Safety of Chiropractic for Children

Posted on 20. Jul, 2013 by in Read, Research


Volume 16, Number 6, 2010, pp. 621–626 a Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2009.0369


The Chiropractic Care of Children

Joel Alcantara, D.C., Jeanne Ohm, D.C., and Derek Kunz, B.S.

Objective: The objective of this study was to characterize the practice of pediatric chiropractic. Design: The study design was a cross-sectional descriptive survey. Settings/location: The settings were private practices throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Participants: The participants were 548 chiropractors, the majority of whom are practicing in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Main outcome measures: Practitioner demographics (i.e., gender, years in practice, and chiropractic alma mater), practice characteristics (i.e., patient visits per week, practice income reimbursement), and chiropractic technique were surveyed. The practitioners were also asked to indicate common indicators for pediatric presentation, their practice activities (i.e., use of herbal remedies, exercise and rehabilitation, prayer healing, etc.), and referral patterns.

Results: A majority of the responders were female with an average practice experience of 8 years. They attended an average of 133 patient visits per week, with 21% devoted to the care of children (<18 years of age). Practice income was derived primarily from out-of-pocket reimbursement with charges of an average of $127 and $42 for the first and subsequent visits, respectively. These visits were reimbursed to address common conditions of childhood (i.e., asthma, ear infections,

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etc.). Approach to patient care was spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) augmented with herbal remedies, exercises, rehabilitation, and so on. Wellness care also figured prominently as a motivator for chiropractic care. Fifty-eight percent (58%) indicated an established relationship with an oste- opathic or medical physician. Eighty percent (80%) of the responders indicated referring patients to medical practitioners while only 29% indicated receiving a referral from a medical/osteopathic physician.

Conclusions: The chiropractic care of children is a significant aspect of the practice of chiropractic. Further research is warranted to examine the safety and effectiveness of this popular nonallopathic approach to children’s health.