Osteopathy is a natural therapy option for babies with reflux.  It can be combined with the use of pharmaceuticals which combat the production of acid, or it can be used as a stand-alone therapy for babies who are only suffering from mild to moderate reflux.

Reflux occurs when the sphincter between the esophagus, or food tube, and stomach doesn’t close off effectively.  This allows milk and stomach acid to move back up the esophagus and out the mouth.  In the case of silent reflux, the milk doesn’t come out of the baby’s mouth, it only moves into the esophagus.  This occurs due to poor diaphragm function not allowing the sphincter to close, or increased pressure in the abdomen pushing on the stomach.

Conventional treatment recommends small frequent feeds, keeping the baby upright or elevating the cot mattress and the head end. Medications can be prescribed in the form of Gaviscon or Omeprazole, as well as a thicker formula.

Osteopathy can also be used as it has been found to be effective in eliminating reflux symptoms. To treat reflux, the osteopath gently assesses the function of the head and neck where the nerves to the diaphragm arise.  They also look at the function of the ribs, spine, pelvis and abdominal organs.  Treatment is aimed at normalizing the function in any problem areas so the stomach can digest the milk unimpeded.

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Gemelli M, Ulbricht L, Romaneli EFR

Published in the IFMBE Proceedings 41, pp. 1067-1070 2014

Osteopathy has been effective to eliminate reflux symptoms suggesting that control group studies must be carried out on a statistically significant sample to assess the real relationship between osteopathy and acceleration of improvement of babies with GER.

da Silva RC, de Sá CC, Pascual-Vaca ÁO, de Souza Fontes LH, Herbella Fernandes FA, Dib RA, Blanco CR, Queiroz RA, Navarro-Rodriguez T.

Published in the Dis Esophagus Jul;26(5):451-6 2013

Osteopathic manipulative technique produces a positive increment in the lower esophageal sphincter region soon after its performance.