Two recent news articles feature chiropractic care for general wellness and for children. One article from the August 28, 2003 Press & Sun Bulletin from Binghamton NY, starts off by featuring 5-year-old Michael Smolinsky as he receives his chiropractic adjustment. Michael’s mother Joanne, noted that her son started seeing Dr. McAulliffe three years ago because, after nine months of chronic ear infections, she didn’t know where to turn. All of the pediatricians and ear, nose and throat doctors she took her son to couldn’t figure out what was wrong and just kept prescribing medication that didn’t seem to help.

“It concerned me,” Joanne Smolinsky said. “How much medicine can you put into a 2-year-old child?” She then recalled that doctors suggested putting tubes in Michael’s ears to drain excess fluids. The idea of putting her son under anesthesia scared her, and after talking to her chiropractor she decided to give chiropractic a shot. Her medical doctors didn’t support the idea, so she couldn’t get a referral for insurance purposes. After receiving chiropractic every six weeks for three years, Michael has had only one ear infection in that time. He also experienced the same good results with dizzy spells that he had been previously having.

Another article featured in the August 18, 2003 Star Online News of North Carolina, starts off by saying, “In recent years, chiropractors nationwide have been increasingly successful in beating the “back-pain only” rap with statistics and growing testimonials about chiropractic care’s benefits, for everything from stress and fatigue to sinus trouble and asthma. And whether young or old, folks in Southeastern North Carolina, too, are making use of what’s renewing itself as one of the hottest trends in healthcare.”

This story highlighted 3-year-old Christian Kent of Leland. When Christian was a mere 6 months old, he developed recurring ear infections. These ear infections would clear up with medicine, but they would always return. After a year and numerous trips to an ear, nose and throat specialist, it was determined that at a year and a half old, he needed tubes in his ears. Cindy Kent, Christian’s mother remembers her initial reaction, “I thought, ‘Oh no’.” she then continued. “Instead, we brought him to the chiropractor and after six adjustments, the ear infection was gone.”

“People should be focused on correcting the root of the problem,” said Dr. Reese, a chiropractor interviewed for the article. “This is not an alternative, but its own distinct form of health care. People should have a chiropractor, just like they should have a doctor, a dentist or a mechanic.”

On January 23, 2011, Jack LaLanne, an American fitness icon, died at the age of 96. Best known for his role of leading a revolution toward fitness and proper nutrition in the United States, many do not know that LaLane was also a chiropractor.

On January 26, 2001, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress issued a press release honoring the man who devoted his life toward improving the lives of others. The Foundation noted, “While most remember the late great American exercise, fitness and nutritional expert Jack LaLanne as the innovative father of the U.S. wellness movement, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress also recognizes LaLanne for his selfless contributions to the advancement of the chiropractic profession. LaLanne, an Oakland Chiropractic College graduate, developed a passion for the chiropractic profession, with his love for fitness and nutrition running parallel to the principles of chiropractic care.”

“LaLanne always believed that exercise and eating right could yield youthfulness and optimized strength – leading to longer and healthier lives,” says Gerard Clum, DC, spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. “Doctors of chiropractic hold these concepts as the basis of patient health education.”

In a July 2000 interview with Larry King on CNN, LaLanne spoke about going to chiropractic school, his business in fitness, and his gym taking off. When King asked LaLanne if he still believed in chiropractic, Jack’s response was a resounding, “One hundred percent, absolutely.”

Later in the same interview, a caller asked LaLanne why he didn’t pursue his career in chiropractic. His answer was a sobering reminder of the prejudice that existed back in those days, and how far acceptance of chiropractic has come. Jack responded, “Because I was having — so much of my business was coming from the medical doctors. And in those days, the medical doctors and chiropractors were like cats and dogs. But if they knew I was a chiropractor they wouldn’t send me any business.” LaLanne continued by saying, “But today, thank God, there is changing people, everybody is getting together. Alternative medicine is a big thing now, and that is a big, big wonderful plus for America that everybody is getting together.”

In his closing remarks, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress spokesperson Dr. Clum commented, “As a national organization dedicated to educating the public about the health benefits of chiropractic care, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress will be forever grateful for the influence and positive impact Jack LaLanne had on America and the entire chiropractic profession. He will be missed and remembered with great reverence.”

