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Baby, Don't Cry: What to Do for Colic

Baby getting neck adjustmentThere’s not much that gets the attention of the human ear more than the sound of a baby in distress. We are hardwired biologically to try to do everything we can to make that baby happy. But what if everything you try doesn’t work and the constantly fussy baby is labeled “colicky” without a lot of explanation or solutions?

What is Colic?

Colic tends to be an umbrella term is often used for infant irritability, sleeplessness, inconsolability and discomfort. Babies may arch their backs, experience digest issues, have difficulty maintaining a sleep schedule, or may have spit up frequently.

When the baby doesn’t sleep well, then the parents don’t either perpetuating a terrible cycle of irritability for the entire household.

What Causes Colic?

There are a wide variety of causes, but within the pediatric chiropractic world, birth can be a large part of stress to the spine, which in turn can cause colic and irritability. There is a lot of twisting and positioning as a baby descends into the pelvis and birth canal during labor and birth, or during a cesarean. Even in a gentle, natural process, it’s easy for the first bone in the neck to become misaligned or subluxated.

Called the atlas, this donut-shaped bone surrounds the fragile brain stem. The brain stem is vital for how the brain and the body communicate.

When the atlas is subluxated, it puts pressure on the brain stem affecting many functions, including sleep cycles. It also interrupts the restful parasympathetic system, the state where a person can comfortably “rest and digest.” This can mean a baby won’t be comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The digestive system of the body can also be affected by this misalignment because the vagus nerve runs through the brain stem.

Dr. Katie gently adjusts the atlas of a colicky baby, relieving the pressure on the brain stem. This allows the body to function and communicate much better. She often sees newborns that are a few weeks old, but the first six months are often the most colicky. Getting a baby adjusted right after birth can be key to ensuring they are aligned, clear, fully connected and comfortable.

The Baby Who Wouldn’t Stop Crying

With the nervous system clear, the body goes into a parasympathetic state, resting, digesting, developing and living their best life :). Sleep is a regenerative process, especially for a tiny babies’ brain development. When that is interrupted, the baby will be colicky, restless and uncomfortable. Every process, system and hormone in the body is tied together at the brain; it’s vital for a newborn to get the neurological information flowing.

The following is a story of one specific family, but has a common theme.

A family came to see Dr. Katie with a baby that was just four or five days old. In that time, the baby, and consequently the parents, hadn’t slept more than an hour at a time. The baby wouldn’t stop crying. The whole family was exhausted and a little desperate. Dr. Katie examined the baby and adjusted his atlas along with other subluxations.

She called the family later that day to check in. Good news: the baby had been sleeping for a few hours.

However, the next morning the parents were a little concerned. “He is still asleep! Should we wake him up?”

“That’s OK. Let him sleep and catch up,” Dr. Katie reassured them. The baby slept through the day, over 20 hours straight. He woke up to eat, and fell back into a peaceful slumber for another 18-20 hours. Coming into the world is hard work for babies too and can be traumatic.

At first, Dr. Katie adjusted the baby a couple times per week before his body would hold the adjustment. Then he went to once per week. Well-rested and adjusted, he was a totally different baby.

And they were new parents as well, able to rest and enjoy their son. Relieving colic brings peace and harmony to a whole household.

Get Relief

If you have a colicky baby or know someone who is struggling, come see Dr. Katie today for a consultation.

Dr. Katie Schlein D.C. is a family chiropractor located in Hillcrest, San Diego. You can learn more about her here. She specializes in prenatal, pediatric and youth athlete chiropractic care but serve families of all shapes, sizes and ages. Through mutual support and striving to understand her patients’ needs, Dr. Katie is committed to helping families reach their maximum health with the help of chiropractic care.


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