VIDEO: Chiropractor cracking baby’s back brings doctor to tears

3 minute read

This video of a Melbourne chiropractor using spinal manipulations to treat a newborn is beginning to raise alarm


Concerns have been raised over a Melbourne chiropractor who uses spinal manipulations to treat newborns

Chiropractor Ian Rossborough was featured in a YouTube video in January manipulating the spine of four-day old, premature baby who was suffering from colic and reflux.

He claims on his YouTube account that the baby’s condition was “a problem in her mid back and upon correction [she] was visibly more comfortable”.

Mr Rossborough also treats conjunctivitis and ear infections in babies and children using spinal manipulations, and his videos have been viewed by millions of people online.

A Melbourne orthopedic surgeon John Cunningham said the video of a chiropractor adjusting the spine of a newborn was distressing.

“There’s not many things that make an orthopedic surgeon emotional, but when you see a premature baby having its back cracked, it literally makes my eyes water,” he told the ABC Radio National Program.

“There would be risks of harm. There would be risks that the child could suffer some sort of fracture. Why would you do it? This is the thing that goes through my mind when I watch that video. Why on earth would you do that to a newborn?”

Dr Cunningham made a formal complaint to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in February, calling for the Chiropractic Board to be fired.

Dr Paul Bauert, the head of pediatrics at Royal Darwin Hospital, has also called on AHPRA to ban chiropractic treatment of children until the evidence shows that there may be some effect.

“The only evidence that’s available at the moment, looking at all the published chiropractic literature, the conclusions of all of those studies say that chiropractors may compete with physiotherapists in terms of treating some back problems,” he said.

“But all their other claims are beyond belief, and can carry a range of significant risks.”

The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia defended itself against media reports, saying “a significant body of Australian and world-wide research in and about chiropractic that supports its place in health care”.

Chair of the Chiropractic Board of Australia Wayne Minter told the ABC that chiropractors are expected to practice in an “evidence-informed, evidence-based way”.

The number of GP referrals of children to chiropractors has grown 83% in the five years to June 2015.

Chiropractors represent 1% of the registered Australian healthcare workforce and deliver services to over 300,000 Australians each week, according to the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia.

Chiropractic therapy may also be paid for under the National Disability Insurance Scheme in future, following a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

This decision, recently revealed in documents obtained by The Australian under Freedom of Information laws, involved a patient who claimed that she had been confined to a wheelchair without chiropractic therapy to improve her back pain.

The Independent Advisory Council, which advises the NDIS Board, has noted that the AAT decision means chiropractic treatment could be classified as “reasonable and necessary” support.

In a submission to an independent review of the NDIS legislation last year, the Council requested changes to the scheme’s rules to clarify which treatments fall under the scheme.

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