Introduction: This study had two purposes. These were: (i) to conduct a search of the literature between 2007 and 2011 investigating the use of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for pediatric health conditions and (ii) to perform a systematic review of eligible retrieved clinical trials.
Methods: The Index of Chiropractic Literature and PubMed were electronically searched using appropriate search words and MeSH terms, respectively, as well as reference tracking of previous reviews. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were evaluated using an instrument that assessed their methodological quality.
Results: Sixteen clinical trials were found that met the inclusion criteria and were scored.
Discussion: Six clinical trials investigated the effectiveness of SMT on colic, two each on asthma and enuresis, and one each on hip extension, otitis media, suboptimal breastfeeding, autism, idiopathic scoliosis and jet lag. None investigated the effectiveness of SMT on spinal pain.
Conclusion: Studies that monitored both subjective and objective outcome measures of relevance to both patients and parents tended to report the most favorable response to SMT, especially among children with asthma. Many studies reviewed suffered from several methodological limitations. Further research is clearly required in this area of chiropractic health care, especially with respect to the clinical effectiveness of SMT on pediatric back pain.
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