Babies Should Not Be Going to the Chiropractor

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It's rare that I see something that simultaneously astonishes, horrifies, and humors me. Joss Whedon's recent genre-busting slasher flick, Cabin in the Woods, provoked this amalgamation of emotion, but a film like that doesn't come to theaters every year.

Then, the other day, I saw this report on my local news station that, for me, mixed the exact same cocktail of emotions:

For those of you not interested in watching the report, or its preceding advertisement, it covered the growing field of chiropractic care for babies. When watching the story, I was astonished at the fact that this is actually a profession, horrified at what was being done to the infant, and slightly humored because -- well -- it was a cute baby and it did some funny things in the video.

Now, I readily admit that I am not a fan of chiropractic care to begin with -- I firmly believe that it's a pseudoscience, as numerous systematic reviews have demonstrated. I also believe that there are better, less "woo" (thank you, Orac for the term) ways to alleviate the ailments supposedly treated with chiropractic care, by engaging in exercises that promote good posture and strengthen supporting bones and muscles, by seeking a trained, specialized physician with knowledge concerning the certain problem one is having, or by taking a Tylenol, for example.

However, despite my inherent bias against chiropractic care, I really have nothing against its use. A great many people appear to be satisfied or extremely satisfied with their manipulative treatments, so I see no reason to poo-poo on their placebo. If it works for them, great!

But, what I do find rather abhorrent is when innocent babies are exposed to this pseudoscience. The cartilaginous growth centers in the spines of infants are very vulnerable and simply should not be subject to spinal manipulation, no matter how gentle the manipulations may be.

baby2.jpgAn infant receiving a chiropractic treatment. (image from WCCO report)

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that parents turning to alternative medicine, such as "subluxation corrections," to treat their child's ailment may delay an appropriate treatment based on a concrete medical diagnosis. Many chiropractors insist that their manipulations can help to remedy ear infections, colds, or stomach pains, but make no mistake, if a baby is experiencing any of these symptoms a parent should not bring them to a chiropractor; they should go to a doctor.

I can abide chiropractic care when it is chosen freely by adults, but I draw the line when infants are involved. That's my opinion. What do you think?
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