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Did a chiropractor really break a baby’s back? 7 things parents must know

With reports this week that a baby’s neck was broken during a chiropractic treatment, isn’t it time we got real about alternative therapies? Nicole Madigan investigates.

Do babies and chiropractors mix?

Sunday newspapers reported a shocking story of a baby’s back being broken by a chiropractor – but the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia says the story is “flat out wrong” and is working to retract the story.

Melbourne paediatrician Chris Pappas told the newspapers he cared for a four-month-old baby last year after one of her vertebrae was fractured during a chiropractic treatment for torticollis – a wry neck – which is usually harmless in babies. He said the infant, who was rushed to Monash Medical Centre for treatment, was lucky to make a full recovery.

Victorian GP Dr Cameron Martin puts it more plainly: “There is absolutely no need for a baby – or a child – to have chiropractic treatment, ever.”

“A chiropractor can not fix otitis media, baby colic, scoliosis, wry neck and they can’t fix autism either. I would never send a child, or even an adult, to see a chiropractor.”

Dr Martin says a baby that’s unsettled or has any potential health issues should be taken to visit a GP.

“Chiropractors believe illness emanates from the spine and everything can be fixed with an adjustment – it’s just not based on science, it’s based on a belief,” he says. “The biggest problem is that chiropractors now go to uni for five years so people think it’s legitimate.”

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