Successful Chiropractic Care of Pediatric Patients With Chronic Constipation: A Case Series and a Review of the Literature

Alcantara J, Mayer DM. The Successful Chiropractic Care of Pediatric Patients With Chronic Constipation: A Case Series and a Review of the Literature. Clinical Chiropractic September 2008; 11(3):138-147.

ABSTRACT: Introduction: Chronic constipation is a common condition in the very young and the very old. So much so that approximately $800 million is spent on laxatives in the United States each year. 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. Given the many anecdotes and testimonials on the successful care of pediatric patients with constipation but the few documenting this in the scientific literature, we hope to contribute to evidence-based practice with this case series presentation. Methods: We describe through a case series presentation the successful outcome of chiropractic care in pediatric patients with chronic constipation. All three patients were under 2 years of age with bowel movements ranging from once per week to every 3—4 days. Previous unsuccessful care involved dietary changes and the use of cod liver oil or mineral oil under the auspices of medical care.

Results: Following a trial of full spine chiropractic care characterized as high velocity low amplitude thrusts and the activator technique, the patients responded to care immediately with improved bowel movements. Spanning a period of care of 3 weeks to 3 months in the three patients, there was an increase in frequency of bowel movements to once every 1—2 days. Furthermore, the bowel movements were described as soft without the accompanying straining, pain and rectal bleeding. Conclusion: This study contributes to evidence-based practice on the chiropractic care of children with constipation.

COMMENTS: Anyone who has been in practice has likely had similar success with pediatric constipation. It usually clears up very rapidly.