Chiropractic for Kids?
There is stronger evidence for use of spinal manipulation (chiropractic) for treatment of adults with most common back pain, than for any other treatment approach. Further, now there is scientific evidence chiropractic benefits neck pain and headache in adults as well. Yet as we get school supplies and clothes to prepare our kids for the upcoming school year we would do well to ask, What about chiropractic for kids?
When two MSU scientists joined me in exploring the potential benefits of chiropractic for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in 1989, there were few published studies, and ours was the first empirical research of that controversial topic. In contrast, now there is a chiropractic pediatric association publishing a growing number of case studies, and there are an increasing number of studies of the potential benefits of pediatric spinal manipulation.
Why would kids need chiropractic? After seeing our own four suffer injuries associated with activities from gymnastics to soccer, and from baseball to scouting adventures, not to mention just running around the house where most of the boo boos occurred, it’s hard to imagine kids suffering through to adulthood before they first experience the benefits of chiropractic.
However, despite coverage by Mississippi Medicaid and CHIPs along with most major medical insurance, children still often do not get seen by a chiropractor after even serious injuries.
As children face rising rates of obesity, and poor postures and sedentary lifestyles associated with computer and video game use among kids continue to rise, so does the prevalence of back pain and even sciatica. Worse, in one recent report of children aged 10 to 18 hospitalized for back pain, the average age of onset of low back pain was 14 for boys and earlier for girls, and diagnostic imaging confirmed disc protrusion in 11 of the 36 children.
Chiropractors who treat kids generally offer lighter chiropractic treatment along with recommendations for activities of daily living, corrective or therapeutic exercise, ice pack/cryotherapy, and nutritional counseling. In other words, kids get some of the same treatments that adults get; only the actual chiropractic treatment is age-and-weight appropriate.
What about issues such as chiropractic for asthma, headache, hyperactivity, colic or ear infections, and safety of chiropractic pediatric care? While we can’t say for sure, it makes sense that if chiropractic can help adults with some stress syndrome disorders, they may well do the same for kids. And recent practice based studies reveal both low rates of problems (with no serious complications) as well as high rates of parent satisfaction with pediatric chiropractic.
So this Fall, as you prepare your tot for school with new clothes, backpacks, eye exams and pediatric physicals, consider a chiropractic check up for your child’s spine. By so doing, we may help bring a smile back to both you and your child.
Dr. Rob Leach
Giesen, Center and Leach published the first quasi experimental study demonstrating a possible beneficial effect of chiropractic for children with ADHD: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2607226
A survey describing treatments and conditions typically seen by chiropractic pediatric doctors: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20546582
Cross sectional research of 833 children in a private school reveals that 39.4% have back pain, even as 99% report computer use and 58% report regular video game use: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16552547
Of 36 children hospitalized with sciatic and back pain, 11 have protruded discs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18229671
A recent review of four cases found evidence chiropractic may help ADHD: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20451152
Low rates of adverse events and high rates of parent satisfaction with pediatric chiropractic were documented in this practice based study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19733815
An excellent letter by Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC, describing the lack of evidence basis for treatment of pediatric conditions by both chiropractic and medicines: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565628/