Manipulative therapies may benefit infants suffering from colic

A meta-analysis of several studies by Cochrane has come to the conclusion that manipulative therapies may provide some relief in infantile colic. It is a common condition seen in the early few months of infancy, characterized by episodes of excessive crying by the infant which last for as long as three hours per day for at least three days per week. The condition resolves on its own by the time infants reach the age of five to six months but can be quite traumatizing for the parents.

Some physicians have advocated gentle manipulative techniques to provide some relief to the infants, but these techniques have been criticized by many others who consider them unsafe for the babies. A study, published in the December 12, 2012 issue of the Cochrane Library, tried to find out the efficacy of these manipulative techniques.

For the meta-analysis, the researchers reviewed six studies done on this subject involving 325 infants. These infants had either received some form of manipulative technique or had been a part of the control groups in the studies. In five of the six studies, the researchers had measured the number of hours for which the babies cried everyday due to colic, and the effectiveness of manipulative techniques in relieving the colic. The results of these studies indicate that use of manipulative techniques in the treatment of infantile colic can reduce the crying by an average of one hour and twelve minutes per day. The researchers have found these results as statistically significant.

The only big drawback of these studies was that the parents were aware of the intervention done to provide relief from the colic. The researchers feel that this could have affected the results. Moreover, there was no evidence to prove that use of manipulative techniques provides complete relief from the condition.

The researchers did not find any ill-effect of employing manipulative techniques. The meta-analysis has sparked renewed interest in use of manipulative techniques in infantile colic. Carrying out a bigger study involving more infants would further prove the efficacy of such techniques in the management of this condition.

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Date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2012
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