Infantile colic has been around for a long time. In 1954, Dr. Morris Wessel, a well-known New Haven pediatrician, defined an infant with colic as “one who, otherwise healthy and well-fed, had paroxysms of irritability, fussing, or crying lasting for a total of three hours a day and occurring on more than three days in any one week for a period of three weeks.”
This simple diagnosis is still referenced even today despite the rapid advance in understanding of all things medical. Perhaps it’s lazy journalism or the fact that people simply like a short, sweet answer. What is now well established is that colic is due to a variety of causes (stomach gas, intestinal gas, muscular-skeletal kinks and spasms as well as neurological issues) and it therefore follows that the symptoms are also going to vary greatly in their intensity. It is also important to remember that not all fussy babies suffer from colic. Many infants cry for two to three hours per day, but this is usually spread out during the 24-hour period and is not at all a colic situation.
Having treated colic for over 20 years, Dr. Greg La Cock, founder of the Treat Colic Program, maintains that colic is either a gassy type (affecting either the stomach or the intestines or both) or a musculoskeletal type, affecting the muscles of the spine and hip flexors most commonly and finally, a neurological type. The trick is to diagnose the condition properly and then treat the source.