Advertisement

Infantile colic: A critical appraisal of the literature from an osteopathic perspective

  • Kok Weng Lim
    Correspondence
    St Stephens Practice, 21a St Stephens Road, Norwich NR1 3 SP. Tel./fax: +44 (0)1603 630 226.
    Affiliations
    European School of Osteopathy/University of Greenwich, Boxley House, Boxley, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3DZ, UK
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      The term infantile colic though often used is poorly understood. This common affliction of early infancy, in which crying is the primary symptom, has been the subject of numerous publications over many decades. This appraisal of the literature reveals that lack of consensus on the definition of colic poses difficulties when assessing the outcome and validity of research. In addition, the numerous hypotheses, reviewed here, on the precise cause of infantile colic have resulted in various approaches to treatment and no clear strategy for management. The possibility that mechanical factors play a role in the aetiology of colic underlies the osteopathic approach to treatment which, despite anecdotal success, is poorly documented. This article is designed to appraise osteopaths with an overview of the field to better inform their practice.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      References

        • Carey W.B.
        “Colic” – primary excessive crying as an infant-environment interaction.
        Pediatr Clin North Am. 1984; 31: 993-1005
        • Wessel M.A.
        • Cobb J.C.
        • Jackson E.B.
        • Harris Jr., G.S.
        • Detwiler A.C.
        Paroxysmal fussing in infancy, sometimes called colic.
        Pediatrics. 1954; 14: 421-435
        • Illingworth R.S.
        Three-months' colic.
        Arch Dis Child. 1954; 29: 165-174
        • Illingworth R.S.
        Infantile colic revisited.
        Arch Dis Child. 1985; 60: 981-985
        • Lehtonen L.
        • Korvenranta H.
        Infantile colic. Seasonal incidence and crying profiles.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995; 149: 533-536
        • Hogdall C.K.
        • Vestermark V.
        • Birch M.
        • Plenov G.
        • Toftager-Larsen K.
        The significance of pregnancy, delivery and postpartum factors for the development of infantile colic.
        J Perinat Med. 1991; 19: 251-257
        • Helseth S.
        • Begnum S.
        A comprehensive definition of infant colic: parents' and nurses' perspectives.
        J Clin Nurs. 2002; 11: 672-680
        • Brazelton T.B.
        Crying in infancy.
        Pediatrics. 1962; 29: 579-588
        • Rebelsky F.
        • Black R.
        Crying in infancy.
        J Genet Psychol. 1972; 121: 49-57
        • St James-Roberts I.
        • Halil T.
        Infant crying patterns in the first year: normal community and clinical findings.
        J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1991; 32: 951-968
        • Geertsma M.A.
        • Hyams J.S.
        Colic – a pain syndrome of infancy?.
        Pediatr Clin North Am. 1989; 36: 905-919
        • St James-Roberts I.
        Persistent infant crying.
        Arch Dis Child. 1991; 66: 653-655
        • Treem W.R.
        • Hyams J.S.
        • Blankschen E.
        • Etienne N.
        • Paule C.L.
        • Borschel M.W.
        Evaluation of the effect of a fiber-enriched formula on infant colic.
        J Pediatr. 1991; 119: 695-701
        • Hyams J.S.
        • Treem W.R.
        • Etienne N.L.
        • Weinerman H.
        • MacGilpin D.
        • Hine P.
        • et al.
        Effect of infant formula on stool characteristics of young infants.
        Pediatrics. 1995; 1: 50-54
        • Barr R.G.
        • Rotman A.
        • Yaremko J.
        • Leduc D.
        • Francoeur T.E.
        The crying of infants with colic: a controlled empirical description.
        Pediatrics. 1992; 90: 14-21
        • White B.P.
        • Gunnar M.R.
        • Larson M.C.
        • Donzella B.
        • Barr R.G.
        Behavioral and physiological responsivity, sleep, and patterns of daily cortisol production in infants with and without colic.
        Child Dev. 2000; 71: 862-877
        • Zeskind P.S.
        • Barr R.G.
        Acoustic characteristics of naturally occurring cries of infants with “colic”.
        Child Dev. 1997; 68: 394-403
        • Paradise J.L.
        Maternal and other factors in the etiology of infantile colic. Report of a prospective study of 146 infants.
        J Am Med Assoc. 1996; 197: 191-199
        • Barr R.G.
        • Chen S.
        • Hopkins B.
        • Westra T.
        Crying patterns in preterm infants.
        Dev Med Child Neurol. 1996; 38: 345-355
        • Barr R.G.
        The normal crying curve: what do we really know?.
        Dev Med Child Neurol. 1990; 32: 356-362
        • Rubin S.P.
