The Victorian president of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia says doctors have overreacted to a video that showed a newborn baby’s spine being manipulated to treat colic.
The video, posted on YouTube, shows Melbourne chiropractor Ian Rossborough pressing down on the four-day-old premature baby’s back until it cracks.
The baby’s treatment has been criticised by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), which has called on its members to stop referring patients to chiropractors.
Dr Anthony Coxon, the president of the Victorian branch of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, said the treatment was forceful but effective.
“While I am uncomfortable with the procedure that was performed, it still is a safe procedure,” he said.
“I know it doesn’t look good, but the child did get a very good result — an immediate result — from the care and when the parents returned a week later, the colic symptoms had improved significantly.
“It is not the choice of technique that most chiropractors would use for those sorts of problems, but it is very effective and despite the fact that it doesn’t look good, it is still very safe.”
Babies ‘too delicate’ for spinal manipulation
AMA Victoria president Dr Tony Bartone said there was no evidence to suggest spinal manipulation was effective at treating colic.
“Having been a GP for almost 30 years, I would say that spinal manipulation on a newborn is the furthest medical answer to helping colic,” he told the ABC.
“It is dangerous — babies’ bodies are too delicate and developing to risk such a process.”
RACGP president Dr Frank Jones said the chiropractic procedure was unnecessary.
“There is no scientific evidence to suggest this procedure is required,” he told the ABC.
“As a parent and a doctor of 30 years, I was flabbergasted.
“If the chiropractor in question is claiming the baby is improved, I would strongly say the baby was going to get better on its own without any physical intervention.”
Dr Jones said the parents of the baby should have seen a GP.
“If the baby is thriving and well, and putting on weight and developmentally normal, then that is a reassurance that there is no serious underlying illness,” he said.
Chiropractors are registered health professionals overseen by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Dr Coxon said chiropractic techniques were effective and safe.
“It is important to understand chiropractors are registered health professionals … they are governed by AHPRA and the Chiropractic Board of Australia, which have standards of care that require chiropractors to meet a minimal standard,” he said.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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