Children and Chiropractic
As a chiropractor in the Woodbridge, Dale City VA area I get asked a lot if it is ok to adjust a child. The answer is almost always yes. With that being said the visit is very different than the parents. One concern I am sure everyone reading this who has been to a chiropractor would be are you going to squish my child. Children don’t have the same muscle development so they adjust so much easier. So don’t worry about them being squished. Here is some information about child adjusting you may find interesting if you are thinking about it.
According to Dr. David Sackett, the father of evidence-based medicine, there are three prongs to the evidence-based decision: clinical expertise, scientific research and patient preference. While chiropractic has more than 100 years of clinical expertise from which to draw, our profession is still quite young when it comes to its base of scientific research—a state that is even more so for one of our youngest subspecialties, chiropractic pediatrics. Dedicated researchers are working hard to fill in these gaps. Recent studies are beginning to confirm what our century of clinical experience has already shown—that chiropractic care for children is not only safe, but also effective for a variety of pediatric conditions.
Dr. Joyce Miller and her colleagues at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in the U.K. have contributed much to our knowledge of chiropractic pediatrics in the past few years. Here is a brief summary of some of their latest studies:
Safety study: Miller et al. examined 781 pediatric patients under three years of age (73.5 percent of whom were under 13 weeks) who received a total of 5,242 chiropractic treatments at a chiropractic teaching clinic in England between 2002 and 2004.¹ There were no serious adverse effects (reaction lasting >24 hours or needing hospital care) over the three-year study period. There were seven reported minor adverse effects, such as transient crying or interrupted sleep.
Nursing study: Miller et al. also performed a clinical case series of chiropractic care for 114 infants with hospital- or lactation-consultant-diagnosed nursing dysfunction.² The average age at first visit was three weeks. All infants in the study showed some improvement, with 78 percent able to exclusively breastfeed after two to five treatments within a two-week period.
Colic: Browning et al. performed a single-blinded randomized comparison trial of the effects of spinal manipulative therapy and occipito-sacral decompression therapy on infants with colic.³ Forty-three infants younger than eight weeks of age received two weeks of chiropractic care. Two weeks and four weeks after beginning treatment, the infants in both treatment groups cried significantly less and slept significantly more than prior to receiving chiropractic care.
Long-term sequelae of colic: Research has shown that children who were colicky as infants suffer from poor behavior and disturbed sleep as toddlers. Miller et al. performed a survey of parents of 117 such toddlers who had received chiropractic care as infants vs. 111 who had not received chiropractic care.4 They found the treated toddlers were twice as likely not to experience long-term sequelae of infantile colic, such as temper tantrums and frequent nocturnal waking. In other words, colicky infants who had received chiropractic care were twice as likely to sleep well and to experience fewer temper tantrums in their toddler years.
That is just a sampling of some of the great work that is being done by the dedicated and hard-working researchers focusing on chiropractic pediatrics.
- Miller JE, Benfield K. Adverse effects of spinal manipulation therapy in children younger than 3 years: a retrospective study in a chiropractic teaching clinic. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31(6):419-422.
- Miller JE, Miller L, et al. Contribution of chiropractic therapy to resolving suboptimal breastfeeding: A case series of 114 infants. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009;32(8):670-674.
- Browning M, Miller JE. Comparison of the short-term effects of chiropractic spinal manipulation and occipito-sacral decompression in the treatment of infant colic: A single-blinded, randomised, comparison trial. Clinical Chiropractic 2008;11(3):122-129.
- Miller JE, Phillips HL. Long-term effects of infant colic: a survey comparison of chiropractic treatment and non-treatment groups. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009;32(8):635-638.
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Woodbridge VA 22192
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