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Gotlib, A., Rupert, R. (2005) 'Assessing the evidence for the use of chiropractic manipulation in paediatric health conditions: A systematic review ', Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Mar;10(3):157-61.

Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Mar;10(3):157-61.

Assessing the evidence for the use of chiropractic manipulation in paediatric health conditions: A systematic review

Allan Gotlib, Ron Rupert


Objective: To review the biomedical literature up to and including 2003, and determine the extent of the evidence related to the therapeutic application of chiropractic manipulation for paediatric health conditions. No critical appraisal of the evidence is undertaken.

Data sources: The indexed manual therapy sector including medical, chiropractic, physiotherapy, naturopathic and osteopathic literature was searched. This included PubMed; the Manual, Alternative, and Natural Therapy Index System; the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; the Index to Chiropractic Literature; the Paediatric Economic Database Evaluation Project; the Cochrane Library; the Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment database; and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality database. Other resources included research conference and symposium proceedings, and the references of identified studies.

Result: The search identified 1731 articles, of which 166 met the eligibility criteria. Two reviewers determined by consensus each citation's appropriate level on the strength of evidence scale. There was one systematic review, nine randomized controlled trials, one observational study, 141 descriptive case studies and 14 conference abstracts.

Summary: Health claims made by practitioners regarding the application of chiropractic manipulation as a health care intervention for paediatric health conditions are, for the most part, supported by low levels of scientific evidence. Chiropractors, in particular, employ manipulation for the treatment of a wide variety of paediatric health conditions. The evidence rests primarily with clinical experience, descriptive case studies and a few randomized controlled trials. There is a need for more rigorous scientific inquiry to examine the value of manipulative therapy in the treatment of paediatric conditions. To advance the health interests of paediatric patients, health care decisions made on the basis of expert opinion or clinical experience must integrate the best research evidence available from high-quality, scientific studies.

Keywords: Adolescent; Child; Chiropractic manipulation; Evidence-based medicine; Infant; Newborn; Paediatrics.

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