Spinal manipulation in children studied

Researchers are calling for the creation of a collaborative registry to assess the risk of serious injuries when treating children using spinal manipulation.

A recent study done in part by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, concludes that although serious adverse events have been identified when spinal manipulation is used to treat children, their true incidence remains unknown, and these events must be better reported. Patient safety demands a greater collaboration between the medical community and other health care professionals, the study suggests.

A team of researchers representing multiple professions that provide spinal manipulation conducted the study, the results of which were published in a recent issue of the journal Pediatrics.

They reviewed data drawn from 13 international studies conducted over a period of more than 40 years and found that adverse reactions in children appeared to be rare compared to the numbers of spinal manipulations performed. But those injuries that occurred, such as stroke and paraplegia, were serious enough to warrant further investigation and the development of an active surveillance registry to gather data about the quantity and quality of adverse events so that precise risk estimates can be made.

"Despite the fact that spinal manipulation is commonly used on children, exceedingly few serious injuries or adverse events have been reported," said Dr. Kim Humphreys, one of the study authors and dean of Graduate Education and Research at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

"We are unclear if that is because they do not occur, or because they are not reported," added lead author Dr. Sunita Vohra, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and a pediatrician with the Capital Health Authority in Alberta.

In the data reviewed worldwide, 14 identified cases of direct adverse reactions following spinal manipulat

Contact: Bev Betkowski
University of Alberta

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