A case study involving a 7-year-old boy suffering chronic colds, allergies, and asthma since the age of 5 months, who was subsequently helped with chiropractic, was documented in the August 17, 2009 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health.

In this study the young boy’s parents explained that their son had been suffering from his problems since age 5, and was now taking the medications Alavert daily for allergies and Albuterol for asthma as needed. The child also required nebulizer treatments for his asthmatic episodes. Additionally steroid injections were also used “regularly”. Because of his illnesses he missed 1-2 days of school per month. He also had monthly visits to the medical doctor for all his health issues.

Finally his parents brought him to a chiropractor to see if he could be helped. The chiropractic examination revealed multiple postural abnormalities and changes in the boy’s ranges of spinal movement. Additionally areas of the spine felt abnormal to the doctor’s touch. These findings are all indicative of spinal subluxations. Subluxations are when bones of the spine are positioned incorrectly and create pressure or irritation on nerves. This causes changes in the function of the nervous system and can result in a variety of health issues depending on the severity of the nerve system interference and the areas of the nervous system involved.

Specific chiropractic care was initiated on the boy at the initial frequency of 3 visits per week for the first month of care. Within two weeks of the child’s first chiropractic adjustment, the patient’s mother indicated that her son no longer was dependent on his prescription medication for allergies, so they decided to discontinue them on their own. His parents also reported that his frequency and severity of the asthma attacks had greatly improved, and he no longer required his nebulizer treatments since beginning chiropractic care.

According to the study records within 3 months of the initiation of chiropractic care, the boy’s mother reported that all the young boy’s initial complaints were addressed successfully. The child continued chiropractic wellness care, and after a 16 month follow up, it was noted that the boy experienced only 1-2 minor colds or sinus infections and required the use of his nebulizer on only two occasions. Neither the patient nor his mother reported any adverse reactions to the chiropractic care.

An article released on August 6, 2009 appearing on EarthTimes.org by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress discussed chiropractic as a means of helping for those suffering with fibromyalgia. According to WebMD fibromyalgia is, “Widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissues above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. In this syndrome, the nervous system (nerves, spinal cord, and brain) is not able to control what it feels, so ordinary feelings from your muscles, joints, and soft tissues are experienced as pain.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress stated that chiropractic care has been shown to reduce the agonizing pain, debilitating fatigue, and joint stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. The Foundation noted that there are a variety of medical treatments for fibromyalgia, but that chiropractic care in particular has grown sharply in popularity among the millions of sufferers for dramatically reducing chronic, widespread pain and restoring patients to healthier lives.

Dr. Gerry Clum, a chiropractor and spokesperson for the Foundation and President of Life Chiropractic College West commented, “Fibromyalgia involves turmoil of the central nervous system, yielding a situation known as central sensitization, which causes heightened nervous system responses.” He continued his explanation, and explained how chiropractic fits into the care of fibromyalgia patients by saying, “Overall health and wellness is affected by an individuals nervous system, an area in which chiropractors are proficiently trained to address, making chiropractic care a viable option for fibromyalgia patients.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress article noted that chiropractors aim to correct misalignments of the spine and pelvis through hands-on adjustments. As joint motion improves, fibromyalgia patients discover that the excruciating pain can be reduced or, in some cases, eliminated.

As a testimonial, the article reported that Retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, the first woman General in the U.S. Army to command in Iraq, suffered from fibromyalgia during her service. The West Point graduate recalled her story by saying, “The adjustments and nutritional advice I received from my chiropractor helped in treating the fibromyalgia and made me feel better on a day-to-day basis.”

Chiropractic was represented at the world’s largest “anti-aging” conference in Chicago July 13-15, 2001. At this conference four chiropractic presenters provided important data and insights on the role of chiropractic in the care of older patients. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) who sponsored the conference, is recognized as the society which has changed the way the world thinks about human aging. Due to the rising demand for new ideas in anti-aging health, the program spanned three days and featured three distinct learning tracks, including the chiropractic educational sessions.

