The results of a large practice based study accepted and presented at the December 2007 "14th Annual Symposium on Complementary Health Care" held at the Peter Chalk Conference Centre, University of Exeter, UK, showed that chiropractic care of children is safe and effective.
The study, titled, "Treatment-related aggravations, complications and improvements attributed to chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy of pediatric patients: a practice-based survey of practitioners", was funded by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. In this study data was reviewed from 389 pediatric cases (181 females; 200 males, 8 not reported) attending a total of 3048 office visits. The patents of the children in this study represented mostly a highly educated group with 39% having an undergraduate degree. Parental age ranged from 20-57 years with an average of 36.89 years. Their children ranged in age from less than 24 hours to 18 years with an average age for this study being 6.74 years.
The largest reason children reported in this study were under chiropractic care was "wellness" at 54%. After wellness, the primary reasons, the children were brought in for care were, in decreasing frequency, musculoskeletal disorders, ear, nose, throat and respiratory disorders and dealing with a challenged child.
In the review of these cases researchers found that "No treatment-associated complications were reported." Out of the 389 children and over three thousand office visits only two cases of "soreness and stiffness" of treatment-related aggravation were reported, but both were self-limiting.
For those children who did have some symptoms the research noted that these children showed improvements such as decreased pain, improved mood, and increased immune function. The study also showed improvements in the children who were initially symptom free and included immune system improvements, improved sleeping, and improved emotional states.
The authors of the study, Joel Alcantara, DC, and Jeanne Ohm, DC summed up their conclusions by stating, "This study provides supporting evidence on the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic SMT (spinal manipulative therapy, aka adjustments) in children based on parental reports." Dr. Ohm commented, "This survey shows us what we have known for over 100 years: chiropractic adjustments for children is safe, gentle and gets results!"