What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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"Doctors are calling for chiropractors to stop treating children after a Melbourne infant's neck was broken during a chiropractic adjustment that went horribly wrong. Melbourne paediatrician Chris Pappas said 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.  ''It was a very fine line. 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. Everybody was very nervous about this little baby,'' he said. The infant's case has inflamed tensions between doctors and chiropractors who are increasingly marketing treatments for childhood illnesses, including ear infections and asthma. Some chiropractors also claim that joint injuries sustained before and during birth can cause reflux, constipation, sleeping and breastfeeding problems. This has angered doctors who say chiropractic treatment of infants is unnecessary and puts them at risk of injuries and missed diagnoses. Fairfax has seen evidence that chiropractors have been entering hospitals, including maternity wards and surgical wards, to treat patients without permission...Spinal surgeon John Cunningham described such behaviour as a ''gross breach of professional ethics'' and said although birth trauma sounded plausible, a newborn's spine is very flexible and adapts to the birth process well. ''True spinal issues related to the birth process are incredibly rare,'' he said. President of the Australian Medical Association Dr Steve Hambleton said the board needed to either produce evidence supporting chiropractic treatments for children or rule paediatric care out of their scope of practice. ''The AMA is not aware of any evidence that chiropractic manipulative treatment of infants and children offers any benefit at all,'' he said. ''The board stood up recently and said chiropractors needed to stop talking about vaccinations, which is out of their scope of practice. That's the first time we've heard some positive evidence-based recommendations from the board, so let's start talking about children.''  A spokeswoman for the board said its chairman, Dr Phillip Donato, was unavailable for interview." Julia Medew, Amy Corderoy, The Age [Australia] (29th September 2013)