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A case study published in the May 23, 2014, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documents the resolution of gastroesophageal reflux disease through chiropractic care. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine website, "Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms."
The study authors report that a small amount of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is common in infants, occurring in 40 to 60 percent of infant below 12 months. GER generally resolves itself between 6 and 12 months of age and needs no treatment. If GER persists and/or worsens, then it is classified as GERD, in which case, some form of health care is usually sought.
In this case, the mother of a 10-month-old baby boy brought her son to the chiropractor with a medical diagnosis of GERD. The mother reported that her baby was suffering with frequently interrupted sleep, difficulty feeding, poor appetite, repeated bouts of diarrhea, frequent stomach distention, excessive intestinal gas, occasional regurgitation, and inadequate weight gain. The baby had been medically treated with a variety of medications that did not help.
A chiropractic examination was performed consisting of reflex testing, spinal ranges of motion, neurological testing, abdominal palpation, and palpation of the spine. As a result of the examination, the infant was diagnosed with cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebral subluxations, in addition to the previously diagnosed infantile GERD.
Chiropractic adjustments to correct the diagnosed subluxations were initiated. The baby boy received a total of 13 chiropractic adjustments over a seven-week period. The study recorded that following the course of chiropractic care, the 10-month-old patient had complete resolution of gastroesophageal reflux disease. The baby was able to have uninterrupted sleep, along with complete resolution of regurgitation, and a significant reduction in stomach distention. It was also noted that he had an improved mood, and no longer had diarrhea with return to normal frequency and quality of bowel movements. He also was able to return to a normal weight.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "This case report contributes to the body of scientific literature regarding chiropractic care of infants suffering from GERD." They give an overview explanation by saying, "Chiropractic focuses on the analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation to allow for proper neurological and physiological functioning to occur, thereby improving quality of life."