        • Prendergast M.
        Infantile colic: incidence and treatment in a Norfolk community.
        Child Care Health Dev. 1984; 10: 219-226
        • Thomas D.W.
        • McGilligan K.
        • Eisenberg L.D.
        • Lieberman H.M.
        • Rissman E.M.
        Infantile colic and type of milk feeding.
        Am J Dis Child. 1987; 141: 451-453
        • Liebman W.M.
        Infantile colic. Association with lactose and milk intolerance.
        J Am Med Assoc. 1981; 245: 732-733
        • Berkowitz D.
        • Naveh Y.
        • Berant M.
        “Infantile colic” as the sole manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1997; 24: 231-233
        • Heine R.G.
        • Jaquiery A.
        • Lubitz L.
        • Cameron D.J.
        • Catto-Smith A.G.
        Role of gastro-oesophageal reflux in infant irritability.
        Arch Dis Child. 1995; 73: 121-125
        • Hyams J.S.
        • Ricci Jr., A.
        • Leichtner A.M.
        Clinical and laboratory correlates of esophagitis in young children.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1988; 7: 52-56
        • Lehtonen L.
        • Svedstrom E.
        • Korvenranta H.
        Gallbladder hypocontractility in infantile colic.
        Acta Paediatr. 1994; 83: 1174-1177
        • Lothe L.
        • Ivarsson S.A.
        • Lindberg T.
        Motilin, vasoactive intestinal peptide and gastrin in infantile colic.
        Acta Paediatr Scand. 1987; 76: 316-320
        • Lothe L.
        • Ivarsson S.A.
        • Ekman R.
        • Lindberg T.
        Motilin and infantile colic. A prospective study.
        Acta Paediatr Scand. 1990; 79: 410-416
        • Mobassaleh M.
        • Montgomery R.K.
        • Biller J.A.
        • Grand R.J.
        Development of carbohydrate absorption in the fetus and neonate.
        Pediatrics. 1985; 75: 160-166
        • Kearney P.
        • Malone A.
        • Hayes T.
        • Cole M.
        • Hayland M.
        A trial of lactase in the management of infantile colic.
        J Hum Nutr Diet. 1998; 11: 281-285
        • Barr R.G.
        • Hanley J.
        • Patterson D.K.
        • Wooldridge J.
        Breath hydrogen excretion in normal newborn infants in response to usual feeding patterns: evidence for “functional lactase insufficiency” beyond the first month of life.
        J Pediatr. 1984; 104: 527-533
        • Barr R.
        • Clogg I.
        • Woolridge J.
        Carbohydrate change has no effect on infant crying behaviour: A randomized controlled trial.
        Am J Dis Child. 1987; 141 ([abstract]): 391
        • Miller J.J.
        • McVeagh P.
        • Fleet G.H.
        • Petocz P.
        • Brand J.C.
        Effect of yeast lactase enzyme on “colic” in infants fed human milk.
        J Pediatr. 1990; 117: 261-263
        • Harley L.M.
        Fussing and crying in young infants. Clinical considerations and practical management.
        Clin Pediatr. 1969; 8: 138-141
        • Jakobsson I.
        Intestinal permeability in children of different ages and with different gastrointestinal diseases.
        Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 1993; 4: 33-39
        • Lothe L.
        • Lindberg T.
        • Jakobsson I.
        Macromolecular absorption in infants with infantile colic.
        Acta Paediatr Scand. 1990; 79: 417-421
        • Crowcroft N.S.
        • Strachan D.P.
        The social origins of infantile colic: questionnaire study covering 76,747 infants.
        Br Med J. 1997; 314: 1325-1328
        • Jakobsson I.
        • Lindberg T.
        Cow's milk proteins cause infantile colic in breast-fed infants: a double-blind crossover study.
        Pediatrics. 1983; 71: 268-271
        • Evans R.W.
        • Fergusson D.M.
        • Allardyce R.A.
        • Taylor B.
        Maternal diet and infantile colic in breast-fed infants.
        Lancet. 1981; 1: 1340-1342
        • Harris M.J.
        • Petts V.
        • Penny R.
        Cow's milk allergy as a cause of infantile colic: immunofluorescent studies on jejunal mucosa.
        Aust Paediatr J. 1977; 13: 276-281
        • Lothe L.
        • Lindberg T.
        • Jakobsson I.
        Cow's milk formula as a cause of infantile colic: a double-blind study.
        Pediatrics. 1982; 70: 7-10
        • Lothe L.
        • Lindberg T.
        Cow's milk whey protein elicits symptoms of infantile colic in colicky formula-fed infants: a double-blind crossover study.
