Chiropractic Safe for Children, Retrospective Study Shows

From the July 2008 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) comes a 3-year retrospective study of pediatric case files from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) teaching clinic practice in Bournemouth, England. This JMPT study reviewed 781 pediatric cases of children younger than 3 years of age to see if there were any adverse side effects of chiropractic care on children.

The authors of this study also reviewed previous literature to look for reports of any adverse events related to chiropractic care for patients under the age of 18. In this review they found a total of 9 events of problems that could have been related to chiropractic care for all the years between 1969 to 2001. Using the number of children under care in that time period and the number of chiropractic visits for those children the authors estimated that the risk of an adverse effect was 1 in 250 million.

In their more current review, the authors of the study looked at 781 cases of children younger than 3 years of age between January 2002 to December 2004 that received care at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) teaching clinic. Each of these cases was reviewed and information was recorded on how many chiropractic adjustments were received, the type of care rendered, the outcome of care, and whether any negative side effects were reported.

The study noted that of the 781 pediatric patients who presented for examination, 462 (59.15%) were male and 319 (40.85%) were female. Most (73.5%) patients were 12 weeks or younger of age (n = 574). The most common age group was between 5 and 8 weeks of age. They also reported that most infants were brought in for care by their parents because of problems with colic or irritability that was attributed to birth trauma.

In this review 699 (89.5%) received chiropractic care, and 82 (10.5%) were referred out to seek help elsewhere. Of the 699 initial children, a follow up was made on 697. Of these children, the parents of 594 (85.22%), reported an improvement in their child’s original symptoms. One hundred three (14.78%) parents reported that there was no change in their child’s symptoms. Of the total of 697 pediatric patients whose parents reported outcomes to care, there were 7 cases in which the parents reported some form of an adverse reaction to care. This translates into approximately 1% of patients experiencing some form of a negative side effect.

The study noted that all of these negative reactions were mild and required no medical care. The study also noted that there were no serious complications resulting from chiropractic care. The researchers stated in their conclusions, “This study provides evidence that chiropractic treatment is a safe form of therapy for children younger than the age of 3 and documents that there were no serious complications resulting from chiropractic manipulation in this group of children of this age range.”

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