Diagnosis and Chiropractic Treatment of Infant Headache Based on Behavioral Presentation and Physical Findings: A Retrospective Series of 13 Cases

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SOURCE:   J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 (Oct); 32 (8): 682–686

Aurélie M. Marchand, MChiro, DC, Joyce E. Miller, BS, DC, Candice Mitchell, MChiro

Private Practice,
Brussels, Belgium

OBJECTIVE:   This case series presents information on diagnosis and treatment of 13 cases of benign infant headache presenting to a chiropractic teaching clinic.

CLINICAL FEATURES:   A retrospective search was performed for files of infants presenting with probable headache revealing 13 cases of headache from 350 files.

INTERVENTION AND OUTCOMES:   Thirteen cases (6 females, 7 males) from 2 days old to 8.5 months old were identified by behavioral presentation, parental, or medical diagnosis. In the cohort, historical findings included: birth trauma, assisted birth, familial headache history and feeding difficulty. Examination and behavioral findings were grabbing or holding of the face, ineffective latching, grimacing and positional discomfort, rapping head against the floor, photophobia and anorexia. Posterior joint restrictions of the cervical spine were found in these cases. No cases of malignant headache were found. All infants received a trial of chiropractic care including manual therapy.

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CONCLUSION:   This case series offers information about potential signs of benign infant headache. The patients in this study responded favorably to chiropractic management.

From the FULL TEXT Article:


Headache is the most frequently reported neurological symptom and a common cause of pain in children. [1] A large UK clinical study of schoolchildren reported migraine in 3.4% of 5-year olds and tension-type headache in 0.9% of 5- to 15-year olds. [2] In a population younger than 1 year, headaches have been reported with great variability, with only malignant headaches being mentioned.

There is a paucity of literature that describes a specific clinical approach to benign headache in infants. Information on incidence and etiology of pediatric headache might be extrapolated to infants until further evidence is gathered and published. The purpose of this study is to describe the findings and treatment of 13 infants with benign headache presenting to a chiropractic teaching clinic.

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