By Dr. Paul Mahler
Is chiropractic care appropriate for my child? This s a question asked by many parents I the US. And often the short answer is yes. Chiropractic care for children has been found to be both safe and affective when administered by a trained doctor of chiropractic. Lets tackle the first question. How safe is chiropractic for my child? Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of health care. A baby’s spine is very supple during the first few months of life and there are Chiropractic techniques that apply only a slight pressure, up to 6 oz. Of pressure, to make spinal adjustments. Under normal circumstances, chiropractic adjustments are painless and will not hurt your child. Chiropractors do not perform any invasive procedures (such as surgery). These are some of the reasons why malpractice insurance rates for chiropractors are only a fraction of what other physicians pay and why more than 30 million Americans choose chiropractic care for their children and themselves. Chiropractic treatments have been shown to be Safe for Children. In a literature research study conducted the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) concluded the risk of injury as a result of chiropractic adjustments was low for adults and even lower for the pediatric patient. After reviewing 31 years of medical literature only one questionable report of injury to a child following chiropractic care was found. This ICPA study concluded “the potential risk to children is so low it can not be accurately estimated”. The above safety rate of chiropractic care for children should be compared to the adverse reaction rate of medicines. The next question to be answered is, how can chiropractic care benefit my child? To answer that question we will look at just three of the most common reasons chiropractors see children. It is important to remember that there are many other issues that may be addressed by a chiropractor. This is due to the fact that the chiropractor is not only affecting the musculoskeletal system but also the nervous system. The nervous system in turn affects every system in the body from digestion to the immune system. Chiropractors Treat the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and by improving their function they improve the function of many of the related systems. This is an indirect effect. Lets look at three of these conditions. In the January 2003 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), the results of a study on lower back pain in children was conducted. The journal article notes that about 50% of children suffer from lower back pain at one time or another. It also notes that about 15% of children experience frequent or continual pain. The study was conducted on 54 children between the ages of 4 and 18 in the cities of Calgary, Alberta, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In the study the children with lower back pain received chiropractic care from a variety of volunteer chiropractors in Canada. The children were tracked regularly during the study to monitor their progress. Results were obtained in several ways including responses from the patients themselves on how they felt their progress was coming. Results of the study showed improvement over the follow-up period was observed in 46% to 92% of the children for various criteria. In a period of 30 days 82% of the children reported that they were “much improved.”
The researchers conclusions were, “Patients responded favorably to chiropractic management, and there were no reported complications.”
Another common area where parents seek chiropractic care for the children is in cases of asthma. One-third of Asthmatic Children In Canadian Province Use Non-Medical Care. Reuters Health Information printed an article in the Journal of the AMA. It was a report of a survey that showed many children with asthma were seeking complementary medicine for their asthma. The parents of 117 pediatric asthma patients were surveyed by Dr. Sheldon Spier, of Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and thirty percent reported using complementary medicine to help manage their children’s symptoms. Among these the most commonly used were herbal medications, chiropractic care, and homeopathy.
Several studies are listed on the ICPA web site ( www.icpa4kids.org ) discussing the benefits of chiropractic for children with asthma. In summary these studies showed 76.5% of patients with bronchial asthma said they benefited from chiropractic treatment, peak flow rate and vital capacity increased after the third treatment, and significantly lower quality of life impairment rating scores were reported for 90.1% of children after 60 days of chiropractic care. During this 60 day period the average number of asthma attacks decreased an average of 44.9%, and asthma medication usage was decreased an average of 66.5%. Among parents of asthmatic children who had received chiropractic treatment, 92% considered this treatment beneficial.
Finally lets look at Chiropractic Adjustments for Children with Acute Otitis Media. A study published in the March 29, 2004 edition of The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR), showed chiropractic adjustments had a positive effect on children with acute ear infections. In the study 21 children were examined and all of these children showed acute inflammation in the inner ear with a red and bulging tympanic membrane and a mean oral temperature of over 100 degrees F.
The study noted that after chiropractic adjustments, tympanic membrane returned to normal in 95% of the children and was accompanied by a normal oral temperature.
In conclusion there is scientific based evidence to suggest that chiropractic care for children is both safe and effective for children. Chiropractic care is both less invasive and safe. For more information contact your local chiropractor or visit our website at www.mahler-chiropratic.com
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