Neck Pain In Children: A Retrospective Case Series

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SOURCE:   J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2016 (Sep); 60 (3): 212–219

Jocelyn Cox, BPhEd, DC,
Christine Davidian, DC, MSc,
Silvano Mior, DC, FCCS, PhD

Graduate Education and Research Department
of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College

Introduction:   Spinal pain in the pediatric population is a significant health issue, with an increasing prevalence as they age. Pediatric patients attend for chiropractor care for spinal pain, yet, there is a paucity of quality evidence to guide the practitioner with respect to appropriate care planning.

Methods:   A retrospective chart review was used to describe chiropractic management of pediatric neck pain. Two researchers abstracted data from 50 clinical files that met inclusion criteria from a general practice chiropractic office in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. Data were entered into SPSS 15 and descriptively analyzed.

Results:   Fifty pediatric neck pain patient files were analysed. Patients’ age ranged between 6 and 18 years (mean 13 years). Most (98%) were diagnosed with Grade I-II mechanical neck pain. Treatment frequency averaged 5 visits over 19 days; with spinal manipulative therapy used in 96% of patients. Significant improvement was recorded in 96% of the files. No adverse events were documented.

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Conclusion:   Pediatric mechanical neck pain appears to be successfully managed by chiropractic care. Spinal manipulative therapy appears to benefit pediatric mechanical neck pain resulting from day-today activities with no reported serious adverse events. Results can be used to inform clinical trials assessing effectiveness of manual therapy in managing pediatric mechanical neck pain.

Key words:   chiropractic, neck pain, pediatric, spinal manipulative therapy, case series


From the Full-Text Article:


Spinal pain is common amongst the pediatric population (including children and adolescents). It is a significant health issue [1, 2] where 52% of pediatric patients report musculoskeletal (MSK) symptoms over a one-year period. [3] Neck pain is the most common spinal pain in pediatric patients [3, 4] with 60% reporting neck pain persisting at two years after this study began. [5] A survey of Finnish school children reported neck pain experienced at least once during the week. [3]

Children with neck pain seek complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions, of which the most common is chiropractic care. [2, 6, 7] Pediatric patients comprise between about 8% and 13% of a chiropractor’s practice. [7-10] A recent National Institute of Health report suggested that 3.3% of children in the United States (1.9 million) saw a chiropractor or osteopath between 2002 and 2007. [11] Although surveys report pediatric patients visit chiropractors, little is known why they visit, how often, and whether or not there is a favourable response.

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