Method: A longitudinal, practice-based naturalistic study of 3 chiropractic community-based clinics was undertaken. All babies presented during the study period who conformed to various inclusion criteria were included. Irritable babies with cow’s milk hypersensitivity, cow’s milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance and/or significant gastro-oesophageal reflux were excluded. Aside from participating clinics being required to conform to the study’s sampling techniques, each clinic was free to follow its preferred patient assessment and management protocol.
Results: A total of 52 cases were included in the study. The median age of presentation was 7 weeks. Subluxations were detected in all patients on initial consultation. The site of the subluxation varied from patient to patient. Despite the preferred technique used to correct subluxations differing between the 3 clinics, all clinics alleviated all or many of the presenting symptoms in some of the treated patients. Discussion: No cause-effect relationship between the presenting picture, the level of and/or correction of subluxation emerged. Nonetheless, in most cases, carers did feel that the chiropractic clinical encounter was beneficial. Whether such benefit is attributable to reduction of psychosocial distress or a physiological changed following subluxation correction requires further investigation.
Conclusion: Chiropractic care provides a potentially useful alternative for management of irritable babies. While the underlying mechanism is obscure, it does appear that a group of irritable babies benefit from such intervention.
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