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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 1, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 14

Chiropractic: As Individual as a Handshake

By Charles Masarsky, DC, FICC

Author's Note: One of the most common barriers your patients encounter when trying to introduce a friend, co-worker or loved one to chiropractic care is the fear the adjustment is dangerous.

As full-time practitioners in Vienna, Va. (in the Washington, D.C. suburbs), my partner and I have found that understanding how children benefit (safely) from the chiropractic adjustment is a great help in getting past that barrier. The following patient education article is designed to help with this understanding. Please feel free to use it on your bulletin board, as a front-desk handout and at lay lectures.

Well-meaning but misinformed friends, relatives and even health professionals often dissuade parents from placing their children under chiropractic care. This often is based on the misperception that a chiropractic adjustment is "too rough," and that a young child's spine should not be "subjected" to it. In reality, a chiropractic adjustment has much in common with a handshake. If you're shaking hands with an athletic adult, your grip can be quite vigorous. However, if a small child offered you their hand in friendship, you wouldn't rebuff them to protect them from a grip that was "too rough." You would modify your grip appropriately for the individual.

It requires more skill and training to competently administer a chiropractic adjustment than it does to shake someone's hand, but the same common-sense thinking applies. The doctor of chiropractic modifies the adjustment appropriately for each individual. Competent chiropractic care is quite safe for children. In fact, children often enjoy great health benefits following an adjustment.

A recent case report described a 7-year-old girl diagnosed with asthma at the age of 4.1 Despite treatment with 10 different medications, she was unable to engage in physical activities due to persistent chest tightness. The patient experienced attacks of coughing and wheezing almost every day. Severe asthma attacks prompted emergency room visits approximately five times per year. When her breathing capacity was tested, her peak expiratory flow rate (the velocity of exhaled air when the patient blows as hard as they can) was 46 percent below the normal value for her age and height.

A chiropractic examination revealed spinal restriction and misalignment (subluxation) at several levels in the thoracic spine (mid-back). Individually tailored adjustments were administered. Improvement in coughing and chest tightness already was apparent the night of the first adjustment. After four weeks of care, the girl no longer felt the need to use her inhaler and was participating in swimming and running sports. After three months of care, her peak expiratory flow rate was measured and found to be only 5 percent below the normal value for her age and height. After 10 months of care, she was able to stop all daily medications, only carrying an inhaler in case of emergency.

This case report is part of a growing body of chiropractic literature. Doctors of chiropractic have been caring for children since the profession's beginnings.2 It makes no sense to deny children, senior citizens or any other group the benefits of chiropractic care. The chiropractic adjustment is safer than any drug and is as individual as a handshake.


  1. Fedorchuk C. Correction of subluxation and reduction of dysponesis in a 7-year-old child suffering from chronic cough and asthma: a case report. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 2007:1-5.
  2. Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M, Eds. Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 2001.

Click here for previous articles by Charles Masarsky, DC, FICC.

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