"What we have to take into consideration is how many millions of children have received spinal manipulation in the same time period," said study co-author Dr. Sunita Vohra, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta and director of the Complementary and Alternative Research Education Program (CARE) at the Stollery Children's Hospital. "The question we pose is, 'are these events truly rare, or are they under-reported?'"
The study, which will be presented by Bradley Johnston, a research fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta analyzed available data on adverse events associated with pediatric spinal manipulation.
The research team identified 14 cases of direct adverse events involving neurological or musculoskeletal events. Nine cases involved serious adverse events such as hemorrhage or paraplegia, two cases reported moderate adverse events requiring medical attention such as severe headache and three involved minor adverse events such as mid-back soreness.
The research team is now collaborating with professionals that use spinal manipulation--chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists--as well as physicians to see if a more effective reporting system can be developed. Only then will they be able to answer the study question, says the research team.
Until then, parents should continue to treat health-care procedures, conventional or complementary, with all due caution, says Vohra. "They should make sure they are informed consumer
Contact: Phoebe Dey
University of Alberta