        Pediatrics. 1989; 83: 262-266
        • Axelsson I.
        • Jakobsson I.
        • Lindberg T.
        • Benediktsson B.
        Bovine beta-lactoglobulin in the human milk. A longitudinal study during the whole lactation period.
        Acta Paediatr Scand. 1986; 75: 702-707
        • Jakobsson I.
        • Lindberg T.
        • Benediktsson B.
        • Hansson B.G.
        Dietary bovine beta-lactoglobulin is transferred to human milk.
        Acta Paediatr Scand. 1985; 74: 342-345
        • Iacono G.
        • Carroccio A.
        • Montalto G.
        • Cavataio F.
        • Bragion E.
        • Lorello D.
        • et al.
        Severe infantile colic and food intolerance: a long-term prospective study.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1991; 12: 332-335
        • Lucassen P.L.
        • Assendelft W.J.
        • Gubbels J.W.
        • van Eijk J.T.
        • van Geldrop W.J.
        • Neven A.K.
        Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review.
        Br Med J. 1998; 316: 1563-1569
        • Eppinger H.
        • Hess E.
        Vagotonia: A clinical study in vegetative neurology.
        Johnson Reprint Corp, New York1915
        • Spock B.
        Etiological factors in hypertrophic pyloric stenosis and infantile colic.
        Psychosom Med. 1944; 6: 162-165
        • St James-Roberts I.
        Infant crying and its impact on parents.
        in: Barr R. St. James-Roberts I. Keefe R. New evidence on unexplained early infant crying: its origins, nature and management. Johnson and Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., St. Louis, MO2001: 5-24
        • Fox N.
        • Henderson H.
        • Marshall P.
        The biology of temperament: an integrative approach.
        in: Nelson C. Luciana M. The handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA2001
        • Medoff-Cooper B.
        Infant temperament: implications for parenting from birth through 1 year.
        J Pediatr Nurs. 1995; 10: 141-145
        • Carey W.B.
        Clinical applications of infant temperament measurements.
        J Pediatr. 1972; 81: 823-828
        • Barr R.
        Colic and gas.
        Mosby, St Louis1991
        • Hubbard F.
        • van Ijzendoorn M.
        Maternal unresponsiveness and infant crying across the first 9 months: a naturalistic longitudinal study.
        Infant behaviour and development. 1991; 14: 299-312
        • Keefe M.R.
        • Kotzer A.M.
        • Froese-Fretz A.
        • Curtin M.
        A longitudinal comparison of irritable and nonirritable infants.
        Nurs Res. 1996; 45: 4-9
        • Miller A.
        • Barr R.
        Maternal emotional state and infant behaviour: are they related?.
        Am J Dis Child. 1991; 145: 4-21
        • Murray L.
        • Stanley C.
        • Hooper R.
        • King F.
        • Fiori-Cowley A.
        The role of infant factors in postnatal depression and mother-infant interactions.
        Dev Med Child Neurol. 1996; 38: 109-119
        • Magoun H.I.
        Entrapment neuropathy of the central nervous system. 3. Cranial nerves V, IX, X, XI.
        J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1968; 67: 889-899
        • Jorup S.
        Colonic hyperperistalsis in neurolabile infants.
        Acta Paediatr. 1952; 85: 1-110
        • DeGangi G.
        • DiPietro J.
        • Greenspan S.
        • Perges S.
        Psychophysiological characteristics of the regulatory disordered infant.
        Infant behaviour and development. 1991; 14: 37-50
        • Woods R.
        Cranial trauma in the newborn.
        J Osteopath Cranial Assoc. 1953; : 26-28
        • Carreiro J.
        Labour, delivery and birth.
        Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh2003
        • Klougart N.
        • Nilsson N.
        • Jacobsen J.
        Infantile colic treated by chiropractors: a prospective study of 316 cases.
        J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989; 12: 281-288
        • Nilsson N.
        Infantile colic and chiropractic treatment.
        Eur J Chiro. 1985; 33: 264-265
        • Wiberg J.
        • Nordsteen J.
        • Nilsson N.
        The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of infantile colic: a randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer.
        J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999; 22: 517-522
        • Hayden C.
        • Mullinger B.
        A preliminary assessment of the impact of cranial osteopathy for the relief of infantile colic.
        Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006; 12: 83-90
        • Olafsdottir E.
        • Forshei S.
        • Fluge G.
        • Markestad T.
        Randomised controlled trial of infantile colic treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation.
        Arch Dis Child. 2001; 84: 138-141
        • Grunnet-Nilsson N.
        • Wiberg J.
        Infantile colic and chiropractic spinal manipulation.
        Arch Dis Child. 2001; 85: 268