Aims: Chiropractic manipulation is mostly used for spinal problems but, in an increasing number of cases, also for non-spinal conditions. This systematic review is aimed at critically evaluating the evidence for or against the effectiveness of this approach.
Methods: Five electronic databases were searched for all randomised clinical trials of chiropractic manipulation as a treatment of non-spinal pain. They were evaluated according to standardised criteria.
Results: Eight such studies were identified. They related to the following conditions: fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, infantile colic, otitis media, dysmenorrhoea and chronic pelvic pain. Their methodological quality ranged from mostly poor to excellent. Their findings do not demonstrate that chiropractic manipulation is an effective therapy for any of these conditions.
Conclusions: Only very few randomised clinical trials of chiropractic manipulation as a treatment of non-spinal conditions exist. The claim that this approach is effective for such conditions is not based on data from rigorous clinical trials.