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Unnecessary childhood chiropractic treatments raise alarms among pediatricians


Pediatricians are concerned that certain Canadian chiropractors are promoting unnecessary corrective spinal manipulations for young children and infants, according to a report from the National Post. While the procedures are generally harmless, they put patients at risk of serious injuries that would necessitate the services of a personal injury lawyer.

At the heart of the issue is chiropractors’ claims that spinal adjustments can address a diverse range of childhood ailments, including learning disorders and food allergies. However, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has warned parents that chiropractic procedures are not an effective substitute to medical treatment. “Parents should be made aware that there is a lack of substantiated evidence for the theory of subluxated vertebrae as the causality for illness in children,” the organization has stated.

Dr. Douglas Mack, an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University, told the National Post that he has treated nut-allergic children who consumed nuts after being told by their chiropractor that spinal therapy could help.

“It’s often an ‘us’ against ‘them’ perspective and I don’t think it needs to be,” Dr. Mack said. “But when they overstate what is outside of their realm, quite honestly that borders on fraudulent.”

According to the Post, some chiropractors tell clients that as many as 80 per cent of newborns suffer trauma at birth, for which spinal manipulation is a safe and beneficial treatment.

“There’s a lot of anecdotal reports and scary memes where they show the obstetrician or midwife pulling the baby out by the neck,” said Dr. Clay Travis Hones, a pediatrician in Massachusetts, to the Post. “But there’s no legitimate evidence that any appreciable per cent of babies suffer subluxations to the spinal bones or any injury that would be amenable to adjustments…. They’re just scare tactics.”

While rare, injuries associated with childhood spinal manipulations can be extremely serious. In 2007, researchers at the University of Alberta reviewed 13 published studies on the subject and found more than a dozen injuries, including nine serious ones and two that resulted in death.

The study also identified two meningitis deaths that occurred when chiropractors attempted to treat the illness rather than referring the patient to a physician. This situation could constitute a form of medical malpractice that a personal injury lawyer would be capable of addressing.

If a member of your family has been injured as a result of an improper medical procedure, contact a personal injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville offices today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team can help you understand your legal options.

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