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Wed, Oct 22, 2014

Dr. Kestner: How a colicky baby learned to giggle

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This is the story of Jaci. She was born in May of this year. After her birth, she had diffuse bruising around her face and head. When Jaci’s mother inquired about this, she was reassured that the bruising was not unusual; that it was due to a difficult birth and pressure from the birth canal.

For a couple of weeks after her birth, Jaci’s feet remained purple. Her mother was again reassured that this was not uncommon and that it would go away.

Jaci’s troubles did not end with her difficult transition into this world. During her first few months out of the womb, she cried everyday for hours at a time. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable throughout the day.

Sleeping wasn’t easy either. Jaci would go to sleep easily, due to exhaustion. After a short while she would awake crying. She was unable to sleep more than two hours straight.

I am Jaci’s uncle, but have never met her as she lives in Minnesota. Since we have a toddler ourselves, my wife and I have not made any trips that far north since her birth. Hearing about Jaci’s troubles, I suggested that her mother take her to a chiropractor. Having seen children with similar difficulties in my own practice, I knew that there was at least a possibility that gentle infant chiropractic treatment might be helpful.

At first Jaci’s mother, Mona, was reluctant. She returned to her family doctor and was told that Jaci simply had colic and would “grow out of it.” She decided to give the doctor’s recommendations more time. Jaci did not improve. If anything, she seemed to be worsening.

She returned to the doctor a month later. The doctor observed that Jaci was able to turn her head fully to one side, but seemed to have difficulty rotating her head to the other side. When Mona told us about this, I asked what Jaci’s doctor had said about that. Mona told me he had simply observed it and said, “That’s interesting.” Again, Mona was told to wait to see if Jaci would “grow out of it.”

At the urging of Jaci’s aunt (my wife) and grandmother, Mona decided to take Jaci to the chiropractor.

During Jaci’s first visit to the chiropractor, it was discovered that she had some subtle spinal joint problems that prevented her from turning her head with ease. Her chiropractor also found that she had some restrictions in movement of the joints of her lower back near the pelvis.

By applying gentle finger-tip pressure to several points along the spine and maneuvering her hips and legs through normal movements, the chiropractor was able to begin a simple corrective process for Jaci.

Here is the exciting part. That evening, Jaci slept through the night for the first time in her young life. From that point on, her crying bouts diminished dramatically. Within a week she was hardly crying at all and sleeping well.

My wife received a text message from her sister this week stating that she is still amazed at her daughter’s rapid progress. She still wonders who this happy little baby is that has taken the place of the once inconsolable colicky one. Jaci seems to have a completely different personality. The crying fits have been replaced by giggle fests.

This scenario is actually not that unique. It occurs often in chiropractors’ offices. My own experiences with children that are colicky, sleeping poorly or having recurrent ear infections have often been similarly dramatic. Infants and kids typically respond quickly to just a few simple treatments.

Many assume that an infant with crying bouts simply has gas or indigestion. In fact, the baby may be complaining for any number of reasons. This might be their only way to say, “My back hurts!” or “My head is killing me!”

Chiropractic care for infants often involves simple finger-tip pressure at specific points or gentle manual movement of their limbs through patterns to test and correct subtle joint problems. The treatments are safe, well tolerated by the baby, and, as in Jaci’s case, often very effective.

Next week: A surprise ending!

Dr. Mark Kestner
mkestner@DrKestner.com
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Dr. Mark Kestner, Living Well, Voices
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