Many parents of children with chronic-health conditions struggle to help their child manage ongoing pain and symptoms. They also worry about the potential effects certain medical treatments and drugs can have on their child's health. That could be why more parents are now seeking natural treatment options like chiropractic.
In a recent study, chiropractic was one of the most commonly-used alternative therapies for children with chronic-health problems.
The study included more than 900 parents of children being treated at cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology, and respiratory clinics in Canada. Parents were asked about their child's use of alternative therapies and products.
Nearly half of parents said their child used an alternative therapy in addition to receiving conventional treatments. Almost 10% of parents said they'd pursue complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) prior to conventional treatments, and 5% said they used alternative medicine in place of traditional care.
Of the two hospitals included in the survey, at one hospital, 71% of children had received CAM therapies, while 42% had used CAM therapies at the other. The most common CAM therapies were massage, chiropractic, relaxation, and aromatherapy.
Several parents also said their child took multivitamins and minerals and had used herbal supplements and homeopathic remedies in the past. However, parents did not always communicate with primary-care physicians about their child's use of herbal supplements and minerals, which had some observers worried.
Herbal and dietary supplements can change how the body reacts to certain drugs, warned Dr. Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, who commented on the issue in recent article from The Huffington Post. She encouraged patients to talk with physicians about their herbal and dietary supplement use, and reminded physicians to take the time to ask.
The study suggests that the use of CAM therapies like chiropractic among children is on the rise. Studies show that chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for children with musculoskeletal complaints, headache, and more.
Adams D, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use by pediatric specialty outpatients. Pediatrics 2013; doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1220.