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GERD Resolves in Infant After Chiropractic Care


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of chiropractic care on a one-month-old female with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD; also known as acid reflux).  GERD develops when the contents of the stomach cause troublesome symptoms.

 GERD is the most common reason for outpatient visits to gastroenterology clinics.  The prevalence of GERD in North America is between 18.1—27.8%.  The treatment of pediatric GERD using a group of drugs for GERD has not gained sufficient evidence and support.  Therefore, approximately 40% of parents seek out alternative therapies for their children with GERD.  Out of all the alternative therapies, chiropractic is utilized the most.

 A one-month-old female came in for an initial visit with GERD.  The patient’s mother said the symptoms have been ongoing since birth.  The patient’s symptoms included gurgling at night, wakeful sleep, and appearance of grimace.  The patient’s mother said the symptoms primarily occurred at night, but would sometimes occur during the day.  At the initial visit, the doctor of chiropractic performed a physical examination of the patient.  The doctor of chiropractic utilized muscle, neurological, and sensory exams with the results all within normal limits.

The doctor of chiropractic performed digital palpations on the misaligned areas of the patient’s spine and found minor asymmetry of the patient’s skull and mild inflammation in the lower back.  The chiropractic care plan entailed fingertip digital pressure adjustments on the patient’s lower back and behind the patient’s head.  Other care included cranial work on the left side of the patient’s cranium and a gastroesophageal pulldown.

The patient’s care plan was two visits a week for three weeks followed by one visit a week for nine weeks over a three-month period.  The doctor of chiropractic provided an at-home recommendation to the patient’s mother to perform stomach massages in the head to feet direction.  At first, the patient responded well to care with relief lasting for a day and the symptoms appearing only once before the patient’s next visit.  With parental compliance of the at-home recommendations along with the chiropractic care plan progression resulted and the patient’s symptoms began to decrease.

After three months of care, the patient experienced her first flare-up of symptoms after the patient had missed one of her weekly appointments.  The relapse in symptoms occurred eleven days after the patient’s last visit.  There were only two other symptom flare-ups there-after.  The doctor of chiropractic noted that cranial symmetry had improved with care.  Although no outcome assessment was performed at the initial visit because of the patient’s age, seven months later, a Global Rating of Change (GROC) survey (used to determine the patient’s health status at the beginning of care vs. end of care) was completed by the patient’s mother with a score of 7/7—“a very great deal better.”

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MLA Citation: Ferranti, Melissa, Alcantara, Joel, & Reilly, Ann.  “Resolution of GERD in an Infant Following Chiropractic Care: A Case Report & Selective Review of the Literature.”Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health2016.2 (2016): 46-49.