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  • Dr. Liz Homan

Safety of Pediatric Care

I was recently asked about the safety of chiropractic for kids and even though I am sure I have written on this at one (or more) time in the past, I wanted to take a bit of time today and talk to you about the safety of pediatric chiropractic care!

Since kiddos are a large part of my patient base, knowing the risk potential for the pediatric population receiving care is important in reducing a lot of parent’s anxieties around chiropractic for their child.

First, I want to be very clear that a pediatric chiropractic adjustment should look very different than what an adult adjustment looks like. There may be a few similarities, but in general, there are some major differences. And most of the time, kids absolutely love getting adjusted, so much so that babies may start to giggle, and little ones pretend to adjust their stuffed animals and dolls at home. It really is amazing how well children respond to chiropractic care.

In an article published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research in 1998, it looked at the incidence of neurological and/or vertebrobasilar complications in patients receiving either specific chiropractic adjustments and/or non-specific manipulations of the spine. It was found after looking at over 502 million cases that the chance of complication is approximately 0.004 per million or 1 in 250 million pediatric visits. So, what are neurological and/or vertebrobasilar complication? Neurological complications would be changes in how your nervous system is working and vertebrobasilar complications would be a change in how blood is flowing to the back portion of the brain. This study specifically states that some of these complications may have been due to preexisting conditions that were not known about due to the patient being a child.

In another study published in 2009 titled “The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network” it looked at the adverse events that are associated with pediatric adjustments. In this survey study it was reported by chiropractors that there were 3 adverse per 5,438 office visits and by parents it was reported that there were 2 adverse events from 1,735 office visits. The parents indicated a high perceived effectiveness with the adverse events reported as being minor and self-limiting.

So, as you can see, chiropractic care for kids has been shown to be safe for most children! I also want you to know that even though you may not think that it is common for a child to visit a chiropractor, it really is. It is estimated that there are approximately 68 million pediatric chiropractic visits annually!

If you have questions about how your child specifically could benefit from care, or what care looks like for your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I would love to talk it over with you!

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