July 31, 2019
Review of spinal manipulative therapy in children under the age of 10
The priority of the College of Chiropractors of British Columbia (CCBC) is the health and safety of the public and we regulate the profession in order to achieve this. British Columbians of all ages can feel confident that when they go to a chiropractor in this province, they will receive safe, quality care.
In March 2019, the Chiropractic Board of Australia placed a temporary restriction on the use of spinal manipulative therapy in children under two, pending the outcome of an independent research review.
The CCBC Board acknowledged the need to review this topic. The CCBC Board has been actively engaged in discussion on the treatment of children with spinal manipulative therapy including consideration of the risks and available evidence since April 2019.
The CCBC Board is not satisfied that an exhaustive review of research and full consideration of this topic has been completed. As a result, on July 8 the CCBC Board ordered a significant review of research, information and regulatory approaches in relation to the treatment of children with spinal manipulative therapy. This will involve staff and several independent parties to collect, gather and analyze data for the Board’s further deliberation in late September. The results of Australia’s Independent Review and subsequent actions will also be considered.
The CCBC Board has committed to the following actions to protect the public in this regard:
- Engage with researchers to conduct an independent rapid research review into the safety of spinal manipulative therapy for children under 10 years of age.
- Conduct a scan of policies, guidelines and regulations regarding the treatment of children with spinal manipulative therapy by chiropractors from other jurisdictions, both domestically and internationally.
- Conduct a scan of the curriculum of chiropractic education programs related to the treatment of infants and children.
- Remind BC chiropractors of their professional obligations to all patients, including children, and the need to carefully consider each patient’s unique circumstances and condition, including their age. Treatment must be based on the best available evidence, as is expected of chiropractors when treating patients of any age.
- Continue to proactively enforce the CCBC Efficacy Claims Policy, ensuring that chiropractors understand the rules and do not advertise the treatment of conditions that are outside the scope of practice, including those that specifically target children and their caregivers.
- Consider the need for expansion of the CCBC Efficacy Claims Policy, such as the identification of additional conditions, especially those targeting children and infants. This includes the enforcement of any amendments to the policy.
Further, all registrants will continue to be reminded of their obligations under the Health Professions Act, the College Bylaws and the Professional Conduct Handbook.
The CCBC Board has agreed to be transparent in the process of reviewing the treatment of children to ensure that the public has the information needed to make informed decisions about health care for their families. We will continue to report on the progress of this important initiative as information becomes available.
Michelle Da Roza