In 2011, the ICPA submitted a 1-minute video ad to Neutron Media company, to be broadcast on an LED display screen in Times Square, New York City. Upon submitting, we received a call from Ray, the VP of Neutron because CBS asked for research substantiating the safety of chiropractic care for kids. They were concerned about a paper published in Pediatrics, the AAP journal: Adverse Events Associated With Pediatric Spinal Manipulative Therapy by Sunitra Vohra. This is the response from our Research Director, Dr. Joel Alcantara.
The following is our letter to CBS:
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is committed to ensuring that the chiropractic care of children is safe and effective. Through its research arm, two significant studies have been published from data gathered from our practice-based research network (PBRN), a network of chiropractors providing clinical data from their individual practices.
The first study published in EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing examined the safety of pediatric chiropractic and was retrospective in nature.1 In other words, we asked chiropractors and parents alike to inform us of any adverse events associated with the chiropractic care of children. The findings of our study were recently presented at the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research in Chengdu, China to an international audience of allopathic and alternative medicine practitioners and researchers from all over the world.
Based on the responses of chiropractors and parents, we found a prevalence of adverse events of less than 1%. Since this was retrospective in nature, the study had limitations of which reporting bias or error may have played a part in the data gathered. To address this limitation, we followed up with a prospective study where the children are followed from the beginning of their chiropractic care and onwards to monitor any adverse events that they may experience.
The second study was published in the prestigious Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine characterized the chiropractic care of children.2 Our findings demonstrated that parents bring their children to chiropractors for wellness care, problems involving the musculoskeletal system and to address common problems of childhood such as bedwetting, ear infections, asthma, colic, etc. Furthermore, the parents found their child's care effective in addressing their presenting complaints in addition to unexpected benefits such as, improved sleep and improved immune function.
We recently completed this prospective observational study on the safety of the pediatric chiropractic. This follow-up of registered pediatric patients to monitor the presence of any adverse events involved 512 children as reported by our PBRN chiropractors. Based on the report of our PBRN chiropractors, we found 37 reported adverse events resulting in a prevalence rate of 7%. These adverse events are characterized as minor in nature and involved only minor stiffness and soreness following the chiropractic adjustment. These reported adverse events were so minor, self-limiting and easily addressed by the attending chiropractor that it did not require the attention of a medical doctor and more importantly, it did not dissuade the parents from discontinuing care for their child.
It terms of risk, what our data demonstrated was that if 1 million children are followed under chiropractic care for 1 year, less than 1000 children will experience minor adverse events. We also asked the parents of children under chiropractic care to provide us data on the adverse events reported to them by their children following chiropractic care. From the parents themselves reporting on 249 children, we found a prevalence of adverse events at 4% and similar to that reported by the chiropractors, these adverse events were minor in nature involving stiffness and soreness following the chiropractic adjustment. In terms of risk; our findings indicate that if 1 million children were under chiropractic care, less than 1000 children would experience an adverse event. This study is the first of its kind providing a risk assessment from the chiropractic care of children.
Overall, our findings support that the chiropractic care of children is safe.
— Joel Alcantara, DC, Research Director of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA)