that resulted in five ultrasounds during the mother’s pregnancy. Although the mother reported no complications during birth, during her pregnancy she suffered with numbness in both her legs and frequent charley horses or calf cramps, as well as having multiple left shoulder dislocations during her pregnancy.
The mother reported that her infant daughter usually only slept two to four hours per night and could only sleep on her stomach. During the day, the infant could not sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time, and would wake up crying and screaming for at least 30 minutes. If the infant was swaddled or placed in a car seat, the mother reported that her baby girl would “scream bloody murder” until removed from those positions. The infant also had difficulty latching, resulting in discontinuation of breastfeeding after two weeks.
The infant cried throughout the entire chiropractic examination process. Even with these difficult circumstances, postural abnormalities were observed as well as a reduced range of spinal motion. Several normal neurological reflexes were also missing. Thermal scans showed significant variations from normal and palpation revealed sensitive areas as well as abnormal spinal segmental motion.
With the mother’s permission, age appropriate specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were started. Immediately after the infant’s first adjustment, it was reported that the girl relaxed, causing the mother to comment that it was the first time she had seen her daughter stretch out and lay relaxed since birth. On the second visit, it was reported that the girl could rotate her head to both the left and the right. She could also lay on her back without screaming or appearing to be in any distress.
The girl’s mother also noted that her daughter was able to sleep for six hours the night after her first adjustment. Additionally, the girl was able to be fed while lying on either her left or right sides. After the third visit, it was reported that the infant’s symptoms were still resolved.
In their conclusion the study authors wrote, “This case described the response of a patient with symptoms of disturbed sleeping patterns, excessive, inconsolable crying to chiropractic adjustments, which resulted in significant improvement. Chiropractic adjustments should be considered for infants who have inconsolable crying, irritability, and sleep disturbances. Pediatric chiropractic adjustments are gentle, noninvasive and may remove interference within the nervous system to allowing the baby to have reduced discomfort.”