Should You Take Your Baby to a Chiropractor for Colic?

Colicky and otherwise fussy babies can be stressful for parents. Could a mom take a baby to the chiropractor for help with colic? I’ve seen several parents posting this idea and was curious to know if there is any medical basis to take a baby to the chiropractor for colic.

I reached out to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), who sent my questions over to Dr. Jenny Brocker, a board-certified Diplomate in Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics and president of the ACA Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics. She pointed to studies that show chiropractic care can help babies not just with symptoms of colic, but also difficulties breastfeeding. Read her email interview here.

Of course, as a chiropractor serving pediatric patients, Dr. Brocker is understandably in favor of using joint manipulation for treatment of colic. Your pediatrician might not be as enthusiastic. “There is insufficient evidence for the use of chiropractic treatment for infants,” said Dr. Erica Sibinga, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Integrative Medicine, in an email. She also pointed to research suggesting chiropractic care may actually be harmful to children. (Dr. Brocker cited different, more recent research indicating its safety).    

Moms like our community host and mom of seven Amber Baker seem indifferent (or unaware) of any purported risks. “Yeah for chiropractors!” she posted in the Mom365 Community. “I had one that helped me easy my morning sickness, it was such a relief. I took our little one to her after she was born and had colic. That night, she slept clean through the night and has ever since.

To claims like these, Dr. Sibinga reiterates that “there is insufficient evidence to support the use of chiropractic care for the treatment of infant colic.” Parents looking for colic relief outside of their doctor’s offices might want to investigate complementary therapies such as massage, hypoallergenic diets, and acupuncture,  she said.

So should you take your baby to a chiropractor for colic? It appears to depend on who you ask, which study you read, and maybe your personal experience with chiropractors.