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J. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health...

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Research Shows Chiropractic Can Help with Skull Defect

Recent research in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic reporting on an infant with a skull defect known as craniosynostosis reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in helping infants with such problems.

Atlanta, GA, April 24, 2010 --( The research includes a review of the literature on the defect and is the first reported case of improvement in craniosynostosis from chiropractic care reported on in the literature.

“Research is revealing that chiropractic care is beneficial for a wide variety of pediatric problems from infancy to adolescence” stated Dr. Joel Alcantara, Director of Research for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and the lead author of the paper. “In this case we have a defect in the infant’s skull that did not require a planned surgery following a trial of chiropractic care of the spine and skull.” added Dr. Alcantara.

There is normally some space, called sutures, between several bones that make up the skull in the infant and craniosynostosis ocurrs when these bones fuse together too early. These sutures allow passage of the head through the birth canal, serve as “shock absorbers” due to minor impacts to the head and permit the rapid brain growth that occurs early in life. Craniosynostosis that occurs early in a child’s life results in greater and more dramatic effects on the child’s cranial and nervous system development.

In most cases, surgical intervention is done to correct for the cosmetic deformity associated with the disorder and to relieve increased pressure inside the skull. This increased pressure can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and developmental delay.

“It makes a lot of sense when you think about it” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a researcher, public health expert and editor of the journal that published the study.

“Chiropractors work with the alignment and movement of the bones that make up the spine and many chiropractors also work on the bones of the skull, especially in children where its normal development is so crucial. So it is not so surprising that you’d see this type of outcome.”

As pointed out in the paper, chiropractic’s role in caring for children is increasing and has been shown to be safe and effective. In one large study for example, also led by Dr. Alcantara, researchers found only three adverse events during 5,438 office visits from the treatment of 577 children under chiropractic care. Both parents and chiropractors reported a high rate of improvement with respect to the children's presenting complaints, in addition to improvements unrelated to the children's initial clinical presentations. All adverse events were minor such as muscle soreness.

“The research shows that not only is chiropractic for children extremely safe but it is also highly effective” stated Alcantara. “What we need is more and larger studies that address specific pediatric problems such as the one reported on in this single case study.” Alcantara added “While this is only a single case study, it shows what can happen when chiropractic to correct spinal and cranial distortions is included as a health care option for children.”

Spinal, pelvic and cranial distortions, termed subluxations by chiropractors, result in structural and neurological interference to the spine and nerve system and chiropractors correct or reduce this interference through gentle and specific adjustments.

The infant reported on in the study underwent just 6 visits to the chiropractor before improving. The little girl went from a skull diameter of 34.5 cm to 39.2 cm. The patient’s mother noted that her daughter’s cranial development seemed to have progressed much “more” with the addition of chiropractic care. The girl was seen an additional 7 visits for follow-up to address residual subluxation findings and follow-up with the patient’s mother approximately three months after initiating care revealed the patient’s cranial development had progressed so as not to require surgery for craniosynostosis.

The authors of the study call for more research on the role of chiropractic care in such disorders.

Contact Information
Matthew McCoy, DC, MPH
Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health - Chiropractic

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