Although traditional medical guidelines have historically been inconsistent with chiropractic care for children, this therapy may be beneficial for children, especially those with birth trauma, injuries, allergies, and asthma. Chiropractic care has been around for a long time, and it is a field in high demand.
Chiropractors are the most-often visited of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers. Medicare even reimburses chiropractors. Chiropractic is becoming part of the mainstream healthcare system. The kinds of childhood ailments that chiropractors have chosen to treat include allergies, colic, enuresis and otitis media. A cross-sectional, descriptive study, involving Boston-area licensed chiropractors, was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in 2000. Adjustment techniques noted in this study included the following: “diversified technique, activator technique, (or) sacrooccipital technique”. Most of the chiropractors modified their technique for children, such as using the activator instrument to provide a “gentle torque”, using child-sized tables (or a mother’s lap), and performing less X-rays. Even so, many medical doctors feared that some chiropractic care practitioners might prevent parents from seeking traditional medical treatments, diagnoses, and immunization. Despite those concerns, many patients reported satisfaction with their chiropractic care. The study concluded, “Our findings clearly indicate the necessity of strengthening collaboration and research between the chiropractic, medical, and public health communities.”1 However, “national studies are needed to assess the safety, efficacy, and cost of chiropractic care for children.”2
Different Schools of Chiropractic Thought
There are “straight” and “mixer” variations in the type of chiropractic care families might seek. “Straights view the medical diagnosis of patient complaints (which they consider to be the “secondary effects” of subluxations) to be unnecessary for chiropractic treatment…and do not “mix” other types of therapies into their practice style…Mixer chiropractors “mix” diagnostic and treatment approaches from osteopathic, medical, and chiropractic viewpoints…mixers believe subluxation is one of many causes of disease, and they incorporate mainstream medical diagnostics and employ many treatments including conventional techniques.” The majority of chiropractors are “mixers”.3
Possible Benefits for Children
There are many ways in which chiropractic care can benefit children. Vertical subluxation can be caused by both physical and emotional stressors. Chiropractic can alleviate these.4,5 Chiropractors can also assist with nutritional concerns and healthy, natural dietary choices.6,7 Finally, other traditional childhood medical problems can also be complemented with chiropractic, including varied concerns such as Attention Deficit Disorder, reflux, allergies, and sleep issues.8 Dr. Jeanne Ohm, DC, Executive Coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, stated, “Word-of-mouth, not research, brings most parents to a chiropractor. (They) are usually referred by someone whose asthma went away or whose ear infections went away.”9