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Is Infant Chiropractic Care Safe?

Chiropractic care can help treat colic.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
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Questions as to whether infant chiropractic care is safe linger. Most infants who receive chiropractic care show no ill effects, but injury is a possibility. In general, infants' spines are gently touched, without the popping or cracking used on adults to achieve spinal alignment. Many chiropractors insist on not only the safety of infant chiropractic care but also its efficacy, and assert that spinal alignment may help a baby grow more healthfully and cure problems like predilection toward middle ear infections and colic.

The safety issue of infant chiropractic care may be more problematic when chiropractors step outside their field of practice to treat infants. An ear infection, particularly of a bacterial nature, would be much better treated by a medical doctor, especially because infants are particularly vulnerable to bacterial infection. Spinal alignment to treat illnesses that have nothing to do with spinal alignment (at least as argued by many general practitioners) is perhaps irresponsible, and may neglect needed treatment from medical professionals better suited to addressing certain issues.

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There is also some question regarding the degree to which all chiropractors are suited to treat infants. Some studies conducted from the 1970s-1990s show multiple chiropractors giving completely different diagnoses for the same child. One memorable study in 1994 conducted by the news program 20/20 followed, with hidden camera, a baby’s visit to nine chiropractors in New York City, and each came up with diagnoses that were significantly different from one another. While a single anecdote cannot prove safety or danger of infant chiropractic care, the report does suggest that despite licensing, not all chiropractic care may be equal.

You must take the same precaution with MDs too. Some medical doctors are woefully incompetent as opposed to their peers. Getting reviews from other people, assuring that a doctor is licensed, and checking out licensing to make sure it is current is a good way to start on the path of selection a pediatrician for your baby.

No less care should be taken if you feel your child would benefit from infant chiropractic care. You should work carefully with your child’s pediatrician or your obstetrician to select a reputable, competent chiropractor who will not ignore potential causes for illnesses that would be best addressed by your child’s pediatrician. You should also pay attention to whether chiropractic care is indeed helpful to your child. While chiropractors contend that all infants should have chiropractic care, there are many medical doctors who find such treatment unnecessary.

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Discuss this Article

flowerchild
Post 2

@donna61--When I was looking for a chiropractor to work with my children I contacted several sources. There are several national and international associations that certify chiropractors to work with infants. You can search online to find a list of them.

A lot of chiropractors work with infants without the certification, but I like the idea of them having some additional training in this area. I don't think it's mandatory, just a good idea in my opinion. It really helped to put my mind at ease.

donna61
Post 1

My cousin has a new baby and she is thinking about taking her to a chiropractor to see if it will help her sleep through the night. Does a chiropractor need special training or certification to work on infants? I would think that would be necessary. Any recommendations on how to check this would be great, thanks!

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