Chiropractic offers two wonderful benefits for the elderly. First chiropractic aids in mobility allowing the elderly to enjoy a more mobile life. Secondly, chiropractic offers more vitality and overall health. By removing nerve interference from subluxations the entire body functions better and responds to the changes of aging in a more positive manner.

Dr. D.D. Humber, ICA President said, “This inter-disciplinary professional conference represents an important frontier for chiropractic because only chiropractic offers a truly drug-free approach to health. In a segment of the population awash with prescription drugs, and where one-half of all emergency room presentations by Medicare beneficiaries are related to those prescription drugs, chiropractic awareness becomes an urgent matter of public health. This event provided the Chiropractic Profession with an opportunity to educate consumers and other professionals alike on the value of chiropractic as a health care discipline that encourages wellness practices with their patients.”

“The growing numbers of older people in the population present increasing challenges as well as opportunities for health care approaches that combat aging and infirmity by utilizing the natural resources of the body itself,” said Dr. Coralee Van Egmond, Chiropractor and the coordinator of the A4M program. “Chiropractic is the only health care discipline that addresses the inherent recuperative healing power of the body, and is a natural and integral partner with other health care disciplines in society’s efforts to combat aging.”

The above statement sums up the headlines of a Reuters article by Maggie Fox appearing January 30, 2006. The article is based on a statement by the American College of Physicians (ACP) who warn that, “Primary care is on the verge of collapse.” In a statement by that organization they continue, “Very few young physicians are going into primary care and those already in practice are under such stress that they are looking for an exit strategy.”

Dr. Bob Doherty, senior vice president for the American College of Physicians wants more focus on health instead of what they call, “just-in-time” care. He highlighted the problems with an example, “Medicare will pay tens of thousands of dollars…for a limb amputation on a diabetic patient, but virtually nothing to the primary care physician for keeping the patient’s diabetes under control.”

Income also plays a part in the decline of Primary Care physicians. The ACP statement noted that, “Primary care physicians — the bedrock of medical care for today and the future — are at the bottom of the list of all medical specialties in median income compensation.”

The ACP is calling for a number of reforms. One of those reforms includes using e-mail to consult on minor and routine matters. This would free up more expensive office visit time for when it is needed. The group is then suggesting that doctors be compensated for any e-mail consultations.

Many believe that the chiropractic profession has offered an avenue of wellness care long sought after in medical primary care. In response to these articles International Chiropractors Association Executive Director Ronald M. Hendrickson stated, “The massive decline in the availability of primary care medical physicians will force the system, and encourage the consumer, to look at other approaches to health and other care pathways.” The ICA Executive continues, “The chiropractic profession offers a powerful, proven and highly cost-effective resource, since doctors of chiropractic are well-trained and exceptionally well equipped to provide drugless, non-surgical care that can contribute significantly to the prevention, early intervention and the natural resolution of the health care needs of millions.”

A study published in the September-October 2009 Journal of Science and Healing showed that chiropractic care for children is safe. The study showed that the primary reason that most children went to the chiropractor was “wellness care.”

The study involved surveying both Doctors of Chiropractic who took care of children and parents who brought their children to chiropractors. In the survey of the doctors the results showed that out of 577 children under the age of 18, with a total of 5,438 office visits, there were only three minor adverse events reported. In the survey of parents of 239 children under chiropractic care, there were only 2 minor adverse events reported. The study noted that the adverse events were minor discomfort after the adjustment and were readily resolved with continued adjustments.

Of those children who were brought to the chiropractor for health issues, the most common symptoms noted in the study were muscular conditions, ear, nose, throat, respiratory and digestive disorders. Both parents and doctors indicated a high rate of improvement with the children’s presenting health issues. In addition to these improvements, the doctors and parents also reported better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavior, and improved immune system function while under chiropractic care.

Dr. Joel Alcantara, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) Research Director and author of this study said, “This paper shows the preliminary results of the ICPA’s Children’s PBRN (practice-based research network) Phase One”. Dr. Alcantra then continued, “Phase Two is well under way and we have initiated similar research pertinent to pregnancy. We are pleased that a major CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) Journal respects the importance of chiropractic care for children and we foresee greater collaboration with the CAM community on the importance of chiropractic care for children.”

