About half of all children will suffer from low-back problems at some point, with nearly 15% experiencing frequent or ongoing problems. In North America, the primary providers of spinal manipulation are chiropractors. More studies are now being done to evaluate the role of chiropractic in treating back conditions in minors.
In a study appearing in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 15 randomly chosen Canadian chiropractors provided data on their pediatric patients between the ages of 4 to 18 and suffering from lower back pain. Information was gathered on treatment type and outcome of care, based on patient-rated pain scales. Characteristics of the children with back pain included:
- The average age of sufferers was 13 years old.
- Nearly 60 percent were male.
- Half attributed pain onset to trauma (usually sports-related).
- One in four reported pain of over three months duration.
The most common diagnosis was a "subluxation," appearing in half of these children. Patients were almost universally treated with spinal adjustments, with few requiring other forms of therapy. After six weeks of treatment, major improvement (defined as "much improved" or "resolved") was seen in nearly 90% of patients, based on one of the pain scales, and there were no reported complications in any of the patients.
In children, as in adults, chiropractic treatment is extremely effective for back pain, regardless of the cause or characteristics. Your doctor of chiropractic can provide more information about treating childhood back pain.
Hayden JA, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ. Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: A prospective cohort study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2003:26(1), pp. 1-8.