Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to all chiropractic clinics in Denmark during a randomly assigned month between September 2007 and September 2008. All patients younger than 18 years or their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire collecting information on age, presenting complaint, duration and consequences of this complaint, referral mode, and use of pain medication.
Results: Babies were the most common pediatric patients with about one third being between 0 and 4 months of age. Infantile colic was the most common presenting complaint in this age group. For the older children, musculoskeletal problems were the most dominant complaint, ranging from 33% among the preschool children to 75% among the teenagers. These complaints were often chronic and about a third of the children older than 2 years had experienced symptoms for more than 1 year before seeing the chiropractor. These health complaints were reported to restrict activity as well as alter mood, and 39% of the 2- to 17-year olds used analgesics. There was limited referral of patients from other health care professionals.
Conclusions: Babies made up most of the Danish chiropractic patients younger than 18 years. Among the older children and the adolescents, musculoskeletal complaints were most common and mostly of a chronic nature. The large number of pediatric patients in chiropractic practices and the paucity of evidence of treatment effectiveness indicate the need for further research in these age groups.
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