Above is the title of a case study published in the January 4, 2021, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus describes the condition as “Failure to thrive refers to children whose current weight or rate of weight gain is much lower than that of other children of similar age and sex.”
The study explains failure to thrive in more detail by noting, “Failure to thrive is a condition that affects 5-10 percent of US children in the primary care setting. Failure to thrive is a term used to describe inadequate growth or the inability to maintain growth, usually in early childhood, mostly children who are under the 3rd or 5th percentile in weight for consecutive weigh-ins.”
In this case, a 13-day-old male infant was brought to the chiropractor by his parents. His parents were very distressed and reported that their son had lost 27 ounces since his birth. Both parents were losing sleep and were consumed with trying to keep their baby alive. The boy’s mother reported that her infant son seemed uncomfortable all the time. When attempting to nurse her son, the woman reported that the experience was physically painful to her, and her son would detach and quickly fall asleep. She described her infant son as lethargic and with a very weak cry.
A series of medical tests including blood and stool samples, as well as computer tomography, showed no underlying pathology. The parents were advised that if their infant son continued to lose weight, he would need to be hospitalized for tube feeding.
An age-appropriate chiropractic examination was performed on the infant including palpation, ranges of spinal motion, and certain reflex tests. From the examination, it was determined that the infant had subluxations. With the parent’s consent, a course of specific age-appropriate chiropractic adjustments was started. Due to the severity of the problem, and that the child would shortly be admitted to the hospital if there was not a change, the child was seen four days in a row by the chiropractor.
After the first chiropractic adjustment, the mother reported a huge improvement in her son’s ability to latch onto a nipple for feeding. She also noted that her infant son looked more comfortable and was able to feed for a full 45 minutes before detaching. The study records that the mother “cried due to overwhelming emotions when she explained that the pain she had been feeling was gone and she felt hope for the first time since her child was born.”
By the fourth visit, the mother stated that her son was feeling great and had gained one pound. After three months, the study reports that the infant had doubled in weight and now exceeded the normal standard. A long-term follow-up at age 2.5 showed that the boy was growing normally with a normal weight and normal neurological skills.
In their discussion, the authors summed up this case and its importance by stating, “Failure to thrive can be a devastating diagnosis. When the parents sought chiropractic care for their child, they were compromised in their mental and physical health. Medically, no pathology was found to explain the child’s decline in health. After receiving gentle chiropractic adjustments, the parents felt hope for the first time since their child was born. This case demonstrates how beneficial chiropractic care can be for infants.”
To further clarify the chiropractic approach in this case the authors added, “Understanding that chiropractic was not treating the FTT is an important takeaway from this case report. The approach to patient care was to address vertebral subluxations through adjustments to the spine.”