Background: Chronic constipation is a common condition as reflected in the $800 million yearly spent on laxatives in the United States. Constipation is such a common problem in the pediatric population that it is the second most referred problem to the pediatric gastroenterologist and accounts for 25% of all visits. Between 5-28% of all children experience great difficulty with elimination of food waste, which is often accompanied with pain, fear, and avoidance. The symptoms of constipation are defined as infrequent or difficult evacuation of the feces.
The ever increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in adults is accompanied by children. Parent CAM users are three-times more likely to use CAM for their children compared to non-CAM users. Chiropractic stands as the most popular type of CAM therapy for children and yet not reflected in the scientific literature. We describe the successful outcome of chiropractic care in pediatric patients with chronic constipation.
Clinical Features: All three patients were under the age of 2 years with bowel movements ranging from once per week to every 3-4 days. This was accompanied with straining, pain and rectal bleeding. Previous unsuccessful care involved medical advice with dietary changes (i.e., increase fiber and fluid intake) and the use of cod liver oil or mineral oil.
Intervention and Outcome: Following a trial of chiropractic care using a combination of high velocity low amplitude thrust type care and Activator Methods to sites of vertebral subluxations. The patients’ constipation resolved as demonstrated by an increased frequency in bowel movements once every 1-2 days without straining and pain.
Conclusion: This cased series provides supporting evidence on the effectiveness of chiropractic care in children with chronic constipation. We advocate for further investigations in this field.
Diane M Meyer, BSc, DC 1 and Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC 2
- Private Practice of Chiropractic, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
- Research Director, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Media, PA, USA and Private Practice of Chiropractic, San Jose, CA, USA
This study was funded by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Media, PA, USA
Joel Alcantara, BSc, DC
Int’l Chiropractic Pediatric Assoc
327 N Middletown Rd
Media, PA 19063
Presented at ACC/RAC Conference, March 2008.
Accepted for publication. Clinical Chiropractic, 2008.