Baby got back
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Baby got back20-Jul-2012
Chiropractors are treating newborns on the first day they emerge from a "cramped uterus" - but doctors warn parents are risking damaging babies, and that there's no evidence of any benefit.
Chiropractic care is an alternative medicine based on the belief that "subluxations" in the spine cause a range of ailments, which can be treated by manipulating the spine.
The Australian Medical Association says there is no evidence a baby should need its spine adjusted. They also criticise the claims of some chiropractors who claim they can treat anything from ADHD to asthma.
AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton said there were a "number of issues" with chiropractic care for newborns.
"The first would be, where’s the evidence that they’re doing anything other than risking damaging the baby?"
"Why would a baby need its spine adjusted?"
Chiropractic clinics claim they can treat irritable babies, babies with trouble breastfeeding and sleeping, but Dr Morton says it’s the other way around.
"I’ve seen irritable babies with poor sleeping and poor feeding and I’ve been concerned that the chiropractor’s interventions might be causing that," he said.
He also lashed out at chiropractors who don’t believe in vaccination, and pointed out that more than 100 clinics are ‘professional members’ of the Australian Vaccination Network, a group that has come under fire for opposing immunisation.
The Chiropractors' Association of Australia official line is that they "endorse the safe and effective care and management of children through natural and holistic chiropractic care. Chiropractic Paediatric Care (CPC) offers exemplary safety and efficacy."
Chiropractors argue that babies need immediate care. Victorian clinic Chirochild, for example, claims on its website that early checks lead to the best outcomes:
"Immediately after birth, Chirochild practitioners are qualified to assess the nerves, muscles and joints of all babies. After living in a cramped uterus, and the trauma of vaginal and caesarean deliveries, newborn checks are sought by more and more people."
Sydney’s Family First Chiropractic even believes babies can benefit before they are born, by ensuring mothers are free from subluxations.
Subluxations are partial dislocations, and there is no evidence that they cause disease as chiropractic theories claim.
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