Research News Staff
New Research on Reflux & Chiropractic in Infants

Chiropractic May Help

Recent research reported in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research on an infant with gastroesophageal reflux, GER, reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in managing infants with such disorders. The literature included supports the role of chiropractic in infants suffering from this health challenge and calls for more research in this area.

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“Numerous case studies and some clinical studies are revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and the various health challenges that infants experience” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. 

McCoy added “In the case report presented, the infant was suffering from gastroesophageal reflux and nightly congestion that resolved under chiropractic care because of the nature of the nervous system and its relationship to the spine.” 

According to researchers the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body and structural shifts in the spine can occur that obstruct the nerves and interfere with their function. By removing the structural shifts, chiropractic improves nerve supply and function. 

The infant reported on in the study was a 9-week-old male suffering from laryngopharyngeal reflux also known as “silent reflux” since birth.  He also had sinus congestion, had difficulty with sleeping and being placed on his back.  He could not sleep more than 5 hours a night, had pale skin, and dark rings under his eyes. Congestion would set in nightly and he would begin to vomit.  He often vomited when being placed in his car seat as well.  He could barely keep down breast milk.  Prescription medication did not help him.  

The chiropractor examined the infant and found structural shifts in his upper neck.  He had postural changes and tight muscles in his neck.  X-rays, reflex, and other testing confirmed these findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Following the first adjustment, he slept for 6 hours with no symptoms of reflux or congestion. He also rolled for the first time from his back to his belly.  The next night, he slept for 7 hours and by the third night he was sleeping 9 hours.  His mother reported resolution of all reflux and congestion symptoms. He was able to be placed in his car seat without any issues, the dark circles under his eyes and skin color improved and he was able to stop taking medication. 

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in infants with gastroesophageal reflux.

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research
McCoy Press