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(Toledo News Now) -
Colic, crankiness and digestive issues can cause stress for parents and babies alike. Now some parents are turning to doctors normally focused on adult patients for help: chiropractors.
According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, pediatric visits to chiropractors jumped from 30 million in 2000 to 68 million in 2009.
Chiropractors say they use much gentler techniques on babies than their adult patients.
"It's a very minimal amount of force necessary to adjust an infant," said Dr. Tyler Schwanz, a chiropractor practicing in Waterville. "Just to apply a sustained amount of pressure in a particular vector or direction to be able to realign that bone and stimulate the nervous system to the point where it can function properly."
At least one parents says she noticed a difference after taking her child to Dr. Schwanz.
"I've noticed hiccups maybe once a day, normally not even once a day anymore. She doesn't bring up as much if she does have digestion issues. She's keeping a lot more food down," said Megan Lewallen of her daughter Bria.
Dr. Schwanz says that in his medical opinion, most digestive problems babies have are nerve related.
"The Vagus Nerve controls all the digestive function of that infant," said Dr. Schwanz. "And so if you can remove that pressure off of that Vegas Nerve you can help with gird, colic, constipation, diarrhea and digestive issues."
Digestive issues are not the only thing a chiropractor can help with though, Dr. Schwanz says.
"If your baby was born Cesarean Section, or with forceps, or even if it was a completely natural birth where the doctor had to pull on the baby's head a little bit in order to bring the baby out, those are risk factors for getting interference in the top of the neck," said Dr. Schwanz.
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents bring their young children to the doctor. Antibiotics and tympanostomy tubes, often called ear tubes, are common treatments for chronic ear infections.But Dr. Schwanz says tubes and drugs only treat the symptoms of ear infections. He says a chiropractor can help treat the cause, and prevent ears from becoming infected.
"The same situation exists and so the fluid can recollect and they can get the same exact infection they had before. Whereas removing the interference, realigning that bone, taking the pressure off of that Eustachian tube allows for a more cause-related solution to those ear infections," said Dr. Schwanz.
Not all doctors are sold on the benefits of pediatric chiropractics though. In a recent story published by EssentialBaby.com Dr Bruce Walker of Murdoch University's School of Sport and Chiropracticsays there is no sound evidence chiropractors help with reflux, colic, or other non-musculoskeletal conditions.