Chiropractic research featured in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

By Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD, CHES

Even though chiropractic care is now used annually by nearly 14% of adults,1 it is used far less by children. A 2015 analysis of National Health Interview Survey data indicated that 3% of children aged 4-17 used chiropractic, and data were not even reported for those younger than 4-years of age.2 The evidence base for chiropractic is primarily built on studies of adults with musculoskeletal complaints.3 As the health care systems of the world increasingly rely on scientific evidence of effectiveness and safety in order to authorize use of healthcare practices and treatment, it is essential that the chiropractic profession conduct high-quality research on special populations, particularly children.

The March 2016 issue of the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to chiropractic research—a first for this journal, and unusual for any medical journal. As guest editor of this issue, part of my responsibility was to encourage submissions, which were of course then rigorously peer-reviewed. Readers of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics should be pleased to see that four of the seven articles included in this special issue were on the topic of chiropractic care for children. The abstracts of these articles are included in this issue of JCCP. They covered many aspects of chiropractic pediatrics: breastfeeding counseling in an interdisciplinary clinic which included chiropractic care and midwifery (Miller et al); a survey of obstetricians’ opinions on chiropractic (Weis et al); description of a reporting system for Doctors of Chiropractic (Pohlman et al); and description of a consensus-based set of core competencies for chiropractors treating children (Hewitt et al).

All these high-quality articles shared the themes of the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and communication and the strong emphasis within the chiropractic profession on establishing practices and procedures that optimize patient safety and outcomes.

The publication of these articles in a journal with a primarily non-chiropractic readership is a great benefit to our profession, and to that portion of the profession focusing on pediatric care in particular. These articles are likely to increase other professions’ awareness and knowledge of chiropractic pediatrics, and also to enhance the credibility of the profession in general. JCCP thanks the authors of these articles for their dedication to research and to the welfare of all children.


1. Weeks WB, Goertz CM, Meeker WC, Marchiori DM. Public perceptions of Doctors of Chiropractic: results of a national survey and examination of variation according to eespondents’ likelihood to use chiropractic, experience with chiropractic, and chiropractic supply in local health care Markets. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015;38(8):533-544.

2. Black LI, Clarke TC, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of complementary health approaches among children aged 4-17 years in the United States: National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2012. Natl Health Stat Report. 2015(78):1-19.

3. Clar C, Tsertsvadze A, Court R, Hundt GL, Clarke A, Sutcliffe P. Clinical effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions: systematic review and update of UK evidence report. Chiropr Man Therap. 2014;22(1):12.