A 2002 Journal of Manipulative Physiology Therapy reported a pilot study of 36 patients, age 6-17 years of age, with persistent mild to moderate asthma, who received 20 spinal manipulative therapy sessions over three months. Spinal therapy was sham SMT or active SMT. Objective lung function tests and symptom questionnaire were administered at the 12-week mark. Subjects were asked to grade symptoms and use of bronchodilator. After three months subjects rated their quality of life improved by a reported 10-28%, a 20% reduction in bronchodilator use was reported, and activity scale showed the most improvement by 50%-75%. Pulmonologist-rated improvement was small. Asthma severity ratings reduced by 39%. Benefits lasted through the 12-month follow-up.
Although this study is small, it should be noted the recorded changes remain significantly positive and allows for a hopeful prognosis. Providers should record pediatric asthma symptoms at each visit, using best practice measures on all changes related to activities of daily living. Further research may be needed to assess which components of the chiropractic encounter are responsible for patient improvements. Improved activity scales suggests chiropractic manipulative therapies may offer significant relief to pediatric asthma patients.