Chiropractors brazenly adjusting babies can cause serious injury (UPDATE: CAA wants retraction)

An exclusive by the Sydney Morning Herald calls for immediate drastic measures against chiropractors.

Call for age limit after chiropractor breaks baby’s neck.

A baby’s neck has been broken by a chiropractor in an incident doctors say shows the profession should stop treating children.

Melbourne paediatrician Chris Pappas cared for a four-month-old baby last year after one of her vertebrae was fractured during a chiropractic treatment for torticollis – an abnormal neck position that is usually harmless. He said the infant was lucky to make a full recovery.

”Another few millimetres and there would have been a devastating spinal cord injury and the baby would have either died or had severe neurological impairment with quadriplegia,” he said.

Dr Pappas complained to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which referred the case to the Chiropractic Board. Three weeks ago, he received a letter from AHPRA saying the case had been closed after the chiropractor committed to completing further education.

Dr Pappas said he was concerned the decision was an endorsement of chiropractic treatment for infants when there was no scientific evidence to support it.

”I think they have put the chiropractor’s interests before the interests of the public,” Dr Pappas said. ”[Treating infants] is inappropriate and it carries a very small but real risk of causing damage, and in some cases, devastating damage.”

Chiropractors, on the other hand, are defending their practice saying it’s as safe for children as adults. The PROBLEM is that it’s not been shown to be effective for anything! And, yet, it carries significant risk. So zero risk is the only acceptable limit. Or, just forego the “treatment” entirely.

Chiropractic and Stroke « Science-Based Medicine.

Chiropractors admit to sneaking into hospitals to do adjustments. This “outrageous” inside information came from a closed Facebook group called the Australian Chiropractic Philosophy Society. One of the admins of that group is Nimrod Weiner, a chiropractor who advocates treating babies and is an anti-vax proponent.

One practitioner admits to sneaking into maternity wards pretending to be a friend of the parents to run a chiropractic check on the new babies. That makes my skin crawl – how parents could be so accepting of a ridiculous philosophy like chiropractic.

Just a reminder, chiropractic is based on the idea that “subluxations“, a misalignment of the spine that allegedly interferes with nerve signals from the brain are the cause of most illnesses. After decades of modern medical science, this theory has no supporting scientific evidence. Their “subluxations” don’t show up on x-rays. That’s a HUGE red flag to show that the foundation of chiropractic is nonsense and should be disregarded as well as the practices that stem from it. We also see significant evidence that chiropractors not only promote their own pseudoscience but support other nonsense such as anti-vax and homeopathy.

More on this case can be found at Reasonable Hank’s blog who exposed the Facebook group’s comments, many of which are arrogant and shocking.

UPDATE (30-Sept-2013) The chiropractors association demands a retraction of the piece claiming no harm has come from treating children since 1992. The baby had a fracture but it was not caused by chiropractic adjustment.

Here is an update from the news.

Fairfax papers reported that a Melbourne chiropractor fractured the vertebrae of a four-month-old baby, but the association said that story was wrong and demanded a retraction.

An investigation is likely. But the bottom line is that chiropractors ARE treating children and babies and the evidence of the effectiveness of such treatments is lacking. Those facts are not in doubt. Mounting evidence has shown risk of chiropractic for adults. Does this apply to children? There are many reasons to forego even very limited risk.

Tip: Jin-oh Choi

  12 comments for “Chiropractors brazenly adjusting babies can cause serious injury (UPDATE: CAA wants retraction)

  1. neko
    September 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    I have to keep reminding people that chiropractors are not doctors. I am seldom believed.

    I hope everyone else out there is too. Just remember this story. Chiropractors enjoy mainstream acceptance they don’t deserve. If you thought they were helping people, think again.

  2. Blargh
    September 28, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    I knew about chiropractors and their desire to inflict spinal damage on not just adults but defenseless infants and children as well, but this?
    What. The. Hell.

    Sneaking into hospitals (possibly impersonating real medical personnel) and performing dangerous, ineffective and unnecessary procedures should be illegal so many times over it’s ridiculous. Someone should be going to jail for this.

  3. Mark Lopes, DC
    September 29, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I’ve been a chiropractor for 32 years and this story, if true, is tragic. The article is ridiculously biased and ignorant, however, as is the first comment. Medical practice is significantly more of a risk than chiropractic and there is more science behind what chiropractors do for musculoskeletal pain than what medical doctors do for same.

  4. Graham
    September 29, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    And the reason for that is that at least in Australia & NZ most people think that Chiropractor is an alternative term for a qualified back specialist. Which of course they are not.

  5. Halidom
    September 29, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    Well they do have the qualification to be called Dr.Yet they are in the range of quacks that give homeopathy. I’m always amazed that the government allows those types of people to use the term ‘medical’ in their advertizements. Why doesn’t the real medical board stand up about the quacks?

  6. Al Maldonado
    September 29, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I’ve been in the fitness industry for 20+ years and the industry has for the most part recommended chiropractors to their clients and/or members. The majority in the fitness industry are caught up on the wrong side of science. When I hear that members have felt better or are able to continue their daily lives pain-free is mostly due to chiropractors using techniques used by physical therapist. But at PT needs to be licensed and have an extensive education to be considered a DPT and chiropractors have neither. I don’t recommend chiropractors anymore due to my own education on the industry. It’s tough slowing down the herd mentality found among fitness professionals.

  7. September 29, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Biased? Wrong. It’s facts. Medical practice is risky but it also works. You don’t go to a chiropractor for open heart surgery! I’m sorry but I don’t allow chiropractic propaganda here. The conclusions are in, chiropractic is not supported.

  8. One Eyed Jack
    September 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Medical practice is significantly more of a risk than chiropractic and there is more science behind what chiropractors do for musculoskeletal pain than what medical doctors do for same.

    Horse spit. Prove it.

  9. September 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Check out this link. Chiropractors have to become marketers to keep people coming back. Sounds SO dodgy. If you have a good doctor who gives you proper treatment, they have to TURN patients away because they are overloaded. Not so with chiropractic. Why? Because its pretty much worthless, expect to the billing department.

  10. One Eyed Jack
    September 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Broken link in your last post, Sharon.

  11. September 30, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    This link works:
    Perhaps the dodgiest part is talk of the era of insurance reimbursement for chiropractic treatments as “the reimbursement jukebox.”

  12. October 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    A CHIROPRACTOR has been cleared over claims a baby’s neck was broken during a treatment.
    An expert report undertaken by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, a federal body set up to replace state-based health regulators, quoted a radiologist who examined the four-month-old baby and found that there was “no evidence of fracture”.
    Fairfax newspapers reported claims by a Melbourne doctor who had cared for the baby last year that one of her vertebrae had been fractured during a chiropractic treatment for torticollis, which involves an abnormal head position because of a weakness in the spine.
    The AHPRA report found that the child had congenital spondylolysis, a malformation of the spine, and the child’s father had a similar condition. It concluded that “the treatment reported as provided would not be expected to produce sufficient force to cause a fracture to C1 or C2 vertabra in an infant”.
    “The loss of head control apparent after treatment could have been the result of unrelated factors,” it said.
    – See more at:

    From The CAA, Dr. Laurie Tassel said, “It remains the case that not a single serious adverse event has been recorded in the medical literature (world-wide) involving a qualified Chiropractor treating a child since 1992.”


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