Review into Chiropractic Care for Children under 12

Review into Chiropractic Care for Children under 12

Review into Chiropractic Care for Children under 12

Despite some unfavourable press, chiropractic care is, to quote the President of the Australian Chiropractic Association (ACA) Dr Anthony Coxon, “safe for children because chiropractors are trained to suitably modify techniques to suit age and presentation”

As many of you will know, a review into chiropractic care for children has been conducted by Safer Care Victoria over the past 8 months.

For those of you who participated in the survey before July this year, thank you! Of the 21,824 respondents, 21,750 (99.7%) were supportive of the care received.

The Chiropractic Domain team is committed to continuing to providing an exceptional health service for ALL ages.
We strongly believe that parents should retain the choice to have their children assessed and treated by a chiropractor within best practice measures, including a trial of care. We will continue to provide robust, measurable outcomes for all patients and that is why intermittent, regular reviews and reassessments are so important to perform.

“Spinal manipulation was defined by the experts on the panel as being any technique delivered by any health professional that involves a high velocity, low amplitude thrust beyond the physiological range of motion, impacting the spine, within the limits of anatomical integrity.”

The high velocity, low amplitude thrusts that often produce a popping noise when being adjusted are extremely rarely performed on children and toddlers in our practices. We modify our techniques to be gentle and age-appropriate for each patient, especially babies and children.

Key Points from the Review

Parent/guardian reported outcomes

  • 98.4% indicated that the child was ‘much improved’ or ‘somewhat improved’ after treatment.
  • 99.1% indicated that they were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the information provided by the chiropractor about the benefits of treatment.
  • 95.8% indicated that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the information provided about the risks of the treatment.

What the report did NOT say

  • The report did NOT say that chiropractic care is unsafe
  • The report did NOT say that chiropractic has no evidence
  • The report does NOT support a ban on chiropractic care for children
  • The report did NOT suggest that ALL children will benefit from chiropractic care

What the report DID say

  • More research is needed in managing health conditions with chiropractic
  • Most parents taking their children to a chiropractor are also seeing another health professional
  • NO specific or confirmed instances of proven harm were presented in any submission.

Our practice will continue to support research efforts for chiropractic and spinal health. We will continue to work collaboratively with other health professionals and refer to other professionals when appropriate.

Other interesting points from the report

  • The only group of survey respondents who mostly opposed chiropractic care of children (53.6%) were “Practitioner who has not provided spinal care for a child under 12 in the past three years (n=92)”
“Submissions made by bodies representative of the medical or physiotherapy professions raised concerns related to the potential harm of chiropractic spinal manipulation on children under 12 years. In particular, there was specific concern about potential risks of harm associated with spinal manipulation of very young children, i.e. those under 2 years of age. However, no specific or confirmed instances of proven harm were presented in any submission. Nonetheless, it was the professional view of those groups that in the absence of evidence of benefit, the risks of harm were sufficient to recommend banning chiropractic spinal manipulation of children.”

It is important to keep in mind that this report also reviews and may come to affect Osteopaths, physiotherapists and Medical practitioners who can also provide spinal manipulations. 

There is more to come of this, as state health ministers wrap up final meetings tomorrow.
We’ll keep you posted!

Read full report

Final Thoughts:

  • The Chiropractic Domain will continue to support further research into the efficacy and safety of chiropractic care, particularly for babies and children.
  • We will continue to modify our techniques to provide age-appropriate chiropractic care.
  • We believe that all parents should have the choice to bring their children to a chiropractor if they choose to
  • We will continue to provide care and re-measure outcomes periodically to ensure the best outcomes for everyone who attends our practices
  • We are disappointed by media coverage today in ran in News Limited papers around the country this morning that did not accurately portray the findings within the report.
  • We agree with the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) response – you can read it here
  • “Like so many medical procedures involving children, the evidence is sparse when it comes to spinal care for children.  This is something we are working on as a profession globally – in fact, the largest study of its kind looking at chiropractic care for colic is currently underway in Denmark.
  • Chiropractors are 5-year university-trained practitioners, and as registered health professionals we go through an informed consent process with all patients, which outlines the benefits and risks or care.
  • It’s important to put risk into perspective as chiropractic care for children is of exceeding low risk. The review panel found no serious adverse events in Australian academic literature and no insurance claims due to paediatric chiropractic care have been lodged in Australia. This is despite the fact approximately 30,000 children (<18yo) see a chiropractor every week here in Australia.
  • Chiropractic care is safe for children because chiropractors are trained to suitably modify techniques to suit age and presentation. These are very gentle and precise procedures, not designed to give the ‘click’ often associated with adult spinal manipulation.” – ACA

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