Can specific, scientific chiropractic help with asthma?
A self-reported asthma-related impairment study was conducted on 81 children under chiropractic care.
The intent of this study was to quantify self-reported changes in impairment experienced by the pediatric asthmatic subjects, before and after a two month period under chiropractic care. Practitioners, representing a general range of six different approaches to vertebral subluxation correction, administered a specifically designed asthma impairment questionnaire at the appropriate intervals. Subjects were categorized into two groups; 1–10 years and 11–17 years.
Parents/guardians completed questionnaires for the younger group, while the older subjects self-reported their perceptions of impairment. Significantly lower impairment rating scores (improvement) were reported for 90.1% of subjects 60 days after chiropractic care when compared to the pre-chiropractic scores (p < 0.05) with an effect size of 0.96. As well, there were no significant differences across the age groups based on parent/guardian versus self rated scores. Girls reported higher (less improvement) before and after care compared to boys, although significant decreases in impairment ratings were reported for each gender. This suggested a greater clinical effect for boys which was supported by effect sizes ranging from 1.2 for boys compared to 0.75 for girls. Additionally, 25 of 81 subjects (30.9%) chose to voluntarily decrease their dosage of medication by an average of 66.5% while under chiropractic care. Moreover, information collected from patients revealed that among 24 patients reporting asthma “attacks” in the 30 day period prior to the study, the number of “attacks” decreased significantly by an average of 44.9% (p <.05). Based on the data obtained in this study, it was concluded that chiropractic care, for correction of vertebral subluxation, is a safe nonpharmacologic health care approach which may also be associated with significant decreases in asthma related impairment as well as a decreased incidence of asthmatic “attacks.” The findings suggest that chiropractic care should be further investigated relative to providing the most efficacious care management regimen for pediatric asthmatics.
From the November / December 2000 issue of Today’s Chiropractic, comes a study report on Asthma. The article notes that approximately 14 Americans die each day from asthma. Asthma is only one of three diseases that has shown an increasing death rate in recent years, up 58% since 1979. Presently estimates say that 17 million Americans suffer from the disease making it the most common and costly illness in the United States today, costing over $13 billion annually. Presently, asthma causes more hospitalizations of children than any other childhood disease.
In the study, 47 patients were observed for a two year period. These patients had all been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases. The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments. The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period. Most patients in the study began care at a rate of 3 visits per week with this frequency being reduced after 4 to 8 initial weeks.
The patient results were very good with all 47 of the study patients showing a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent. Patient observed improvement was measured by both improvement in their symptoms as well as a decrease in their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up.
Asthma has become a large health concern for children in recent years. Over the past 20 years the incidence of asthma has doubled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 1998, approximately 17,299,000 people in the United States, or 6.4% of the population, with cases among very young children up 160%. As reported in the June 16, 1999 issue of JAMA, the CDC also noted that between 1980 and 1994, the number of people self-reporting asthma grew 75%.
In a study conducted in 1996 by the Michigan Chiropractic Council (MCC), a panel of doctors performed an out-come assessment study to test the qualitative and quantitative effectiveness of chiropractic care on children with asthma. The high demand of parents seeking alternative care for pediatric asthma was shown by the overwhelming interest in the study. More than 500 parents called the MCC seeking to get their child involved in the chiropractic study.
The study, which took place during May and June of 1996, examined the chiropractic effectiveness in correcting the cause of asthma in patients from birth to age 17. The average age of the participant was 10 years. “After 30 days of chiropractic health care, patients averaged only one attack, whereas prior to the study they were experiencing more than four attacks,” said MCC Dr. Bob Graham, who directed the study.
“Medications, which can be costly, were decreased by nearly 70 percent. Finally, patient satisfaction was rated 8.5 on a scale of 10.” More than 70 chiropractors from 62 cities in Michigan studied more than 80 children suffering from asthma.