Dr. Renny M. Edelson, one of the Doctors of Chiropractic who participated in the study summed up the enthusiasm of the study results by saying, “It is wonderful to see research substantiating the safety of chiropractic care for children and the overwhelming satisfaction of parents with children under care.”

n the April 20, 2009 issue of the scientific journal, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, was a case study report of a young girl who had signs of cerebellar ataxia that were completely eliminated with chiropractic care. Cerebellar ataxia is a disorder that results in balance and coordination problems.

In this case a 7 year old girl was brought to a chiropractic clinic for health and wellness. In the course of examination tests were performed that showed a brain malfunction consistent with cerebellar ataxia. Chiropractic care was initiated for the presence of vertebral subluxations. The young girl was seen weekly in the initial stages of care. By the fourth adjustment the patient was re-tested and the specific findings of cerebellar ataxia were gone.

Author of the paper, Dr. Nicoleta Borcean explained this case by noting, “Basic science research shows that the proper development and function of the brain relies on proper structure and movement of the spine from an early age.”

She continued, “It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. Borcean. “The brain constantly needs and wants to know where our body is in space. If there is interference with the neurological communication between the spine and the brain all sorts of malfunctions can occur.”

Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health added, “There are very important functional relationships between the spine and the brain that if disturbed can result in a host of problems with how the brain functions”. According to McCoy “Childrens nervous systems need the constant stimulation of movement in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.”

The Chiropractic profession has long stressed the importance of a healthy spine for overall health and wellness. Now a study published in the August 16, 2004 issue of the scientific periodical, The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR) has shown that spinal hygiene actually does improve the measurement of quality of life.

According to the published study, “Spinal hygiene is defined as patient-active principles and/or practices conducive to producing a healthy spinal column and nervous system and preventing vertebral subluxations. This includes: improving posture, promoting proper exercise, making healthy nutritional choices, guidance in stress reduction, ergonomics, emphasis upon the patient’s self-responsibility and appropriate professional spinal evaluation and care.”

In the study a group of volunteer chiropractic students took a spinal hygiene class. These students were then compared to a group who did not take such a class. The results were then measured using two predetermined scientific formats for measuring quality of life known as the “Rand SF-36 Health Survey and the Global Well-Being Scale”.

The results showed that the students who participated in the spinal hygiene class showed significant improvement in a wide area of quality of life parameters. This was noted both in comparison against their scores before they took the spinal hygiene class as well as in comparison with the group that did not take the class.

The researchers summed up their study by concluding, “The practice of spinal hygiene procedures shows great promise in the vital area of improvement of quality of life. In a society where obesity and sedentary living are pandemic and spinal health is deteriorating, it is hoped that as health care practitioners these students will share and model positive spinal and neurological health behaviors to their patients and communities.”

The August 04, 2005 Business Wire ran story about backpack safety and chiropractic.

Dr. Kassie Donoghue, president of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA) states, “As the mother of an elementary school aged child, I know the pressure that comes from kids who want a certain cartoon character or color. As a doctor, I want to do what’s most important for my child’s long term health.” She continued, “Before going out to buy a backpack, it’s helpful to talk to your kids about the type of backpack you want to buy. By following a few simple guidelines, you can help your child choose a backpack they like and avoid serious back problems.”

When choosing a backpack for your child the CCA made some simple suggestions to look for. They include:

  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded back
  • Lumbar support
  • Waist belt
  • Multiple compartments
  • Correct size

“This is an important issue for doctors of chiropractic because we focus on wellness and preventative care,” said Dr. Donoghue. “Our job is to help prevent health problems and that’s why doctors of chiropractic are so concerned about children carrying backpacks that don’t fit well or that are too heavy.”

Dr. John Maltby, President of the International Chiropractors Association added, “Nothing is more important than the health and proper function of a child’s nervous system. The spine houses a major part of the nervous system, the spinal cord. A healthy spine free of subluxations is essential for nervous system function. Backpacks when carried improperly, or overloaded can be a major form of stress on a young developing spine, create subluxations, and can have serious effects on nerve system function and general health.”