Kids and chiros a no-go

The role of chiropractors in child health care is hotly debated.
The role of chiropractors in child health care is hotly debated.

A new mother seeking advice about her upset baby on an online Mandurah mother’s group was inundated with advice from other mothers telling her to see a chiropractor.

According to these mothers a chiropractor can fix anything from colic, asthma, reflux to autism.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) WA President Michael Gannon has slammed these claims.

“Spinal manipulation of infants is dangerous and has absolutely no scientific evidence to back up its supposed benefits,” Dr Gannon said.

The young mother was told to visit West Coast Back and Body Care, Waters Family Chiropractic and Mandurah Chiropractic as they all treat babies.

None of these businesses answered the questions sent to them from the Coastal Times.

Two of them directed us to their peak body –┬áthe Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA).

A spokeswoman for the association said they encouraged parents considering chiropractic care for their children to discuss their case with their chiropractor and other healthcare professionals to make an informed choice.

Dr Gannon said there was no reason to take a child to a chiropractor.

“The theory that all ailments like bedwetting or colic, or serious illnesses like asthma can be cured with spinal manipulation is certifiable nonsense, and we are very concerned to hear that infants are being subjected to spinal manipulation,” he said.

“There is no reason to take a child to a chiropractor; most paediatric ailments go away within a week or so and if they do not the first port of call should be your GP or paediatrician.”

The premise that chiropractic care is a cure-all comes from the theory that a ‘subluxation’ or spinal dysfunction affects the function of nerves, which then affect the internal organs and a person’s health.

A CAA spokeswoman said chiropractors are committed to giving Australians the best available research to make an informed decision regarding chiropractic care and receive the most current recognised treatments.

“There are various studies that support the use of chiropractic treatment for children,” she said.

“We do believe this is one area though where the delivery of chiropractic care would be significantly enhanced by further research.”

Recently the CAA experienced a split in its ranks with many members leaving to join Chiropractic Australia.

Chiropractic Australia was concerned the CAA was becoming ‘radical’.

The AMA came out in 2013 and slammed the CAA for becoming involved in the anti-vaccination debate.

A Chiropractic Australia spokesperson said many in the profession were unaware, naive, apathetic or complicit.

They support chiropractic involvement in health care of children as ‘it’s not at all unreasonable to check a child for injuries to the midline of the body.’

“We do not endorse the outdated concept of vertebral subluxation as justification for treatments which lack biological plausibility, let alone reasonable evidence,” the spokesperson said.