Chiropractors reinstate ban on baby back cracking after outcry

chiropractors reinstate ban on baby back cracking after outcry

GPs call for infant spinal adjustments to be outlawed after interim ban ends

The Chiropractic Board of Australia has reinstated a ban on spinal manipulation of babies following an outcry from doctors and a request from health ministers.

The national chiropractor self-regulator banned the procedure more than four years ago after public outrage over footage of a Melbourne chiropractor hanging a two-week-old baby upside down by his ankles

But that interim ban on performing the procedure on children under two lapsed in November and it was revealed last week that the board had given members the green light to resume spinal adjustments on infants.

chiropractors reinstate ban on baby back cracking after outcry

Chiropractors insist spinal manipulation of babies can be safe and gentle, helping with colic reflux constipation, and different problems with sleep.

That decision, which led doctors to call for the procedure to be outlawed, was walked back last night following a meeting of health ministers in South Australia on Friday.

The board said the state and federal ministers asked for the ban to be put back in place and flagged "further consultation" on the issue.

"While there has been no evidence of serious harm to infants from chiropractic care in Australia, the Board's role is first and foremost to protect the public," board chair Dr Wayne Minter said, in a statement.

"We look forward to working with ministers to develop an evidence-based final policy on paediatric care that balances the paramount need to protect patients, with the right for parents and other patients to have a say in the care they choose."

Chiropractors insist spinal manipulation of babies can be safe and gentle, helping with colic reflux constipation, and different problems with sleep.

"The chiropractic adjustment is a very specific tailored force appropriate to the size of the person who's receiving that," Australian Chiropractors Association president Dr David Cahill said last week.

"So if that's an infant or a toddler, the amount of pressure that you use is very small."

But reviews have found little evidence supporting the benefits of the treatment and the Royal Australian College of GPs says it's not suitable.

"We know there is a risk of harm we know that there is no evidence of a curative benefit or that these therapies are needed," vice president Associate Professor Michael Clements said last week.

Paediatric neurosurgeon Dr Patrick Lo stressed children were "not fully grown humans".

"Everything that you do to them puts them at risk for the future," he said.

chiropractors reinstate ban on baby back cracking after outcry

The Chiropractic Board of Australia has reinstated a ban on spinal manipulation of babies.

The CBA said it expected chiropractors to comply with its interim policy, as well as understanding "children have significant anatomical, physiological, developmental and psychological differences and needs from adults and that their healthcare management requires specific skills and expertise".

Chiropractors should modify treatment to suit the patient's age and communicate fully with parents, it said.

"The board is committed to ensuring the public has access to, and receives, safe, ethical and competent care from registered chiropractors," Minter said.

"We welcome any engagement with ministers that can further strengthen responsible practice."

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