To determine the effect of active spinal manipulation on lung function and symptom control in childhood asthma.
Eighty children (7 to 16 years) with stable asthma for 6 weeks were randomized to either active spinal manipulation (38) or control massage therapy (42) for 20 to 36 sessions over a 4-month period.
After randomization, patients were followed for a 4-month period. Baseline and 4-month spirometry and methacholine challenge were performed. Patients recorded daily peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) and daily symptom scores.
In both groups peak flows increased while asthma symptoms and β-agonist use decreased. There were no statistically or clinically relevant significant differences in the two groups. There were no significant differences in spirometry or methacholine challenge over the 4-month study.
Alternative interventions for the control of chronic diseases are frequently used by patients. It is important that objective information be available to patients regarding treatment options. This carefully controlled study provides strong evidence that chiropractic manipulation has nothing to offer for the treatment of childhood asthma.