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Chiropr Osteopat. 2010 Jun 2;18:15. doi: 10.1186/1746-1340-18-15.

The evidence base for chiropractic treatment of musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents: The emperor's new suit?

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1
Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and Clinical Biomechanics, Forskerparken 10, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark. l.hestbaek@nikkb.dk.

Abstract

Five to ten percent of chiropractic patients are children and adolescents. Most of these consult because of spinal pain, or other musculoskeletal complaints. These musculoskeletal disorders in early life not only affect the quality of children's lives, but also seem to have an impact on adult musculoskeletal health. Thus, this is an important part of the chiropractors' scope of practice, and the objective of this review is to assess the evidence base for manual treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in children and adolescents.Randomized, quasi-randomized and non-randomized clinical studies were included if they investigated the effect of manual therapy on musculoskeletal disorders in children and/or adolescents. The MEDLINE and MANTIS databases were searched, and studies published in English, Danish, Swedish or Norwegian were included.Only three studies were identified that in some way attempted to look at the effectiveness of manual therapy for children or adolescents with spinal problems, and none of these was a randomized controlled clinical trial. As for the rest of the musculoskeletal system, only one study of temporomandibular disorder was identified.With this review, we have detected a paradox within the chiropractic profession: Although the major reason for pediatric patients to attend a chiropractor is spinal pain, no adequate studies have been performed in this area. It is time for the chiropractic profession to take responsibility and systematically investigate the efficiency of joint manipulation of problems relating to the developing musculoskeletal system.

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